Sunday, 15 November 2015

Finding Solutions Together

Ghumakkad takes you on a cerebral plane this time. Unlike most of the previous journeys which were on a physical plane, here we share a learning experience with officers from Indian Police Service (IPS), Forest Service, Postal Service, Revenue Service and other allied civil services.

A workshop titled 'HRM Functions in the Government' was conducted where more than 100 civil service officers having two to four years experience, participated. We had shared the contents of workshop briefing in a previous post. You may click here to browse it.

To make the learning experiential, we conducted a team workout. Each team had to discuss one assigned function of HRM as relevant to government set up, in detail. They had to then assess the pros and cons of existing HRM processes and mechanisms and suggest one improvement/change to make it more effective. Here are few action shots of the workshop.

In the end each team shared the issue as identified and the suggested solution. Two speakers in the picture below.

The workshop proved the point that 'learning by doing' is the best way to learn. Be it children in a school, students in a college or working professionals as in this workshop, learning by doing brings out the best in each participant. As can be seen from the summary of recommendations in the table below, the participants made a brilliant effort in the hour long workshop.

HRM Function
Issue as Identified
Suggested Solution
HR Planning
1.      Lack of National Integration
Promote National Integration through changes in cadre allocation policy
2.      Lack of parity among All India Services
Pay and promotion parity among All India Services to be implemented
Recruitment and Selection
Selection process skewed in favour of candidates from metropolitan cities and private english medium schools/ colleges
1.      Selection process be made more ‘situation-oriented’ rather than theoretical questions and assessment
2.      UPSC Members to include civil society leaders in place of pure academicians
Training and Development (Officer cadre)
Induction Training (like the Foundation Course) based on archaic methods and not connected with ground realities
1.      Induction training at officer level should use more real life Case Studies, field visits, video clips to generate interest. Otherwise, most participants show disinterest and divert their time on next IAS exam/ chance!
2.      Training to be more ‘modular’ rather than ‘monolithic’ as at present. Focus to be on ‘learning by doing’ rather than lectures and PPTs.
Training and Development (Staff level)
Wide gap between officers and staff and their training.
1.      Staff be given training to deal with public like for constables/others.
2.      Greater involvement of Officers in conduct of staff training.
3.      Language training for staff as applicable.
Personnel Administration
Extraneous considerations in postings and transfers.
1.      Use a software based system for greater transparency and fairness.
2.      Software to use data like special skills (say anti-terrorist operations),  need for longer tenures in core assignments, past postings, individual preferences etc.
Performance Appraisal
Present system very ‘sluggish’ and does not cater for performance linked appraisal
Revise the appraisal system to include target based reviews (as in the ‘Scrum’ system widely used in the industry), greater accountability and linking the incentives in an objective manner.

Rewards and Recognition
Lesser focus on ‘Community Awards’ as compared with individual awards
Schemes like ‘Nirmal’ awards for village sanitation, be extended to other fields like education, healthcare, water, livelihoods generation, rural entrepreneurship etc which can improve the quality of life in rural India. Kerala government’s Best Panchayat award is a case in point.

Succession Planning
Lack of succession planning in the government context
1.      For Group ‘A’ officers, ‘potential leaders’ to be identified early and assigned an in-service mentor for grooming. List of such potential leaders to be reviewed periodically and weeded out. Incentives for high performers.
2.      For ‘Promotee’ cadre: Similar grooming as per age and capability.
Employee Relations
Organisational climate and culture dictated by the whims and fancies of top leadership
1.      Greater sense of belonging to be inculcated in all employees through departmental ‘Family Day’, Children’s competitions (for all children irrespective of rank or position of the parent)
         ‘Innovative thinking’ by employees to be encouraged through ACR.
Retirement and Exit
Limited choice of Pension Fund Managers
1.      Employees to be given wider choice of Pension Fund Managers
2.      Greater flexibility on choice of Annuity schemes
Impact of OROP for the defence services
To be studied for applicability to the civil services.

Special thanks go to MCR HRD Institute Hyderabad for providing the platform for such an stimulating exercise and all the participants for making it an enriching experience.

So, remember 'learning by doing' is more effective as compared with lectures, presentations, films etc. In real life, we can find better solutions by working together.

Thanks for browsing,

    Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 15th Nov 2015