Namibian Government And Its Employees Management Essay
The relationship between the Namibian Government and its employees is a very complicated relationship with many facets. The main goal of the Namibian Government is to succeed with the implementation of its National Development Plans in order to reach Vision 2030. Vision 2030 states “A prosperous and industrialised Namibia, developed by her human resources, enjoying peace, harmony and political stability”. In order to reach our Vision 2030 government departments will need skilled, experienced and productive people. This assignment will thus focus on the relationship between Government and its employees, and how a Middle Level Manager can improve this relationship.
In South Africa the King III report embraces a triple bottom line principle where companies should balance economic (service) , social (people) and environmental (planet) performance (Meyer et al, 2011). This integration between people, planet and service is seen as key for any government to reach its Vision and Strategic goals.
As in most companies, governments also realize the importance of their employees. The training policy of the Government of the Republic of Namibia (1999) clearly states that it recognises that its staff members are its most important asset and therefore wishes to encourage them to develop skills, competencies and abilities for the benefit of the Public Service. The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) have also developed a Human Resources Development Policy Framework for accelerated service delivery in the Public Service of Namibia (Feb, 2012).
It is thus clear that the Namibian Government has put in place the necessary policy guidelines to ensure a productive relationship with its employees, and it is now up to the managers to fully implement these policies. I will thus assess and evaluate the above policies and summarise the main action steps for a Middle Level Manager to improve this relationship.
Training Policy of the Namibian Public Service
The Government of Namibia regards staff Training and Development (T&D) as a vital component for creating knowledge, skills and attitudes that will enable staff members to fulfil the demands of their respective roles, within their respective Government Offices, Ministries and Agencies (O/M/A’s). The objectives of the Training Policy (1999) are
to ensure that training receives a high degree of support on all levels, especially from top management;
to ensure that training is carefully planned, properly coordinated and sustained on all levels;
to recognise the fact that effective training can only take place when matching resources are properly planned and budgeted for, e.g. training personnel, equipment, facilities, material, etc.;
to establish an internal capacity for training in the Public Service
to offer training to all categories of staff and at all levels of the Public Service;
to ensure that training and development takes place within the parameters laid down by Government in policies and legislation; and
to ensure that training is offered to Namibian citizens employed in the Public Service (and in exceptional cases, where Namibians do not meet the requirements, to non-Namibians).
Human Resources Development Policy
In recent years the Office of the Prime Minister has realised that there is a need for appropriate strategies to strengthen the human resources capacity in Government. To facilitate this process, the Human Resources Development (HRD) Policy Framework for Accelerated Service Delivery (2012) has been created to provide a solid regulatory structure that will enable (O/M/A’s) to formulate sustainable HRD strategies and develop capacities in a focused and consistent manner towards achieving Vision 2030.
HRD Policy Framework Objectives (2012)
a. “To provide for a framework that fosters a working environment in which staff members learn and develop the knowledge; skills, and right attitudes, which enables them to maximise their performance, commitment, and contribution to the aims and objectives of the organisation for which they work, namely the Public Service.”
b. “To promote fairness in the management and administration of Training and Development (T&D) opportunities.”
c. “To ensure a positive return on the investment of resources into T&D activities in the Public Service.”
d. “To encourage the increased use of non-conventional T&D tools and techniques as well as out-of-the-box thinking in the Public Service.”
The Role of the Line Manager
The main role every manager must fulfil in the workplace is leadership. Managers often assume that because they are the managers, they are also the leaders and that their subordinates will automatically follow. However, position only denotes title, not leadership. Peter Northouse (2007) defines leadership as a process whereby one person influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. To be an effective leader, the manager must influence his co-workers in a positive way to reach the goals of the organization.
It is evident that the Middle Level Manager plays an important role in any organization. His or her main function is to put it simply – keep the employees happy, so that they are productive! To keep employees happy one has to address both their economic and emotional needs. In Government the Middle Level Manager has limited influence on the improvement of economic needs and must therefore concentrate on the emotional needs. The Middle Level Manager should thus focus on motivating and encouraging staff to improve their productivity.
There are many books and websites on how to motivate your staff. Some of my favourites are listed below (from www.ehow.com/tips-motivating-staff)
“Be kind to your staff. This may sound immature, but it is the main complaint of employees. If the boss is mean, then the co-workers also tend to be mean with each other and also with the clients”
“Be positive. Negative people spoil the atmosphere for everybody”
“Give appropriate compliments. People who work hard sometimes do need a word of appreciation”
“Give the pep talk. Words can inspire and motivate if used appropriately. A daily pep talk is usually ineffective, but if a manager gives them only once a month, they can be more effective”
It is clear from government policies that training is seen as an important role of the public service. Training of staff is thus an important function of Middle Level Managers. Most people think of training as learning, but training can also be seen as the systematic process of changing the behaviour and/or attitudes of people, in a certain direction to increase goal achievement within an organisation, as opposed to education which can be defined as activities which aim at developing knowledge and understanding.
Middle Level Managers should identify the performance gaps of their staff members and address them with the compilation of Performance Agreements and Personal Development Plans, as required by the Office of the Prime Minister. Staff development should also include for the provision of opportunities and courses for individuals to develop skills, knowledge and attitudes that help themselves to achieve personal objectives. Middle Level Managers should also ensure that staff members attend relevant training courses, receive induction and technical training, including mentoring and coaching, as is recommended in the Public Service Induction and Orientation Framework.
Question 2: Explain shortly each component of the Human Resources Value Chain and provide a clear explanation of your role and responsibility as a Middle Level Manager in each of the components.
The basic Human Resources Value Chain refers to the different functions that the HR team should fulfil in any organisation and consists of nine strategies and processes (MMDP Module 3, Study Manual). Although these strategies are normally seen as the functions of the HR department, the Middle Level Manager should understand the processes and actively participate in all of them.
hr-solution.jpgFigure 1: The traditional role of the HR Department (www.hrsolutions-uk.com)
The Human Resource Value Chain
“Human Resources planning refer to classic HR administrative functions, the identification of human resources requirements for meeting organizational goals. It also requires assessing the availability of qualified resources that will be needed. To ensure their competitive advantage in the marketplace and anticipating staffing needs, organizations must implement innovative strategies that are designed to improve employee retention rate and recruit new talent into their companies. Human resources planning is one way to help a company develop strategies and predict company needs in order to keep their competitive edge” (www.wisegeek.com). It is important that Middle Level Managers participates in the above planning process as they will have the best knowledge regarding the HR needs of their department.
“Recruitment refers to the process of attracting, screening and selecting a qualified person for a specific job. The stages of the recruitment process include: job analysis and developing a person specification; the sourcing of candidates by advertising or other search methods; matching candidates to job requirements; assessing individual skills; assessment of candidates’ motivations and their fit with organisational requirements by interviewing and other assessment techniques. Recruitment may be conducted in-house by managers, human resource practitioners or recruitment specialists” (www.wikipedia.org/recruitment). It is essential that Middle Level Managers participates in all the steps of the recruitment process to ensure that the best candidate is selected for the job.
Selection and placing
Selection is the process of gathering information for the purposes of evaluating and deciding who should be employed or hired for the short and long-term interest of an organization. The main objectives of the staff selection procedure are:
to ensure a fair and transparent competition for all posts
to ensure the selection of the candidates on the basis of relevant competence and expertise basis
you should refer to the Affirmative Action Policy as well as the National Gender Policy
a selection panel to ensure applicants are evaluated by more than one individual to minimize the potential for personal bias
It is vital that Middle Level Managers participates in the Selection and Placing process to verify that the correct procedures are followed and that the preferred candidate is appointed. Applicants who meet some or all of the preferred qualifications (e.g. experience) will have shorter assimilation times, are more competent and are able to take on advanced responsibilities sooner.
After you have appointed a person in a position, you need to introduce them to your organization and their role. This process is called staff induction. “A good induction training program ensures that new staff are retained, settle in quickly and be productive. Induction training is more than skills training. It is about the basics that veteran employees all take for granted: what are the shifts; where the notice-board is; what the routines are for holidays, sick leave, etc. New employees also need to understand the organisation’s mission, goals and values; personnel practices, health and safety rules, and of course the job they are employed to do, with clear methods, timescales and expectations” (www.businessballs.com/inductiontrainingchecklist.htm).
As a Middle Level Manager for new employees it is your responsibility to ensure that induction training is properly planned and executed. Even if head office (HR) deals with induction training – you must ensure that it is planned and organised properly for new staff members. An induction training plan must be issued to each new employee, and copied to everyone in the organisation who is involved in providing the training. Creating and issuing a suitable induction plan for each new employee will help them do settle in quickly and do their job better and faster.
“Employee Performance Management is defined as a process for establishing a shared workforce understanding what is to be achieved at an organisation level. It is about aligning the organisational objectives with the employees’ agreed measures, competency requirements, development plans and the delivery of results. The focus is on improvement, learning and development in order to achieve the overall business strategy goals and to create a high performance workforce” (www.peoplestreme.com/what-is-performance-management).
“Performance appraisals are essential for the effective management and evaluation of staff. Appraisals help with the development of individuals and improve organizational performance. Formal performance appraisals are usually conducted annually for all staff in an organization. Each staff member is appraised by his or her line manager. Annual performance appraisals enable management to monitor standards, agree on objectives and to delegate responsibilities and duties” (www.businessballs.com/performanceappraisals.htm).
“Managers and employees usually dislike appraisals and try to avoid them. To them the appraisal is intimidating and time-consuming. The process is seen as a difficult administrative chore and emotionally challenging. The annual appraisal is maybe the only time since the previous year that the two people have sat down together for a meaningful discussion. That is why appraisals are stressful – which then defeats the whole purpose. Here-in lies the main problem – and the remedy. Appraisals will be easier, and also more relaxed, if the manager meets with each of the team members individually and regularly for one-to-one discussion throughout the year” (www.businessballs.com/performanceappraisals).
Performance management is probably one of the most important tasks of the Middle Level Manager. Generally speaking, Middle Level Managers receive the instructions and goals from top Management, and it is their responsibility to implement them and reach the goals of the organisation. Performance agreements are thus a very important tool of the Middle Level Manager, in order to manage and monitor the performance of his or her staff.
Reward and remuneration
“Remuneration is the total compensation that an employee receives in exchange for the services he/she performed for the employer. Typically, this consists of monetary rewards, also referred to as wage or salary” (www.wordreference.com). In addition to salaries many jobs include some form of benefits e.g. a company pension scheme. The employee may subsidize the contributions made by an employee into a company pension scheme. The employee may also be able to benefit from other subsidized services such as medical aid and housing. The remuneration package thus consists of a range of payment methods and benefits which can be used as motivators by companies.
When most managers explain their organizations’ reward programs, they often focus on cash compensation. However, employees are not only motivated by money. Therefore managers should also consider how to communicate about and use the range of intangible rewards at their disposal as well as the monetary ones. According to McMullen and Stark (2008) the restaurant chain Applebee’s, does exactly this. Applebee’s identified four types of rewards (translating to the acronym REAL) that the company offered:
Rewards (financial compensation)
Engagement (ensuring work is fun and fulfilling)
Advancement (personal and professional growth opportunities)
Life (ensuring everyone has a healthy, balanced life).
In most cases Middle Level Managers have limited influence on reward no. 1, and should therefore concentrate on improving the other three rewards for their employees.
The term labour relations, also known as industrial relations, refer to the system in which employers, workers and their representatives and, directly or indirectly, the government interact to set the ground rules for the governance of work relationships (from www.ilo.org/safework/bookshelf).
According to Bendix (2000) it is common for managers to assume that all labour related issues should be assigned to labour relations practitioners. Thus, they expect them to deal with grievances, disciplinary action and to negotiate with trade unions. However, Bendix (2000) emphasizes that it is the duty of the managers to deal with matters relating to the employees under their supervision. The Middle Level Manager may seek advice from the labor relations practitioner, but they themselves should handle staff grievances, discipline employees and handle conflicts.
Employee wellness program
An employee wellness program is an excellent method to promote health and wellness amongst the staff of your company. Programs can encourage awareness of health related issues, improve morale, and can reduce the cost of healthcare in the organization. One important aspect of an employee wellness program is that the program is voluntary. The goals of the employee wellness program can include any combination of the following:
Improve general health and well-being
Improve the sense of being a team
Improve morale and attitude
Improve staff retention
“For the employee wellness program to run efficiently one person should be selected who will be responsible for coordinating the program. This person should be motivated and committed to leading a healthy lifestyle. In addition this person should be interested in promoting the employee wellness program and introduce the program to other colleagues and staff.” (http://wellnessproposals.com/wellness-articles/employee-wellness-program). It is my view that this person should be the Middle Level Manager, because it will show the employees that you care about them. An interesting suggestion is to make wellness participation part of the management performance review (http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/).
Question 3: Codrington (2010) provide us with 9 key trends that will shape the “New World” of work, briefly describe the nine trends and provide a critical discussion on the changes that will be required from you as a Middle Level Manager.
It is important that Middle Level Managers are aware of the changes that lie ahead. That way they can prepare themselves and prepare strategies to deal with the expected changes in the workplace. The Middle Level Manager will also need to upgrade his own skills and experience to deal with the new trends in the job market.
The 9 Key Trends
More older workers
“There is a growing gap between the aging population that is leaving the workforce and young workers entering it. The UNDP has estimated that the aging population worldwide is projected to rise from 11 percent today to 22 percent by 2050, meaning the number of people no longer contributing to the workforce will increase from 800 million today to about two billion over the next few decades” ( http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashoka).
It is a fact that in many countries more older people are staying in the work force after the age of 65. Retired workers are returning to employment due to financial pressures or because they find it personally rewarding. Employers should thus undertake to provide working conditions which will help retain older people wanting to continue working. However, many people do not plan to continue fulltime work as they grow older and would prefer to have flexibility and balance in their lives. Middle Level Managers could address the issues by providing a range of options, such as part-time work, contract work, or home-based work. Employees with adaptable skills will have a better chance of getting suitable work. More older workers will also need more health care. Middle Level Managers will have to take it into account when planning work schedules and budgets. Planning ahead can include giving courses at work or retraining of staff.
Key skills deficits across multiple industries
“Another worrying trend is that there is a large global population that does not have the necessary skills that is needed to be employable. Currently, jobs in the computing, IT and engineering industries are vulnerable to this skills deficit. It is important that educational institutions keep up with the current trends in the job market to ensure that the workers obtain jobs in industries that demand their skills most” (http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashoka). Middle Level Managers will have to identify these skills needed in the future and prepare accordingly. Possible solutions include sending staff for training courses and job attachments to gain experience. They should also look at incentives to retain the current skills and to attract new skills.
The increase in migration that took place in the last few decades has changed the composition of the workforce in many countries and raised an international and national debate about migrants in the labour market. The main reasons for the debate are threefold: First, labour market integration is an important condition for ensuring full participation by immigrants in the society. However, the scale of migration and racial, ethnic and religious differences of migrants raise new challenges. Second, in the context of demographic ageing, many countries are experiencing labour and skill shortages. Third, there is a perception that migrants compete with native workers, especially those from less advantaged groups (adapted from http://www.irle.ucla.edu/research/documents/ ). Middle Level Managers will need to evaluate the skills and qualifications of migrants and then employ them on a temporary basis. Governments will also need to strengthen labour standards for migrants. Middle Level Managers will also need to deal with the impact of race, ethnicity and class on immigrant acceptance and integration into the workforce.
More women in the workplace
“Confronted with the global lack of skilled workers, many companies will become more accepting of diverse employees, particularly older workers and women. Women have become an increasingly well-educated source of talent and have entered the workforce in ever greater numbers in recent decades. However, their talents are still often underutilized. This is especially true in societies with traditional views of gender roles” (http://www.ey.com/GL/Issues/Business-environment). Some Middle Level Managers believe women are the world’s most under-utilised resource; including more of them into work is part of the solution to many economic woes, including shrinking populations and poverty. Middle Level Managers will be challenged to provide family-friendly solutions for women who need flexibility for child care. Some solutions may include:
Staff working from home or telecommuting,
Flexible starting and stop times and flexible core business hours
Intermittent paid and unpaid work interruptions for child care
Unprecedented youth unemployment
In Macedonia, a third of the overall population is jobless, including 62 percent of the youth. In Armenia, youth make up one-fourth of the population. However, many job openings remain vacant despite an unemployment rate of 28.6 percent in 2008, according to the World Bank. Employers in both countries find that young people do not have the skills or practical experience required for entry-level positions. They also lack interview skills, networking groups, and opportunities to engage with local employers in a meaningful way (adapted from http://apyouthnet.ilo.org/news/tackling-the-skills-deficit). In Namibia many young people are leaving school without the necessary skills to find decent jobs. In order to address this issue Middle Level Managers will need to increase training capacity and create more internship positions.
Significant entrepreneurial start-ups and small businesses
According to Codrington (2010) both unemployed young people and an older generation looking for post-career alternative working options will stimulate a new wave of start-up businesses. Adding to this the expected growth in many emerging markets the global real purchasing power will quadruple by 2050. Governments will have to address the specific needs of these small businesses and Middle Level Managers will need to advise their organisations on the changing business environment. In future organisations will probably have to deal with many small companies instead of with one big corporation.
Blended lifestyles and flexible working arrangements
“During the last two to three decades, the relationship between company and employee has weakened, even in corporate cultures where loyalty was once prized. Fast-changing company needs and a drive to cut costs led first to more frequent layoffs and then to nontraditional relationships where the expectation was not decades of service, but only a few years. In a period of high unemployment, this new social tend is an advantage for the employer. But as the market turns, skilled employees should benefit. They would like a better understanding of their employment options and a greater say in how work is assigned, assessed and rewarded. Companies that fail to react to this change and do not succeed in redefining their employee value proposition, will fail to attract, retain or develop talent effectively” (http://www.management-issues.com/research/global-migration-the-new-management-challenge.asp). In order to mitigate these issues Middle Level Mangers will need to establish an upcoming leaders group (e.g. the think -tank), transfer management of local offices to local staff (decentralization), expose staff to global cultures, pursue a policy of workplace diversity and develop tailored career plans for staff members.
Since the start of the new millennium most of us are working with colleagues that span at least three, or even four generations. There is a high possibility that we will misunderstand each other’s behaviour. It is very easy to form a hurried and wrong impression of someone from another generation.
2000/2001 – Present – New Silent Generation or Generation Z (Gen Z)
1980-2000 – Millennials or Generation Y (Gen Y)
1965-1979 – Generation X
1946-1964 – Baby Boomers
According to her research Erikson (2009) found that generational conflict usually centers around four essential team activities:
“Choosing where and when to work. Members of older generations view work as a place, a location you go to at a specified time, say from 8:30 am to 5 pm. This synchronicity stems from a time when the nature of most work required that workers be present together, e.g., to run a manufacturing assembly line. Over time, the nature of work in most sectors has changed. Today most tasks do not require synchronous activities, yet many in older generations, continue to expect synchronous behaviour. Younger workers, in contrast, tend to view work as something you do, anywhere, any time. Many Gen Y’s consider the rigidity of set work hours a chronological mistake from another era.”
“Communicating among team members. Most Gen Y’s and X’s are comfortable using electronic communication. They text or post to social networking sites much more frequently than older colleagues do. However, the root of most technology-based team misunderstandings is not the technology; it is how team members interpret each other’s intentions based on communication approaches. Younger members are accustomed to rapid responses from peers, they are likely to feel frustrated and rejected if they don’t hear from older colleagues for a day or two. Team members from older generations may not only be uncomfortable with digital communication, they may even feel offended by a lack of face-to-face or at least voice-to-voice interaction.”
“Getting together. Boomers and Gen X’s are planners and schedulers while Gen Y’s are coordinators. When planning a meeting, Gen Y’s are likely to determine each other’s immediate coordinates, and then contact each other. Older colleagues would prefer to rely on pre-planned schedules, and may be annoyed by younger team member’s “spur of the moment approach”. To Gen Y’s, the extent of scheduling that goes on in most workplaces today seems stultifying and inefficient.”
“Finding information or learning new things. Boomers and Traditionalists are linear learners; they are inclined to attend training classes, read manuals and absorb the information before beginning with a task. Gen Y’s are largely on demand learners, they figure things out as they go, reaching out to personal contacts with relevant expertise for information or referrals, as needed. Gen Y’s are likely to be bored and turned off by a project that begins with a lengthy training phase. Gen X’s and Boomers may be annoyed by Y’s’ frequent questions and requests for input.”
The role of the Middle Level Manager will thus be to help everyone in the team understand the different perspectives and views of the various generations. The Middle Level Manager will need to decide which norms and methods will work best for his team depending on the different generations in his team.
Significant job losses among office workers, knowledge workers and professionals.
In the world of today unskilled tasks are becoming increasingly automated and companies are demanding workers with high-level skills, which is part of the reason why today’s global unemployment rate is at an all-time high. If you are an exceptional employee, your employer would like to retain your services. “In North America 32 percent of employers are concerned that some of their top employees may leave their organizations in the next few months as market conditions improve. To help retain workers, 14 percent are offering more flexible work arrangements, 14 percent are investing more in training, 10 percent are promising raises or promotions and 9 percent are offering more performance-based incentives such as trips and bonuses.” (http://edition.cnn.com/2010/worklife/job.market.trends/index.html). To tackle this workforce crisis Middle Level Managers will need to increase training capacity, improve retention and management of employees plus address concerns related to international migration. Middle Level Managers can also address and support the following:
Provide a good working environment.
Resolve any personal disagreements among employees in order to maintain a positive working experience for everyone.
Represent the employees at senior management level, so that outstanding employees can be recognized for their talents and potential.
Build the company and its capabilities by hiring staff as needed and by training employees
Improve the individuals within the company by increasing their talents and capabilities
Advance the careers of the promising staff members to retain them in the company
(Adapted from http://wiki.answers.com/roles_and_responsibilities_of_middle_management).
Question 4: Explain how mentoring and coaching as management tools can assist you as Middle Level Manager to continuously improve the performance of staff members.
It is widely accepted that the role of a Middle Level Manager is to carry out top management’s instructions by delegating authority and responsibility to their subordinates (Hellriegel et al., 2008). Middle Managers are also responsible for the development and motivation of their subordinates. Mentoring and coaching are two management tools available to a manager to improve the performance, commitment and engagement of staff under his control. It is important that the Middle Level Manager understands the difference between mentoring and coaching and when to apply it.
The Differences between Coaching & Mentoring
I found the best explanation of the differences between coaching and mentoring in the following website. (From http://www.management-mentors.com/resources/coaching-mentoring-differences/)
“Coaching is task oriented. The focus is on concrete issues, such as managing more effectively, speaking more articulately and learning how to think strategically. This requires a content expert (coach) who is capable of teaching the coachee how to develop these skills.
Mentoring is relationship oriented. It seeks to provide a safe environment where the mentee shares whatever issues affect his or her professional and personal success. Although specific learning goals or competencies may be used as a basis for creating the relationship, its focus goes beyond these areas to include things, such as the balance between work and life, self-confidence, and how the personal influences the professional.”
“Coaching is short term. A coach can successfully be involved with a coachee for a short period of time. The coaching lasts for as long as it is needed, depending on the purpose of the coaching relationship.
Mentoring is always long term. Mentoring, to be successful, requires time in which both partners can learn about one another and build a climate of trust that creates an environment in which the mentee can feel secure in sharing the real issues that impact his or her success.”
“Coaching is performance driven. The purpose of coaching is to improve the individual’s performance on the job. This involves either improving current skills or acquiring new skills. Once the coachee successfully acquires the skills, the coach is no longer needed.
Mentoring is development driven. Its purpose is to develop the individual not only for the current job, but also for the future. This distinction differentiates the role of the line manager and that of the mentor. It also reduces the possibility of creating conflict between the employee’s manager and the mentor.”
“Coaching does not require design. Coaching can be conducted almost immediately on any given topic. If a company seeks to provide coaching to a large group of individuals, then certainly an amount of design is needed in order to determine the competency area, expertise needed, and assessment tools used, but this does not necessarily require a long lead-time to implement the coaching program.
Mentoring requires a design phase in order to determine the strategic purpose for mentoring, the focus areas of the relationship, the specific mentoring models, and the specific components that will guide the relationship, especially the matching process.”
When to consider coaching:
When a company is seeking to develop its employees in specific competencies using performance management tools and involving the immediate manager
When a company has a number of talented employees who are not meeting expectations
When a company is introducing a new system or program
When a company has a small group of individuals (5-8) in need of increased competency in specific areas
When a leader or executive needs assistance in acquiring a new skill as an additional responsibility
When to consider mentoring:
When a company is seeking to develop its leaders or talent pool as part of succession planning
When a company seeks to develop its diverse employees to remove barriers that hinder their success
When a company seeks to more completely develop its employees in ways that are additional to the acquisition of specific skills or competencies
When a company seeks to retain its internal expertise and experience residing in its baby boomer employees for future generations
When a company wants to create a workforce that balances the professional and the personal
The Benefits of Coaching and Mentoring (from http://www.broxburndrive.com/The-Benefits-of-Coaching.asp)
The benefits for the individual are:
Greater self awareness and the skills to interact with different people
Greater self belief, combined with appropriate behaviours and attitudes
Improved confidence in dealing with challenges and annoying people
A drive for new skills and knowledge acquisition
Improved problem solving techniques.
As a consequence the organization benefits because:
Improved personal performance improves organizational performance
Increased evidence of commitment to personal development
Improved cross functional interaction and efficiency
Greater efficiency through fewer mistakes and quarrels
Improved skill levels for the organization
Improved staff retention
It is thus evident that mentoring and coaching are valuable management tools for Middle Level Managers that they can use to share their knowledge and experience with staff. The benefits are worthwhile for both the employee and the company. There are also personal benefits for the Middle Level Manager, as mentoring can be a rewarding experience both personally and professionally. The Manager can improve his leadership and communication skills, learn new perspectives and ways of thinking, advance his career and gain a sense of personal satisfaction.
Question 5: Evaluate the current disciplinary process within your OMA and make recommendations as how this process can be improved in terms of procedural and substantive fairness.
The current disciplinary process of the Namibian Public Service is described in the Public Service Act of 1995 (Act 13 of 1995). It is complimented by the Public Service Code of Conduct which stipulates the conduct for public servants. These documents must be read together with the Labour Act No. 11 of 2007 which deals with Labour Relations including unfair dismissals. Rule 26.1 of the Public Service Act states “If a permanent secretary has reason to believe that any staff member in his or her office, ministry or agency is guilty of misconduct, he or she may charge the staff member in writing under his or her hand with misconduct”. Once a staff member is charged with misconduct the next steps of the disciplinary process can proceed. It is very important that the disciplinary process is well understood and clear to both parties.
The Disciplinary Process (from Public Service Act of Namibia No. 13 of 1995) and critical comments
“(3) (a) The permanent secretary who has signed the charge shall cause the charge to be served on the staff member charged, together with any statement of particulars of the alleged misconduct.”
It is fair that the Permanent Secretary, who is responsible for the Ministry, is the only person that may charge a staff member with misconduct. But, I would suggest that there should be a time limit. Currently charges may be brought to a staff member years after the alleged misconduct. It is then difficult to find evidence and trace witnesses.
“(b) The charge shall contain or be accompanied by a direction calling upon the staff member charged to transmit or deliver, within 14 days from the date of the charge, to a person mentioned in the direction a written admission or denial of the charge and, if he or she so desires, a written explanation of the misconduct with which he or she is charged.”
“(4) If the staff member charged admits the charge or fails to comply with the direction referred to in subsection (3)(b), he or she shall be deemed to have been found guilty in terms of this section of misconduct as charged”
There should be a clause that allow for unforeseeable circumstances that may prevent the staff member from replying on time.
“(a) in the case of an admission of the charge, on the date of admitting the charge and not to have noted an appeal against the finding”
“(b) in the case of a failure to comply with the direction referred to in subsection (3)(b), on the date of the expiry of the period mentioned in that subsection.”
“(5) If the staff member charged denies the charge, the permanent secretary concerned shall, within seven days from the date of receipt of the written denial, establish a disciplinary committee consisting of “
” (a) a member of the management cadre of the office, ministry or agency in which the staff member charged is employed, who shall be the chairperson; and”
“(b) the head of the organisational component her representative; and”
“(c) any other staff member who in the opinion of the permanent secretary concerned possesses expertise of the subject on which the charge of misconduct is based, but who shall not be the head of the organisational component in which the staff member charged is employed or the supervisor of that staff member; and”
The Act is not clear on who is considered as an expert on misconduct?
“(d) if the staff member charged so desires, a representative of a recognised trade union, who shall serve on the disciplinary committee merely as an observer without partaking in any proceedings thereof, to inquire into the charge.”
It must be a requirement for a union member to attend, however he should be allowed to advise the disciplinary committee on labour issues and on the correct procedures to be followed.
“(6) The chairperson shall, in consultation with the other members of the disciplinary committee, fix the time and place of the inquiry and shall give the staff member charged reasonable notice in writing of the said time and place: Provided that such inquiry shall be conducted within 21 days after the establishment of the disciplinary committee.”
“(7) The chairperson may authorise any staff member, except a person referred to in subsection (5)(d), to adduce evidence and arguments in support of the charge and to cross-examine any person who has given evidence in rebuttal of the charge.”
Cross examining a person is a skill, which is normally the domain of lawyers and detectives. Members of the disciplinary committee should at least receive some training in this aspect.
“(8) (a) At the inquiry the staff member charged shall have the right to be present and to be heard, either personally or through a representative, to cross examine any person called as a witness in support of the charge, to examine any documents produced in evidence, to give evidence himself or herself and to call other persons as witnesses”
At present there are no clear guidelines on whether the representative may be a legal person.
“(b) The chairperson shall keep or cause to be kept by any staff member designated by him or her record of the proceedings at the inquiry and of all evidence given”
“(c) The failure of the staff member charged to be present at the inquiry shall not invalidate the proceedings.”
There should be clause that can allow for unforeseeable circumstances that may prevent the staff member from attending the proceedings.
“(9) The acquittal or the conviction of any staff member by a court of law on a charge of any offence shall not be a bar to proceedings against him or her in terms of this Act on a charge of misconduct, notwithstanding the fact that the facts set forth in the charge of misconduct would, if proved, constitute the offence set forth in the charge on which he or she was so acquitted or convicted or any other offence on which he, or she might have been convicted on his or her trial on the said first-mentioned charge.”
“(10) If the misconduct with which a staff member is charged, constitutes an offence of which he or she has been convicted by a court of law, a certified copy of the record of his or her trial and conviction by that court shall, upon the identification of the staff member as the person referred to in the record, be conclusive proof “
“(a) of the commission by him or her of that offence;”
“(b) to the disciplinary committee that he or she is guilty of misconduct on account of the commission of that offence, unless the conviction has been set aside by a superior court.”
Can a person be found guilty for a second time – for the same misconduct?
“(11) At the conclusion of the inquiry the disciplinary committee shall find whether the staff member charged is guilty or not guilty of the misconduct with which he or she has been charged and shall inform him or her of the finding.”
The staff member should also be informed of the appeal procedure.
The current disciplinary process of the Namibian Public Service is in theory a fair process. However its main weakness lies in its implementation. At present the process depends on the experience and qualifications of the selected disciplinary committee members. The defence of the staff member charged may also depend on the experience of his or her representative. Some may argue that the committee does not have legal experience therefore the staff member charged should also not have legal representation. But if my job is on the line, I would prefer to have the best representation possible. I would thus suggest that for minor offences the current disciplinary procedure can continue, but when it comes to serious offences where the outcome may be the dismissal of an employee, a special committee with legal expertise should be dealing with the disciplinary process. The charged employee should then also be represented by a legal counsel.
I rest my case.