Human Resources and management in government

There is fear in the public sector around the impact that the imminent staff reductions will have on the effectiveness of its operations. Yet I have first-hand evidence that there is also fear that the staff reductions are not happening fast enough, and that the approach to reductions will not yield the most effective outcome. There is concern that voluntary redundancy process will result in the good people leaving, as they have a better opportunity to secure work elsewhere; while the dross will remain. So the civil service will be both slimmer and more ineffectual.

I’ve worked with government for the majority of the last ten years. During that time, I’ve never been aware of anyone being fired for poor performance. I’ve heard of people being fired for gross misconduct (backhanders and the like), but never for poor performance.

People management needs to improve. People need to be set real, achievable targets. People need to be measured against those targets. People who fail to meet those targets should be introduced to the performance management process. And if they don’t come out of it performing well, they should be fired. HR departments need to become more visible and work with the business to introduce them to this new regime.

By taking out the poor performers, the civil service can become slimmer while retaining its effectiveness. With the current model, yes it will become slimmer. But the average effectiveness of each civil servant will diminish.


One Response to “Human Resources and management in government”

  1. Carl Haggerty on April 15th, 2011 10:18

    Very good points, the other aspect is that poor performers who are transferred into joint venture and the like are likely to have a major culture shift in how performance and outputs are managed and could see themselves out in the cold…

    My experience is that some people are simply poor, but others are very badly managed and it is these people that will benefit from a better HR function.

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