I have recently joined as an Assistant Director HR in a well known public organization. I have been working with private sector for almost 6 years before accepting my new assignment. What i came to realize the main difference between private & public sector is the focus on result & process.
In a dynamic private sector firm, everything is aligned with business objectives and processes are re-engineered to cope up with the business requirements. The same situation is reversed in public sector when the focus is on process and not the outcome frankly makes you frustrate sometimes.
I would like to ask worthy members opinion on suggesting the best practices on how to bring or initiate a change in this mindset.

From Pakistan, Rawalpindi
well you are right my friend, even i am working in govt sector in india and am going through all this frustration daily, is pakistan govt also like this. ..
From India, Madras
Hello Bilal & Ravi,
Let's face it--governments the world-over are the SAME.....in terms of work attitude/culture.
You may be surprised to hear that the situation in USA or UK is too the same--if not worse--except that the issues are different due to the general culture being different.
Coming to your query ['suggesting the best practices on how to bring or initiate a change in this mindset'], that would be a tough proposition.
I am not sure of your reasons for joining the public sector from private sector--usually this factor is taken into account by anyone making such a move, especially @ senior levels, since this is where interference is high.

From India, Hyderabad
Two aspects which you may begin with are 'transparency' and 'Accountability'. Transparency is of HR policies & processes. This can be achieved by making these documents viewable by all employees on the website of your organization. Before doing that, you need to read & understand these documents fully since the management shall hold you accountable for their implementation in practice. People too shall bombard you if something is not being followed on the ground. But the results shall be worth the effort put in by you. Through transparency, you will build loyalty of the people to the organization. This loyalty shall lead to accountability, if you gradually introduce the process of KRAs/ Goals setting for the executives & managers. There will be tremendous resistance to begin with, but carrying the management & some key personnel in the organization with you shall help in launching this initiative. If you, for example, can introduce an automated system for Performance Management (which permits use of your existing Appraisal Forms & work flows), you could trigger a change in the mind sets of people (who in the public sector are more used to slow operations with little scope for data analysis). Now automate your KRAs & Goals setting system, keeping an eye on the objectives of the organization, & see to it that this process gets completed before the start of the next financial year. Use a software like 'EmpXtrack' which helps in periodic tracking of completion of Goals of all employees in all departments & keeps everyone involved and well informed. Let the management see this activity on their dashboards.

I know you want to change the work culture of your organization because you are getting frustrated. Meet this challenge through HR technology to avoid getting into a spin. You can successfully achieve both transparency & accountability if you plan well & carry your management with you. See your frustration as an opportunity.

From India, Delhi
Dear BK Bhatia,
Appreciate your response. The fact is that people resist to change which is a global issue. In a public sector organization, people generally develops a mindset having their presence in the office till the closure of official hours. Automation of all HR process is what we are aiming for, young officers in our batch are having discussion on getting things done through a well structured plan.
Management support is the key in this transition and we are working on a comprehensive plan to get the management support in the change process. I agree that a well structure Job Analysis, Performance Evaluation and opportunities for growth can make employees work efficiently.

From Pakistan, Rawalpindi
Redtapism is an international problem, and even here in Mauritius this is an issue. Of course its only the public who needs the service, who suffers. Well Our Govt is trying to remedy to the situation and has introduced the performance appraisal system and future promotions and salary increases largely depend on the outcome of the performance appraisal. Though resistance to change is your main barrier, I think that performance appraisal is one solution as those working efficiently will generally welcome the practice and others need eventually to follow. I think you need to be saluted for your concern of this situation and its also true that its only because you have worked in the private sector previously that you can compare efficiency.

From Mauritius
Appreciate your thoughts on the subject. Due to the permanent nature of jobs in public sector, employees tends to overlook any effort to establish performance standards when the are getting the increments equally also. Promotions in most cases is based on seniority as well.
We are trying to change this culture by incorporating new strategies, but the main challenge in bring up new performance evaluation system is biases like Halo Effect, Central Tendency, Recency Effect and Personal Biases.

From Pakistan, Rawalpindi
Bilal, all biases get smoothened over a period of time automatically. These should not act as barriers to the launch of new initiatives. Vikash has already indicated that the Govt. of Mauritius has been successful in their attempt to regulate promotions based on performance. I am sure they too would have encountered/ still experiencing the impact of biases mentioned by you, and may have created some innovative performance normalization measures, besides undertaking extensive training - cum - counseling of their Appraisers at all levels.

In my opinion, governance can not be without accountability. And to introduce accountability in Govt. sector, Goal - based performance is the answer. Tracking of performance against Goals has to be a periodic (Quarterly/ Half Yearly) activity & records of counseling have to be maintained (which should be viewable by the concerned employee at all times) to manage complaints/ grievances. All this is possible only through the use of automation of the performance appraisal process. Tools like 'EmpXtrack' have helped some organizations in Govt./ Public sector across the globe & their use has not been resisted by the employees.

From India, Delhi
Hello Bilal,

Frankly, you ought to be appreciated for your intent & efforts to change the ways of the Public Sector company where you joined.

Having worked in both Public & Private Sectors, I can see the type & scale of challenges you would face in changing the mindset there--and one can clearly see that you are indeed gearing-up to it.

In addition to the good inputs given by BK Bhatia & Vikash & your own knowledge/realization about the typical PSU mentality, I would like to add just one--whatever you decide to implement, suggest look @ the consequence from the employee's mindset, which is typically "what's in it for me". In fact this much more in PSUs than Private sector employees, given the nature of work-culture that dominates there. That way, the success chances of your proposals/schemes increases.

For eg., if you are about to propose/implement a revised Appraisal Scheme that brings-in accountability WITH enhanced salary raises [to counter the existing norm of 'one increment whether one works or not'], target those who actually work in your PSU [like every PSU, there would definitely be quite a few who do take their work seriously & produce results]. They would definitely be happy to see such a new measure. At the EoD, at the most, you may have to slightly lower the upper-limit figures to satisfy those who don't work & yet don't want others who actually work get more than them [which you can be prepared in-advance by factoring this aspect in every proposal you make]. Hope you got what I mean.

W.r.t. WHO faces the consequences of such a lethargic/lackadaisical way of working in PSUs & in Government Depts--in the case of such work-culture in Depts, the general public would be Directly effected [which is what, I think, Vikash was meaning], while in the case of PSUs, it's very indirect, so-much-so that most PSU employees won't even know any of the end-customers [sort of 'out-of-sight, out-of-mind']. This would make your effort so much more difficult.

All the Very Best.



From India, Hyderabad
TS & BK Bhatia,
Some of the points highlighted by you will surely be helpful. My taught is that the changes we are looking forward to needs to be implemented in stages i.e. to the extent of officers first and then gradually the supporting staff.
Job Description, Accountability, KPIs, Performance Standards there are some the terms only people with a higher qualification knows by default. They are easy to talk to and get them onboard.
Tricky and challenging task is implementing a change to support staff especially when there is a strong union influence inspired by political parties (Im talking about Pakistan here). I do understand that the process will be slow, but with an organized effort & management support it can happen.

From Pakistan, Rawalpindi

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