Reforms in the sphere of human resources management in the Ukrainian bodies of public administration and local self-government

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Reforms in the sphere of human resources management in the Ukrainian bodies of public administration and local self-government
Andriy Lipentsev, Ph.D. in Economics

Ukrainian Academy of Public Administration, Lviv Branch

Reforms in the sphere of public administration are among the most important problems of the development in Ukraine that are to be solved at the first place. Transition to a sovereign, democratic, social, legislative state with market economy stipulates elaboration and accomplishment of the complex administrative reform. Systematic approach to the elaboration of the complex of measures, aimed at personnel provision for public service, is considered to be one of the prerogatives in the public service’s reforming. Modern management in practice proves inefficiency of standard decisions of complicated social and economic problems. It is necessary to introduce a new approach, based on the integration of the administration and personnel and aims all levels of public administration and local self-government bodies at a citizen, being the consumer of their service.
Among the most important directions of Administrative Reform implementation are the following: to establish new organizational structures and means to maintain the work of public service; to allocate human resources for the new system of public service. It is also stressed in the Conception of Administrative Reform, that reforms in the sphere of human resources should be backed by the modern paradigms of management and administration.

During the last 20-30 years management’s attitude toward human factor in administration radically shifted. An individual is viewed as the main and the most precious organisational resource, and is put into the centre of all the contemporary conceptions of management. Development and widely spreading conception of human resources management becomes the most important trend, which is closely connected and correlated with other important trends of management’s evolution. An effective organisation has obtained huge number of skills and methods of work with staff, balancing between technocratic (or techno-centric) and humanitarian (or human-centric) approaches. Technocratic approach, based on robotization, computerisation, creating organizations-automats, envisaging substitution of human beings by the artificial intelligence and technical devices has proved itself wrong. As a result accents shifted to the general (global) approach, based on the long-term development of employee’s intellectual and labour potential.

The essence of human resources management is to treat people as resources having competitive value, which should be researched, analysed, directed, motivated, placed and developed as well as other resources in order to achieve strategic aim.

General conception of human resources management is specified in each organisation through personnel policy and work with the personnel. This function should be performed by line supervisors and Personnel Departments being the main structural unit of staff management in an organisation. There is existing disproportion between theory and practice of human resources management in Ukrainian public service and local government. Nowadays this important managerial function is carried out by the department with poor organisational status, small number of employees and limited tasks (recruiting and dismissing employees; organisation of training, re-training and further education). Occasionally additional small departments of further education (training) of staff or departments of technical studies are created. Lack of state institutions’ attention to personnel management seems to be caused by a number of reasons of mental, historical and methods nature. But the most important is the absence of scientific, systematic approach toward organisational management and projecting of organisational structure in public service and local government.

Experience of effective organisation functioning and modern theories of management allow us to see the process of personnel management in an organisation (figure 1).

Needs in personnel identification

Human resources management





Training and development

Organisational development

Planning and career promotion

Personnel assessment

Figure 1. Model of the Process of Personal Management

in an Organisation.

Analysis of described functions realisation in Personnel Departments shows that most of them are considered by managers as those having secondary importance.

Finding out the number of required personnel aims at defining what job is being done and which people are needed for its accomplishment. This envisages analysis of internal and external organisation’s environment. These aims can be reached by means of performance analysis its development and description, defining of necessary competencies of hypothetical staff and number of staff needed. Personnel Departments of public establishments determine only number of staff needed. Procedures of performance analysis, its definition and specification are not implemented.

Staff planning

The aim of staff planning is to provide the organisation with necessary staff and to make cost analysis . Anthropocentric approach to organisation management means taking into consideration staff interests. Staff planning should create possibilities for better staff motivation and higher efficiency and job satisfaction. A very important condition for effective staff planning is its integration into general planning process in organisation. Personnel Departments of public administration bodies mostly make operational planning sometimes tactical planning. Strategic planning is beyond their competencies, they are not involved into the process of strategic planning.

Personnel Marketing

The main objectives are the following:

  1. permanent search for and involvement of personnel having necessary qualification

  2. making reserve of potential staff

Among marketing methods: competitions for filling up vacant positions, newspaper publishing for internal and external environment of organisation, bulletin of public administration and vacant position etc. We should distinguish between internal (additional work, displacement of staff, redistribution of tasks) and external sources of personnel involvement (involvement of new people, personnel leasing). According to the law of Ukraine “On public service” personnel Departments must advertise in local newspaper about competition for filling vacant positions one month before the competition will be held, stating requirements to candidates. Regions in Ukraine by now are not being informed about vacant position in central governmental bodies, regions don’t exchange such information. It is caused to some extend by some financial, technical and social problems.

Personnel selection is one of the most important function of human resources management. The main objective is to select people with high professional culture, competencies and qualification required for a position. In the process of selection candidate’s knowledge, skills, system of values, correlation of candidate’s general culture with cultural norms of organisation is being evaluated. Selection approach based on so called “cultural elimination” is used by many successful organisations. Modern Personnel Departments implement multi system approach stipulating usage of different social technologies for identification of psychological, personal, social-psychological features and professional qualities of candidates. Thus Personnel Departments can involve specialists, use services of special agencies or implement technologies of assessment centre. Selection for positions in public service in Ukraine is not always objective as the structure of mechanisms for selection is not developed.
Social and professional adaptation means adaptation of new employees to organisational environment and scope of job responsibilities. Its aim is to help new employees to integrate with other people in organisation, to help him/her develop feeling of community, belonging to an organisation, to help him/her to overcome reality shock, altogether it helps to realise his/her capabilities.

There are two directions of adaptation: primary (adaptation of young employees having no working experience) and secondary (adaptation of employees having working experience, who changed occupation or professional role). According to the law “On Public service” in-service training is envisaged during the first year at work. Usually in most organisations the process of adaptation is limited to this in-service training. Some managers underestimate the importance of adaptation stage.

Motivation is willingness of employee to satisfy his/her needs (to get some benefits) by means of professional activity. Employees are motivated by fair and flexible system of remuneration and benefits based on results of employees professional activity. It envisages the development of a complex system of personnel motivation. Personnel Departments in public services in Ukraine don’t have enough subdivisions (e.g. subdivision dealing with issues of salaries) which could maintain multi-channel approach to planning and implementation of effective motivation policy.
Education and Development mean organisation of professional training of new specialists, further education and re-training of the staff.

There are different approaches to organization of professional education and development: in-service training; training courses in higher educational institutions and special centers of further education; internship programmes abroad; involvement of consulting firms. Ukrainian public organizations use most of the listed above forms of public servants’ further education. Administrative Reform in Ukraine foresees substantial improving of national system of training, re-training and further education of public servants.

Organisational Development means formation and development of organisational culture, development of positive relationship within organisation; special attention is being paid to setting positive psychological climate in an organisation; managing conflicts; analysing and projecting organisational structures. These components should be always in focus, all components should be examined. In public organisations and institutions these functions are carried out non-systematically, and it decreases effectiveness of control over organisational behaviour of management and organisation as a whole.
Planing and Career Promotion includes: developing structure of promotions, assessing performance against criteria of attestation (promotion, degrading, displacing, dismissing); development of programs of staff reserve for senior positions, and increasing of staff performance efficiency.

There two types of career – professional and in-organisational.

In-organisational career is realised in three main directions: vertically, horizontally and centre-directed. Reforms of public administration foresees systematic control over public service performance.

Potential of horizontal and centre-directed ways of career realisation isn’t studied so far.

Assessing Performance aims at developing methods of objective qualitative and quantitative assessment of performance results; defining the level of employee’s qualification. There is a large amount of traditional and non-traditional ways of assessment. Ukrainian public service needs complex system allowing assessment of every public servant. Existing system of attestation doesn’t have strict methods, it decreases its effectiveness. It is also necessary to make motivation and assessment results relevant.

Among the main directions of reorganisation on the state level are the following:

  1. admission of the new priorities of a personnel policy of public service;

  2. elaboration of the new normative documents concerning personnel provision in public institutions and local self-government bodies;

  3. optimisation of the administrative structures responsible for managing human resources in local authorities;

  4. creation of typical educational and qualification characteristics of different positions within public service.

It is also necessary to make changes at the public organisations' level regarding each stage of human resource management. In this connection the most urgent measures to be taken are the following:

  1. implementation of human resource strategic planning;

  2. usage of marketing methods;

  3. establishment of distinct criteria of personnel selection and assessment centre;

  4. creation of the organisation’s system of professional and psychological adaptation of a newly employed;

  5. complex implementation of a motivation system;

  6. traditional and non-traditional methods of employment;

  7. constant analysis and development of the in-service training programmes, their focusing on the strategic needs of the organisation;

  8. digress from the old extensive technologies of in-service training process, training using the main grounds of “trainer’s training”;

  9. systematic approach to the formation and support of the organisational culture;

  10. public servant’s career planning and development;

  11. elaboration and implementation of the social audit of human resources.

The success of the administrative reform in Ukraine greatly depends on the operative and complete solving of the stated objectives, that aims, first and foremost, at decentralisation and humanisation of public administration. More attention should be paid to functional principle of management and reforming in the sphere of human resource management.

Studying of foreign countries experience in human resources management leads to adaptation of up-to-date techniques and methods of personnel selection, recruitment, motivation and assessment to Ukrainian conditions and thus it leads to increasing of human capital of public organisations and institutions. Personnel Departments will perform not merely registration and audit functions but will be also responsible for the development and implementation of strategic and operational plans of human resources development.
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