Research Reports

If an effective rewards system is to operate in the civil service needs to action be taken in a number of areas.  The central departments (Finance and the Taoiseach) need to review practices and procedures operating across the civil service to ensure that an appropriate rewards framework is in place.  In particular, the budget and appropriations processes need to be scrutinised to ensure that good performance is rewarded through these mechanisms.  Top management in departments and offices need to review practice in their own departments, and assess the mix and range of rewards on offer.  Personnel officers will have a key role in supporting top management in this task, and ensuring that reward systems are an integral part of the human resource management strategy for the department.

One lesson from The Use of Rewards in Civil Service Management is the importance of asking staff what rewards they value and will respond to.  Such information is a key element in planning the design of reward systems.   Jabes and Zussman (1988:225) for example, in discussing their own survey of public sector managers state: `...rarely if ever do these surveys get repeated using the same instrument and a similar methodology.  Therefore departments, central agencies and thus the public sector as a whole, lack comparative data over time which would be useful for policy making regarding personnel selection, promotion, career development and other human resource management issues`.

Another lesson from The Use of Rewards in Civil Service Management is that the rewards framework in Figure 1 provides a useful framework for those wishing to develop or promote reward systems in the civil service.  It is likely that departmental-based reward systems will need actions in each of the four cells in the matrix of the framework.  There is a need for both individual and organisation rewards, and for both financial and intangible rewards.  The precise mix will be dependent on the particular circumstances and culture of a department.  But the framework, and the illustrative examples provided within it, give a menu which departments can select from or add to in developing reward systems that promote good performance in the civil service.

The Use of Rewards in Civil Service Management

If an effective rewards system is to operate in the civil service needs to action be taken in a number of areas.  The central departments (Finance and the Taoiseach) need to review practices and procedures operating across the civil service to ensure that an appropriate rewards framework is in place.  In particular, the budget and appropriations processes need to be scrutinised to ensure that good performance is rewarded through these mechanisms.  Top management in departments and offices need to review practice in their own departments, and assess the mix and range of rewards on offer.  Personnel officers will have a key role in supporting top management in this task, and ensuring that reward systems are an integral part of the human resource management strategy for the department.

One lesson from The Use of Rewards in Civil Service Management is the importance of asking staff what rewards they value and will respond to.  Such information is a key element in planning the design of reward systems.   Jabes and Zussman (1988:225) for example, in discussing their own survey of public sector managers state: `...rarely if ever do these surveys get repeated using the same instrument and a similar methodology.  Therefore departments, central agencies and thus the public sector as a whole, lack comparative data over time which would be useful for policy making regarding personnel selection, promotion, career development and other human resource management issues`.

Another lesson from The Use of Rewards in Civil Service Management is that the rewards framework in Figure 1 provides a useful framework for those wishing to develop or promote reward systems in the civil service.  It is likely that departmental-based reward systems will need actions in each of the four cells in the matrix of the framework.  There is a need for both individual and organisation rewards, and for both financial and intangible rewards.  The precise mix will be dependent on the particular circumstances and culture of a department.  But the framework, and the illustrative examples provided within it, give a menu which departments can select from or add to in developing reward systems that promote good performance in the civil service.

By: Richard Boyle ISBN: 1-872002-19-6

Published: Wednesday 01, January 1997.


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