Training Staff

How did you train your staff in Performance Management?

Getting all levels of staff involved in your PM program is very important.  We began by selecting measures during divisional staff meetings.  We found out what they thought was important, and then talked to them about the importance of tracking the measures to ensure we were performing as expected.  After we began analyzing the data, it was apparent to the staff that we were tracking the wrong things, and we sat down as a group and developed additional measures.  Your staff do not need to be PM experts!  They just need to understand why you are tracking things and how it will affect them.  Listen to them!  They often have great ideas. – Chad Brown, Licking County Health Department


OSU, NACCHO and other state/national organizations provide wonderful training materials on the topic of performance management. Health departments might consider customizing training materials so that concepts are outlined in a way that is relevant and easily understood by staff. One way to outline performance management concepts is to compare it to the employee/individual performance appraisal process- only on a broader scale. Other practical examples might be to have staff think of developing a performance management system that is similar to a school report card- only for the entire health department. Again, starting with only a few measures to demonstrate the process of collecting and using data to drive improvements, is often more beneficial from a learning perspective than deploying an advanced IT system or multiple measures at once. – Emily Frantz, ALPHA


Great question! This isn’t easy and involves a lot of strategy. How do you train a transient staff or simply keep the momentum moving towards this? I think it is part of a bigger concept of changing the culture of quality in an agency. We have been doing this using the NACCHO Roadmap as a tool. We completed the self-assessment and are now trying to implement components that will bring us closer to where we want to be. The Quality Council took the roadmap results and identified several initiatives that we want to work on this next year around leadership, transparency, and staff empowerment. This has to be done at various levels and in different ways. First, the leadership needs to be educated on the importance of various components and how they can best support the changes. With leadership support, the management needs to be supportive of frontline empowerment. There needs to be more transparency along with an attitude of safety. Staff need to feel safe in pointing out opportunities for improvement without fear of retribution or punishment. When it comes to specific training, we work more specifically with individual programs or divisions on specific components (QI, dashboards, customer satisfaction, etc.). This next strategic planning session will provide us with an opportunity to educate all levels of staff as we work to develop department wide outcomes. We will then work with the divisions and program areas to develop logic models that are tied to outcomes and outputs, which will go into our dashboard platform. – Laurie Dietsch, Columbus Public Health


I have used a wide variety of methods geared toward the level of understanding needed by each level of staff, and I intentionally communicated the information over and over again.

For managers and directors, training has been provided through management team meetings, required readings, and our quarterly Leadership Development Institutes. For these leaders and specific staff, I provided a hands-on training session during which they created performance measures for their individual programs. We also sent key staff (responsible for tracking and reporting performance measures and results) to the Open Forums for Quality Improvement in Public Health (“Open Forums”) and the Public Health Improvement Trainings (“PHIT”), both coordinated by the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI). We also took advantage of training opportunities provided by our local hospital, which is nationally recognized by the Studer Group for its strong performance management processes.

All staff receive some level of performance management education. For example, I was responsible for introducing new staff to our performance management system during their orientation. Much of the same information was repeated, using slightly different words, by our QI Coordinator during her portion of orientation. The employee’s manager or director would also repeat the information as s/he explained the pertinent performance measures for the program(s) the individual would be working in. We frequently went through performance measures at our quarterly Employee Forums (all-staff meetings). We posted results on a bulletin board visible to all staff. Managers reviewed results during their staff meetings monthly or quarterly (depending upon the specific measures). I incorporated performance management into my health commissioner newsletters to staff (providing updates, reinforcing information already provided, sharing new information, and/or linking them to online resources). – Anne Goon, Public health consultant and former health commissioner at Henry County Health Department