Minister of State for Finance and the Public Service the Hon. Zhivargo Laing urged human resource managers and officers in the civil service to come up with action plans to revolutionise and transform how they do their business.
Minister Laing issued the challenge during a workshop designed to improve the delivery of human resources to facilitate first-class service in partnership with stakeholders Thursday at the British Colonial Hilton.
The Department of Public Service set up the workshop for human resource personnel with four goals:
Strengthening their potential for intuitive thinking, creativity and innovation to enhance their human resource management skills.
Identifying human resource challenges in the Public Service.
Exploring best practices in human resources to improve the delivery of services.
Analysing and develop participants’ institutional capacity to improve the efficiency of the Public Service through information technology and quality service to its internal and external customers.
Minister Laing said there are thousands of people who feel positive after being served by public servants, but there are many who do not.
“I am also fully aware,” he said, “that there are thousands more Bahamians whose interaction with the service leaves them with a sense that these people do not understand they work for us; we do not work for them.”
To alter this sentiment, Mr. Laing said Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham is very serious about bringing changes to the public service to increase customer satisfaction and efficiency.
Prime Minister Ingraham has charged the Minister of State for Finance with responsibility of improving the public service, and the workshop for the human resource professionals is one step in bringing that goal to fruition.
Mr. Laing said the Government intends to implement changes that should result in improvements to how human resource departments are run. For example, he said the Annual Confidential Report (ACR), which is the name given to the appraisal forms for civil servants, will be made simpler and more user friendly.
“Additionally,” Mr. Laing said, “we have to get results in terms of turning those ACRs around more quickly. It cannot be that people go three or five years without getting an appraisal done and then somebody attempts to give me an appraisal of somebody for five years running.
“You cannot convince me that you can remember anybody’s performance from five years ago. They need to be timely.”
He noted that the frequency for completing the appraisal forms might be reduced because of the large number of persons working in the civil service.
Minister Laing also challenged the human resources personnel to remember they work with human beings and as such, they should treat employees as they themselves would want to be treated.
He said they should have more communication with staff keeping them informed as to their potential to move up in the service, suggesting this might create less frustration among civil servants who feel they are stagnated and not progressing in their organisations.