Achieving a Performance Culture… a Model of Excellence New Human Performance System Saves Tens of Thousands of Dollars in First 90 Days
The Siksika Board of Education (SBE), which oversees primary and secondary schooling in the Siksika Nation in Alberta, today announced the results of a new Human Performance Management (HPM) system they implemented this year: The system has enabled SBE to realize productivity gains and cost savings in the tens of thousands of dollars in the first ninety days since the launch of the first two phases.
Originally, funding from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) was made available to implement an HR tool, but SBE soon realized that conventional HR software would not meet their objectives. They weren’t looking for just another “administrative software package”; they were after the tools and processes that would yield higher productivity through daily execution of work activity.
SBE enlisted the help of Mark Cheadle, a consultant they’ve worked with in the past, to review their objectives and help set out a course of action with some pretty lofty goals: To implement the necessary systems, processes and training that would instill a culture of achievement throughout the organization to yield significant, measurable productivity gains, and ensure objectives are met and strategies realized.
The payoffs are huge. As Mark Cheadle states “`what makes this program unique is that it doesn`t address a single business process or issue; rather, it`s an organization-wide performance system that impacts every project and initiative that SBE undertakes. It redefines everyone’s approach to work – how projects are managed, individual planning, the execution of tasks and degree of collaboration and learning”.
Rather than setting targets for productivity percent gains, or annual dollar savings, the HPM program focused on employee engagement, a professional development program, more individual planning and strategic alignment. “If you can get these right, then the productivity and dollar savings naturally follow” according to Cheadle.
“This performance program involves every person in our organization –admin staff, teachers, principals, maintenance… everyone,” said Lenora Rabbit Carrier, Acting Superintendent of SBE. “It’s all-encompassing and I’m seeing positive changes at every level. I can be out of town and still scroll through individual work plans for the coming week. I know what the priorities are, who’s working on what, the status of projects, and I’m able to add my recommendations to each work plan.”
The HPM program consists of four components: HR, Time & Leave Management, Professional Development, and a Groupware Planning tool. The return on investment for SBE is substantial. According to Darren Pietrobono, Treasurer for the Siksika Board of Education “payroll and benefits typically represent 75+ % of operating expenses for organizations like ours. Given this level of spending, a sustainable approach that achieves real, measurable gains through human performance can return hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual savings”.
The SBE Board of Directors reviewed the program outline, saw the benefits immediately and gave full support. Both the Board and Lenora Rabbit Carrier could see how this strengthened organizational culture would translate into improvements in delivery of classroom instruction – their ultimate goal. “This performance program is an incredible boost to our organization and will allow us to better manage new programs we need for our schools,” said Darren Pietrobono.
“Going forward we’ll be able to undertake new initiatives by leveraging productivity gains we’ve achieved through our investment in HPM. It’s important to take a hard look at our internal systems – those areas we can influence and control – to make sure we maximize efficiency and get more value from every dollar spent.”
The project is now onto the third phase. “The parts we’ve completed to date seem to have unleashed a renewed energy to achieve more and accomplish things faster,” said Cheadle.
“People are executing better. They’re knocking off one project after another, there’s more collaboration and everyone has a better sense of what’s expected, what needs to be done and how each can contribute. It’s really something to see, and Siksika Education continues to realize benefits month after month, so it’s an investment with a steady, continuous return. ”
(Press Release and photos submitted by Lenora Rabbit Carrier)