Poor service delivery is very often the result of ineffective human resources planning, compounded by a lack of adequate performance management. Both are imperative for achieving excellent institutional performance.
Municipalities cannot expect to be able to deliver to the required standards if they don’t recruit the right people in the first place or if they fail to manage employee performance.
Much of the poor performance reported by the Auditor General can be attributed to a lack of adequate overall human resources management.
Every municipality has a strategic plan, the IDP, which dictates its outputs. Key to successful delivery is for these municipalities to ensure they are staffed by people with the skills necessary to be able to deliver the required outputs.
Getting human resource planning right
What happens in practice very often, however, is that no proper human resource planning is done. Even though there are specific outputs, there is no matching of skills when it comes to recruitment. This may be due to a variety of factors from lack of planning to a shortage of skills or even nepotism. Too often people are simply brought in to fill positions in the hope that they might just get it right. That’s not good enough. In addition, these roles are filled with people in an ‘acting’ capacity, which also has a negative impact on productivity.
The first step, therefore, is to get the human resources planning correct. Proper planning ensures that municipalities build balanced teams ready to deliver on their strategic as well as operational requirements. This means recruiting people with the right temperament, skill sets and attitudes. They must be capable of completing tasks, carrying out their duties and taking responsibility for achieving the organisation’s overall objectives.
Succession planning is also a vital part to HR planning. As important as it is to get a team working well, it is as essential to know who will take over key roles when they become vacant, and ensure that the identified people for these positions are appropriately prepared for when the time comes.