Developing customer-focused public sector reward schemes Evidence from the Botswana government's performance-based reward system (PBRS)
Purpose: Governmental agencies are interested in improving the quality of their service delivery. One tool that has been used to manage their performance is performance based reward schemes (PBRS). The aim of this paper is to examine the degree to which a sample of these plans, used within the Botswana public sector, is customer-focused. Being more customer-focused should deliver improved public sector service quality. Design/methodology/approach: This study carried out an evaluation of a sample of Botswana PBRS plans, using multidimensional content analysis undertaken by four expert "evaluators", to identify the degree to which the PBRS were customer-focused. Findings: Classifying PBRS plans as being customer-focused was difficult, as the plans had few objectives related to customer experiences or outcomes. Those that did had poorly defined performance objectives, their targets were not specific, or there was limited explicit role responsibility. Thus, PBRS plans seemed not to focus on improving customer outcomes. Research limitations/implications: The PBRS evaluated do not appear to be customer-focused and, thus, would have limited ability to improve customer experiences (i.e. public sector quality). Further research is needed in other countries to see whether these results are generalisable, and whether service levels vary with more customer-focused PBRS plans. Practical implications: The results suggest improvements that could be adopted by organisations seeking to make their PBRS schemes customer-focused. Originality/value: Extensive research suggests that PBRS plans can be used to improve service quality. Most of the studies have focused on the employees' perspectives and have not looked at the degree of customer orientation within the plans. Emerald Group Publishing Limited.