Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Raymond’s article on Happy TV: Improve Promotion Systems for Civil Service

The recent move of grouping public sector employees into graduates and non-graduates for promotions is long overdue; and definitely a step in the right direction as it will give opportunities for non-graduates to move up the corporate ladder.

Most certainly, experience on the job should be taken into consideration when assessments are made as loyalty to the organisation is useful to prevent job hopping.  For when resignations are high, disruptions to services are bound to lower productivity. The Japanese value workers who are loyal to the company. 

Surely, we can do the same.

Let’s view worker’s loyalty as a good investment, an asset, instead of seeing them as a liability. No doubt, long serving staff will draw a higher salary as compared to the younger fresh graduates. But that should not be a reason to axe the loyal workers whenever a retrenchment exercise takes place. It is common knowledge – even in this day and age, that whenever retrenchment is on the cards, high on the list of staff who have to go will be those drawing bigger salaries.

Instead of retrenching the loyal and older staff, every effort must be made to retain them, given their wealth of experience acquired over the years and their dedication to the company. With a good work attitude such workers can so easily mentor the young graduates. One way is to review the salaries of long serving employees in consultation with the unions.  If need be, a pay cut can be proposed – especially if the company is not doing too well.

No doubt investing in training, learning new things and upgrading oneself is a must if workers want to secure promotions and pay increases.

2-way staff appraisals

Let us not totally dismiss the remarks made by commentators or netizens who responded to the reports on the policy of grouping graduates and non-graduates for promotions as untrue because there is indeed some truth in what they say. 

How often have we heard this remark when someone who deserves to move up the corporate ladder loses out on promotion/s? “It is not how hard you work, but how smart you work.”

There are concerns that even with these acquired skills, staff can lose out on promotions if bosses or supervisors favour some staff. Bottom line: The staff appraisal must never be used as a ‘weapon’ by supervisors against staff who are out of their good books.

Currently, only supervisors and bosses can rank staff under their charge.  Why not improve on the present ranking system so that there is a fairer system in place? To this end, I propose that all ministries implement a 2-way staff appraisal system in which the staff also have the opportunity to rank their superiors.  

This 2-way appraisal system must be implemented based on a top criterion set by human resource experts so that there is no back-biting, but done so in a tasteful and professional way.

If the public sector takes the lead, then the private sector can do likewise.

Verbal and written expressions

If a worker is equipped with excellent verbal and written expressions, he/she will always be marketable, in demand, both within Singapore and in other parts of the world. I know of graduates who can’t even write a first paragraph, or worse still, cannot even open a sentence, and yet they were promoted.

Thus, public sector officers must be assessed on their verbal as well as their written skills in their staff appraisals.

Added to that, being good at solving problems should give them a higher score.

Participation in volunteer work

With the growing need for voluntary work to support our ageing population and those with special needs, it will be useful for such charitable work to be factored when promotions are being considered.




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