The Public Service Commission (PSC) plays a crucial role in reforming and transforming the public service to deliver services to the citizenry. Recently, the PSC issued new HR guidelines for State Corporations (SC) and public universities (PU) in an effort to streamline administration and enhance operational efficiency. The intentions are commendable. However, there are seven issues that need to be addressed to ensure that the guidelines are implemented without causing unintended consequences.
Autonomy and Flexibility
The first issue with the PSC’s new HR guidelines is their potential infringement on the autonomy and flexibility of state corporations and public universities. These entities often have unique needs and requirements that may not be adequately addressed by a one-size-fits-all HR approach. Imposing rigid guidelines may stifle innovation and hinder the ability of these organisations to adapt to changing workplace circumstances or implementing tailor-made HR strategies.
The requirement for state corporation and public universities to seek PSC approval for various aspects of their HR processes could lead to bureaucratic bottlenecks. The need for frequent approvals may slow down decision-making processes and impede the organisations’ ability to respond swiftly to operational challenges or seize opportunities. The guidelines might inadvertently create additional layers of bureaucracy that hinder efficient functioning.
Consideration of Specialised Roles
State corporations and universities often have specialised roles and functions that require specific HR strategies. The guidelines, designed to provide uniform norms and standards, may not adequately address the unique HR needs of these entities. For instance, technical universities may require different career progression models compared to general academic ones. Failing to consider these differences could lead to a suboptimal utilisation of their employees.
Conflict with Constitutional Mandates
The guidelines could potentially conflict with the constitutional mandates and legal authority of some entities. The AG’s disagreement with the PSC regarding salary determination for parastatal staff is a case in point. This could result in legal challenges and prolonged disputes that divert resources and attention from the core mandates of these organisations.
Limiting Organisational Creativity
The imposition of standardised structures and guidelines may limit the creativity and innovation within state corporations and public universities. A rigid framework could discourage organisations from exploring new ways to enhance HR management, and discourage innovative approaches that could lead to more effective HR practices.
Complexity and Administrative Burden
The guidelines require state corporations and universities to develop and obtain PSC approval for various documents, including organisational structures, grading, staff establishment, career guidelines, and HR policies. This could place a significant administrative burden on these entities and divert resources away from their core functions and hinder overall productivity.
Impact on Employee Morale
Whereas the guidelines aim to provide uniform norms and standards, the impact on employee morale and motivation is uncertain. Employees in different SC and PU may have varying expectations and needs when it comes to career progression and development. If the guidelines fail to address these variations adequately, it could lead to a decline in employee satisfaction and performance.
Involvement of state corporations and public universities is crucial for the successful implementation of any HR management framework. There is a need for the PSC to undertake extensive consultations with the affected entities. These consultations may result in buy-in from these organisations and lead to less resistance and commitment to the guidelines.
The writer is HRD Consultant and Author of Transition into Retirement; [email protected]