MUT prepares to introduce a Performance Management System

Some of the staff members that attended the workshop

The management of Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) has taken a giant step that is set to revolutionise the University.

On 30 November, MUT management met off-campus to discuss the introduction of a Performance Management System (PMS). The workshop was for all university line managers to participate. The Department of Human Resources and Development, which is driving the process, said they decided on a top-down approach because most of the groundwork at this stage will have to be done by the line managers, particularly because it is the introductory stage of the project. The line managers will have to cascade PMS and implement it with their teams through the applicable policy, that was approved by the University Council in 2019.

Bathabile Wella, Organisational Development Coordinator at MUT, said the pilot phase of the project was expected to be implemented from January 2023 and will be limited to staff members in the 1-6 pay class, which is all MUT staff members in management positions.

The meeting offered staff members and representatives of organised labour an opportunity to discuss the finer details of the project, and its implications. Also discussed were the limitations the University is facing as it prepares to implement the project.

In his address to the meeting, Professor Marcus Ramogale, the Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal of MUT, appealed to staff to approach the PMS’s implementation as an opportunity to change the institutional operation, which will require a change in the institutional culture.

Professor Ramogale used Japan’s example. “In Japan workers do not need supervision. Instead, workers do their best to perfect what they are doing. Their contribution is determined by their eagerness to excel, not by the amount of time they are expected to be at work,” he said. This dovetails with the Leadership Capability statement which the University defines in MUT Strategy 2025 as  the DEEDS: Deliver.Empower.Engage. Discover.Sustainability.

Wella said this change in how the University operates will have to be managed with care. She said managers and their staff must engage continuously; this will give them a chance to deal with problems as they arise, not when it is too late. Wella said the managers, working with the Department of Human Resources and Development, will have to develop the job description of their staff members.

“Staff members must be given a chance to discuss their job description with the managers so that they will know what is expected of them. The performance areas in the job description should not be more than six, and not less than five,” Wella said.

Professor Nokuthula Sibiya, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement, and Baboo Brijlal, the Senior Director of the Department of Human Resources and Development, empowered the staff by giving a talk about their experiences of the PMS. Both Professor Sibiya and Brijlal emphasized that great care needed to be taken for the project to succeed.

Professor Sibiya also added that some of the benefits of the PMS was that it enabled the institution to measure performance and reward those who are performing exceptionally as per the targets set.

“The university will not thank the fish for swimming,” said Professor Sibiya. “You will only be recognised when you have exceeded the target.”

The PMS meetings will continue until 2026 when the whole University staff are integrated into PMS.