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									Action Reflection Note UNDP Barbados and OECS
Initiative or Project Title: Establishment of an OECS Learning Resource Management System
Date: April 5, 2004
                             Within the context of capacity building support to Public Sector Reform in Barbados
                             and the Eastern Caribbean, UNDP Barbados focused its support on public service
                             effectiveness to ensure globally competitive socio-economic development in Eastern
                             Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
                             Over the past decade, UNDP has provided broad-based assistance to the public sector
                             reform programmes embraced by all countries in the wider Caribbean. However, in the
                             recent past, the UNDP Barbados Office serving Barbados and 9 Eastern Caribbean
                             countries designed human resource development programming to be catalytic and
                             central to change processes being promoted. National level projects such as the UNDP
                             Human Resources Capacity Development from 2001, in St. Lucia are being
                             implemented to provide a facility for financing fellowships, group training, and study
                             tours to enable public servants to take advantage of training in specific skills areas to
                             address sectoral skill deficiencies.


                            Training assessments revealed the need to refocus training inputs on general
                            management, goal setting, leadership, communication, meeting management,
                            operations management, organizational behavior, organizational structure, planning,
                            productivity, project management, team building, time management and other areas
                            that would promote rapid development and enhance leadership and professional
                            capabilities of middle level public servants. UNDP noted that there was a particularly
                            need for focused leadership training.

                            To build on the aforementioned lessons learnt, UNDP Barbados funded a “Human
                            Resources Capacity Development Needs Audit” to review the leadership
                            development needs of middle managers in the public service of 3 OECS Member
                            States - St. Vincent & the Grenadines, St. Kitts & Nevis and Grenada. This audit and
                            assessment seeks inform the re-focusing and modernizing of human resource
                            development (HRD) support through the formulation of comprehensive
                            Transformational Leadership Development programmes, refinement of performance
                            management tools and the establishment of an OECS Learning Resource
                            Management System (ECLRMS) based on a sub-regional framework that would exploit
                            the common needs and requirements of the OECS public sector.

                            The audit report examined evidence that suggested a skills gap in middle management
                            leadership ability; addressed trends for future development of key leadership
                            competencies. These issues were reviewed in the context consultations with key public
                            service personnel on HRD issues, problems and approaches. The results of this
                            assessment would guide the development of a programme support document (PSD) to
                            support the establishment of a comprehensive HRD Programme for the OECS public
                            sector, based on emerging critical issues and strategies designed to improve existing
                            training, HRD policy and practice development within the structure of an ICT supported
                            OECS Learning Resource Management System (ECLRMS).

                            The proposed project seeks to establish a sub-regional OECS Learning Resource
                            Management System which links national level projects and training interventions. It
                            will initially focus on Transformational Leadership Training designed to enhance public
                            sector productivity, at the national and sub-regional levels. This project will benefit from
                            the platform being developed by the World Bank coordinated Caribbean Knowledge
                            and Learning Network which has the overall goal of enhancing the global
                            competitiveness of countries in the Caribbean region by upgrading and diversifying the
                            skills and knowledge bases of the region through greater regional collaboration and
                            connectivity.




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In order to meaningfully address these issues, the UNDP needs audit investigated the
perspectives of organizational heads, middle managers and employees in order to obtain a
balanced view of the needs for a middle manager leadership development programme.
More specifically, the exercise encompassed the following activities:

   1) The assessment of the strengths and weaknesses related to the capacity of the middle
      manager base;
   2) An examination of the current methods for the identification of training needs;
   3) A general examination if change in performance occurs following the training and
      development of managers and the impact of training and development on the behaviour
      of managers and workers;
   4) The identification of priority areas for national development;
   5) The identification of the development areas for implementation; and
   6) The development of recommendations on policies and practices to complement human
      resource development efforts.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY

The geographical coverage of the project included the three (3) OECS territories of St. Vincent
and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis and Grenada. The needs analysis was conducted in
conjunction with the departments in each country responsible for the human resource functions,
namely the Public Service Commission, the Chief Personnel Officer, the Ministry of Public
Service and the Training Division. The process involved the following steps as outlined below:

           (i)        The review of work already undertaken by the World Bank.
           (ii)       The review and analysis of the Training Needs Assessment reports
                      commissioned by the Commonwealth Secretariat in 2000, for each of the
                      three territories.
           (iii)      The compilation of previously documented Training needs both at the
                      national and sub-regional levels.
           (iv)       The examination of public sector reports and documents on existing training
                      and development programmes, which provided an understanding of the
                      Mission, Core Values and Long Term Goals and Objectives of the national
                      programmes and also provided insights into the commonalities among the
                      islands.
           (v)        The review of reports and documents developed for similar activities
                      undertaken in the region.
           (vi)       The collection of data on middle managers’ leadership deficiencies and
                      training needs, through the use of three (3) questionnaires to cover the
                      following categories of persons:

                   Human Resource Management Personnel & Heads of Departments;
                   Middle Managers; and
                   Employees (non-managerial).

           (vii)      The conduct of focus group consultations with a view to identifying prospects
                      for sub-regional collaboration on public sector training and development.
           (viii)     The collected data was then collated; an analysis of the findings was
                      conducted and recommendations were made. These preliminary analyses
                      were shared with the management of HR Departments and the UNDP, and
                      appropriate adjustments will be made to the analyses.




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Training Needs Assessment

The main focus of the assessment is to delineate the leadership development needs of sub-
regional middle managers. The assessment was premised on a number of research factors: a)
the stated weaknesses of present middle managers as leaders; b) the areas for leadership
development suggested by the three (3) categories of respondents; c) and the selection of
training courses by middle managers themselves and HR persons & Heads of Department. The
options indicated were considered in the literature as being necessary to maximize the leadership
function. The results of the audit showed that the most frequently indicated training requirement
from among 24 options and 8 participant-suggested areas were Human Resource Management,
Communication, Supervisory Management and Leadership each of which was selected by more
than 30% of survey participants. (See Chart 3).

Other critical areas for programming included Motivation and Counseling, Performance
Management, Customer Satisfaction, Organizational Development, Project Management, Self
Development, Problem Solving & Creativity, Financial Management & Fiscal Budgeting, Health &
Safety, Negotiation, IT, Meeting Management, Public Policy and Quality Management each of
which was selected by over 10% of the respondents.


                                                Training Courses                                    Self – Self Development
                                                                                                    OD – Organizational Development & Change
                                                                                                                 Management
             Inv Mgt     1                                                                          Proj Mgt – Project Management
                TBC                        15                                                       QM – Quality Management
            HanRep       1                                                                          Lead – Leadership Development
              F/Lang     1                                                                          IM – Integrity Management
                  TM         5                                                                      PP – Public Policy
                 DM                  11                                                             Nat Ad – National Administration
                    IT                          18                                                  Com – Communication
             Writing         6                                                                      PSC – Problem-solving and Creativity
                  SP                      13                                                        MC – Motivation and Counselling
                 Neg                                 21                                             FM – Financial Management and Fiscal
                   IR                10                                                                          Budgeting
                  CB             7                                                                  Mtgs – Conducting Meetings
                  CS                                                  34                            DC – Development Circulars
                HRM                                                                            66   GO & LL – General Orders and Labour
                H&S                                 20                                                           Legislation
               Meas                                        27                                       SM – Supervisory Management
   Course




                 PM                                                   34                            PM – Performance Management
                 SM                                                                  57             Meas – Productivity Measurement
            GO & LL                       14                                                        H&S – Health & Safety
                  DC                 10                                                             HRM – Human Resource Management
                Mtgs                            18                                                  CS – Customer Satisfaction
                  FM                                      25                                        CB – Collective Bargaining
                 MC                                                        43                       IR – Industrial Relations
                PSC                                        27                                       Neg – Negotiation Skills
                Com                                                                       63        SP – Strategic Planning
              Nat Ad                       15                                                       IT – Information Technology
                  PP                                19                                              DM – Decision Making
                   IM                     14                                                        TM – Time Management
                Lead                                                            53                  F/Lang – Foreign Language
                 QM                            16                                                   Han Rep – Hansard Reporting
            Proj Mgt                                           29                                   TBC – Team Building & Conflict Management
                 OD                                                 32                              Inv Mgt – Inventory Management
                 Self                                          28
                                                                    No.s


Chart 3: Future Leadership Development

Based on the output of a non-parametric test (Krusak, Wallis Test) the areas that are most
popular across the territories and conducive to sub-regional programming are: Project
Management, Leadership*, Communication, Motivation and Counselling, Financial Management
& Fiscal Budgeting*, Supervisory Management, Human Resource Managements and Customer
Satisfaction.
* Indicates those areas, which were considered critical to leadership development in the
region irrespective of the scores accorded them.

                                                                               National
Course                                                        Regional
                                                                         SVG    SKN GND
Self Development                                                                       
Organizational Development                                                             
Project Management                                             
Quality Management                                                                   
Leadership* (As main focus of TNA)                             
Integrity Management                                                                  
Public Policy                                                                        
National Administration                                         -       -       -     -
Communication                                                  
Problem Solving & Creativity                                                         
Motivation and Counselling                                     
Financial Management & Fiscal Budgeting (A critical area       
identified by UNDP)
Conducting Meetings                                                                   
Development Circulars                                           -       -       -     -
General Orders & Labour Legislation                             -       -       -     -
Supervisory Management                                         
Performance Management                                                               
Productivity Measurement                                                             
Health & Safety                                                                       
Human Resource Management                                      
Customer Satisfaction                                          
Collective Bargaining                                           -       -       -     -
Industrial Relations                                            -       -       -     -
Negotiation Skills                                                      -             -
Strategic Planning                                                                    
Writing                                                         -       -       -     -
Information Technology                                                               
Decision Making                                                                
Time Management                                                 -       -       -     -
Team Building & Conflict Management                             -       -       -     -
* Foreign language, Hansard Reporting, Inventory Management were not considered because of
the frequency and inability to generalize across management groupings.
Table 3: Sub-regional Course Development

The main objectives of the training needs identified were as follows:

        To motivate employees
        To improve organizational productivity
        To improve morale
        To implementing change
        To promote institutional development
These results show that the respondents considered leadership development as key to moving
the various entities along a newly beaten path through the ability to influence employees to
achieve organizational goals.


Training Methods



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In order to design effective training programmes, the methods of training were based on
participant past learning experiences. Coaching, mentoring and video-based learning were also
seen as viable activities especially for new managers. These media are often regarded as
interactive as they usually invite greater participation and stimulation, which results in more
effective learning. These media heighten the learner’s ability to visualize or relate to the
experiences being shared.


Feedback From Focus Group Discussions

The focus group sessions held in the various islands were guided by a brief questionnaire. The
sessions saw a number of issues being raised on economic realities, current practices and the
way forward. These perspectives included:

       New Era - Participants saw the importance of leadership development particularly as it
       relates to globalisation, CSME, FTAA and the challenges of development for small island
       developing states. Effective Leadership was regarded as the driver of development.
       Participants perceived the initiative as timely in the realm of sub-regional cooperation.

       Trainer-of-Trainer activities were deemed to be critical to the success and sustainability
       of the initiative.

       HR Policy & Practice – Concerns were raised about the selection criteria used for
       persons being sent on training. It was mooted that there is a need for a clearly defined
       and articulated HR Policy as many of the policies that are in place, are either outdated or
       are not implemented. At present there is no operational training policy. In addition
       participants see a need for orientation training, career path planning and succession
       planning in the public service, as these practices are not currently in place.

       Evaluation of Training - There is no sharing of information at the completion of training
       and many persons were unable to benefit from the knowledge gained. The opinion that
       the evaluation of training was virtually non-existent pervaded the region. Training
       Investment – It was tabled that there is a genuine resource constraint to providing training
       for officers.

       Strategic Approach – Questions were raised as to whether training is implemented to
       meet needs. Participants believed that training is conducted in a vacuum, whereby in
       many cases officers are returning to an environment, which is not receptive to the
       training, or they do not have the adequate tools to perform and utilize the skills gained.
       There generally needs to be a more focused approach to training

       Training Institute Credibility – It was debated whether the facility used for training should
       be developed specifically for public sector personnel. It was recommended that all
       training institutions should be brought together, e.g. T.A Marryshow, St. Georges
       University, UWI, CMD and the various stakeholders meet to shape a strategy, action plan
       and appropriate training programmes. These programmes should have set training
       standards and accreditation policies. It was believed that the trainers could come from
       amongst the pool of expertise in the region.

       Productivity Management was regarded as one of the critical areas of national
       development.

       MIS – The idea of a regional database was regarded as a good one and it was thought
       that it could be shaped in a parallel manner to the Inland Revenue/Eastern Caribbean
       Central Bank (ECCB) Initiative. While the ECLRMS is a good idea conceptually, focus


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       must be on the national level first or the regional HRMS should be seen as a means to
       the end and not an end in itself.

       Duplication - Some concern was expressed that the project was a duplication of the
       Commonwealth Secretariat Project of year 2000. It was mooted that the funding agencies
       should come together to move towards the next steps. Furthermore, the agencies should
       pool funding together at the level of implementation, rather than seemingly duplicating
       work, which has been already completed.

       Dialogue - Passionate pleas for further dialogue between the beneficiary countries and
       the UNDP were made relative to moving the project forward. Moreover, it was thought
       that a Secretariat should be established with a designated person from each territory to
       move the project forward. It was though that the OECS Secretariat could also make
       useful contributions with regard to the facilities they already have in place for cooperation.

       Decision-making - Decisions are generally made at another level and handed down.
       However the authority to deal with non-compliance is sometimes very vague. The power
       to deal with persons who are not working in the interest of the organization or are not
       fulfilling the set objectives is grossly lacking and thus the issue of responsibility without
       authority must be reviewed as part and parcel of leadership development.


       Project Success would be measured by the numbers trained, the use of performance
                                       o
       management systems such as 360 feedback and periodic work environment audits.

       Age - It was generally thought that persons up to five years to retirement should be
       eligible for such training and as such effective career planning would support this
       paradigm.

       Communication – Information on the programme should be easily accessible to all
       relevant persons. As such GIS should be co-opted to promote and circulate the specifics
       of the programme in addition to the HR function, and a website should be developed
       denoting eligibility, available courses and other logistics.

       Eligibility – To reduce frustration it was suggested that only persons who are either
       holding said posts or will be selected for such a position in the immediate future should
       enter the programme.

Institutions, experts involved and/or particularly useful resources:
Links or contact information to contributing partners: Barbados National Productivity Council
bnpcouncil@caribsurf.com www.barnapco.com

List of Abbreviations OECS – Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
HRD – Human Resources Development
ECLRMS – Eastern Caribbean Learning Resources Management System
PSD – Programme Support Document
CSME – Caribbean Single Market Economy
FTAA – Free Trade Area of the Americas
ECCB – Eastern Caribbean Central Bank




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