Human Resources Management: Health Services Management Performance Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Human Resources Management: Health Services Management

Performance management is a critical aspect of any health care system. And this is true in the area of management of the organizations' human resources performance management as well. The objective of this work is to critically examine the importance of human resources performance management health care system. This work will endeavor to apply critical analysis and make comments and suggestions on improvement of the unit of a department in the health care setting.

Performance-Based Management System Establishment

The importance of establishing a performance-based management system cannot be overemphasized according to the work of Will Artley and Suzanne Stroh (2001) who state "All high-performance organizations, whether public or private, are, and must be, interested in developing and deploying effective performance measurement and performance management systems, since it is only through such systems that they can remain high-performance organizations." (p.i)

II. Intergovernmental Benchmarking Study

It is reported that the NPR "commissioned the first-ever intergovernmental benchmarking consortium involving not only U.S. federal agencies but also local governments and the government of Canada in a collaborative study of performance measurement." (Artley and Stroh, 2001, p.ii) The study found that the best measure of performance and management systems and practices are those that "work within a context of strategic planning that takes its cue from customer needs and customer service." (Artley and Stroh, 2001, p.ii) Additionally stated in the findings is that leadership is a critical factor in the design and deployment of effective performance measurement and management system. Also stated is the finding that performance measurement and management systems require a conceptual framework and that the keys to successful performance measurement are those of "effective internal and external communications." (Artley and Stroh, 2001, p.iii) In addition, the study found that there is more required of performance measurement systems than simply compiling data, as they must make provision of information that is intelligent for those who are in charge of making decisions. The findings additionally report that the performance measurement system should be "positive not punitive." (Artley and Stroh, 2001, p.iii) Stated lastly, is the finding that there should be open sharing with employees, customers, and stakeholders of the "results and progress toward program commitments." (Artley and Stroh, 2001, p.iii)

II. The Performance Management Measurement Process

The performance measurement process is such as is shown in the following illustration labeled Figure 1 in this study.

Figure 1

Performance Measurement Process Model

Source: Artley and Stroh (2001)

Performance measures are such that can be grouped into six general categories stated to include the following:

(1) Conforms to requirements. (Are we doing the right things?)

(2) Efficiency: A process characteristic indicating the degree to which the process produces the required output at minimum resource cost. (Are we doing things right?)

(3) Quality: The degree to which a product or service meets customer requirements and expectations.

(4) Timeliness: Measures whether a unit of work was done correctly and on time. Criteria must be established to define what constitutes timeliness for a given unit of work. The criterion is usually based on customer requirements.

(5) Productivity: The value added by the process divided by the value of the labor and capital consumed.

(6) Safety: Measures the overall health of the organization and the working environment of its employees. (Artley and Stroh, 2001, p.4)

Performance measurement can benefit the organization in many ways include setting of goals and standards as well as detection and correction of problems and management, description and improvement of processes and finally to document accomplishments, gain insight and determine if the organization is fulfilling their vision and fulfilling customer centric strategic goals. Other benefits of performance measurement include the provision of measurable results to demonstrate the organization's progress towards its objectives and goals and to determine if the effectiveness of each group, department, and division within the organization. (Artley and Stroh, 2001, p.5)

III. Most Common Mistakes in Measurement

Reported, as the most common mistakes made by the organization are the following stated mistakes:

(1) Attempting to measure too many variables;

(2) Amassing too much data -- known as information overload;

(3) Focusing on the short-term;

(4) Failing to base business decisions on the data;

(5) Dumbing the data;

(6) Measuring too little

(7) Collecting inconsistent, conflicting, and unnecessary data

(8) Driving the wrong performance - Exceptional performance in one area could be disastrous in another.

(9) Encouraging competition and discouraging teamwork

(10) Establishing unrealistic and/or unreasonable measures

(11) Failing to link measures

(12) Measuring progress too often or not often enough

(13) Ignoring the customer

(14) Asking the wrong questions/looking in the wrong places

(14) Confusing the purpose of the performance measurement system (Artley and Stroh, 2001)

IV. Purpose of Performance Measurements

The purpose of performance measurements is to analyze how the organization is doing and if the organization is meeting its' goals and satisfying its' customers. As well, performance measurement determines if the processes are in statistical control and if and where there are improvements that must necessarily be made. Artley and Stroh, 2001, paraphrased)

V. Human Resource Performance Management

The work of Bach (2000) reports that there is an increasing awareness "within the specialist HR literature…of the contribution of innovative forms of human resource management (HRM) to organizational performance. While personnel management has historically been associated with such as management and trade union relations as well as workforce control and adherence to organizational recruitment, appraisal and training policies "in recent years it has become commonplace for organizations to suggest that human resources are their most important asset. Whether termed human resource management or high performance management, the novelty of these approaches is that they emphasize pursuing a strategic approach to the management of people. Involved in this initiative is the development of a coherent human resources approach that has the "full backing of senior management with a tight coupling between human resources and 'business' policy." (Bach, 2000, p.3) There are reported to be seven dimensions of HR that produce profits through people including those stated as follows:

(1) Employment security;

(2) Selective hiring of new personnel;

(3) self-managed teams and decentralization of decision making as the basic principle of organizational design;

(4) Comparatively high compensation contingent on organizational performance;

(5) Extensive training;

(6) Reduced status distinctions and barriers, including dress, language, office arrangements, and wage differences across levels.

(7) Extensive sharing of financial and performance information throughout the organization. (Bach, 2000, p.4)

Bach reports that the research evidence results in three broad conclusions, which he states as follows:

(1) Ownership -- people are regarded as a strategic resource to be nurtured and developed with top managers that support such an approach;

(2) External fit -- organizations with an effective approach to HR are alert to the external environment planning their HR requirements in a manner that incorporate the HR implications of a changing external environment and able to modify the strategy or resolve the problems arising from any environmental changes;

(3) Internal fit -- this refers to an approach that is coherent to HR policy and which does not overly rely on only one element but instead is a combination of HR policies into an "integrated bundle of policies and processes." (Bach, 2000, p.5)

VI. Three Broad Approaches to Measurement of HR Effectiveness

There are reported to be three broad approaches to the measurement of HR effectiveness and those are stated as follows:

(1) Quantitative or hard measures;

(2) Qualitative or soft measures; and (3) Process analysis. (Bach, 2001, p.14)

Quantitative measures of analysis are hard measures and reported to include "numerical measures of inputs, outputs, and outcomes." (Bach, 2000, p.14) Qualitative are soft measures and are reported to "provide information on staff attitudes and line managers' view of HR via surveys and focus groups." (Bach, 2000, p.14) Finally, process analysis is able to trace a process through all of its stages including recruitment and selection and to measure the effectiveness of these processes. (Bach, 2000, p.14, paraphrased)

VII. Differing Concepts of Quality

The management of quality in social care is addressed in the work entitled "Managing Quality in Health and Social Care" which states that there are different concepts of quality including stakeholders in terms of "service users, friends and family; carers, professionals, managers, support workers; partners, and funding agencies." (BTEC Higher National -- H2, nd, p. 2) In addition, there are differing concepts of quality as it related to the specific models of quality, which are inclusive of "quality cycles, continuous improvement, total quality management, and quality standards." (BTEC Higher National -- H2, nd, p.2) Finally, there are differing concepts of quality as it relates to external agencies including "Sector Skills Councils, Centers of Excellence, SCIE, NICE, National Care Standards Commission, government departments, and local authorities." (BTEC Higher National -- H2, nd, p.2)

VIII. Strategies Used in Quality Achievement

Strategies used in achieving quality include the minimum standards in addition to best practice, benchmarks, performance indicators, charters, codes of practice, legislation on several levels. (BTEC Higher National -- H2, nd, p.2 paraphrased) Stated as…

Sources Used in Documents:


Bach, Stephen Dr. (2000) HR and New Approaches to Public Sector Management: Improving HRM Capacity. Workshop on Global Health Workforce Strategy Annecy, France, 9-12 December 2000. Retrieved from:

Buchan, James (2004) What Difference does 'Good' HRM Make? Human Resources for Health 2004. Retrieved from:

Establishing an Integrated Performance Measurement System (2001) The Performance-Based Management Handbook. Volume 2. 2001, September. Retrieved from:

Hornby P, Forte P: Guidelines for Introducing Human Resource Indicators to Monitor Health Service Performance. Keele: Centre for Health Planning and Management, Keele University; 2002.

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