Civil Service Commission (CSC) Chairperson Karlo Nograles underscored the critical role of human resource (HR) management as the public sector workplace faces transformations brought by COVID-19.

In his virtual keynote message at the Seminar-Conference on Public Sector Productivity held by the Development Academy of the Philippines on 18 November 2022 via hybrid mode, the CSC chief said that the global pandemic caused drastic shifts in the way people work and organizations function, and that HR is at the center of this transition.

“HR was given the chance to strengthen its role and to contribute in ways that will be more effective and more valued than ever before. Instead of seeing the glass as half-empty, organizations, which include our government offices, are allowed to implement changes with HR at the forefront,” he said.

The seminar-conference, with the theme, Creating an Agile and Productive Public Sector in the New Era of Governance, highlighted the need to develop new and emerging skills to support and sustain the competencies and capabilities of civil servants to keep up with the shifts and transformations brought about by ever-evolving times.

In the same message, Chairperson Nograles said that HR functions should become more efficient and strategic, citing the CSC’s PRIME-HRM (Program to Institutionalize Meritocracy and Excellence in Human Resource Management) which promotes the adoption of digital transformation. “This program is also a strategic initiative to push for digitization as it is designed to phase out paper-pushing and manual processes, so that HR in public organizations can focus on developmental initiatives,” he said.

Learning and development

He also stressed the shifts in learning and development. “We advocate for inclusive learning by cultivating and embracing diversity, upholding equity, and fostering belongingness. We expand our L&Ds by ensuring that learning gaps are met and fulfilled regardless of diverse backgrounds,” he said.

He added that there is a growing demand for e-learning, and increasing focus on building future-readiness among employees. “Ultimately, the goal of these L&Ds is to help shape a future-ready human capital that is involved, engaged, socially responsible, performance-oriented, assertive, and innovative. We develop the talents of the future that can handle adversities and adapt and adjust to the new era of governance.”

Chairperson Nograles said that the CSC is focusing on competence development for government workers so that they can keep up with the acceleration of technology. “At this phase of transitioning to automation, use of data analytics, and higher intensity of non-routine, developmental, and cognitive tasks, we intend to come up with competence development or retraining of government workers to learn and use the appropriate technologies.”

Employee well-being

Chairperson Nograles said that the future of work comes with a different set of challenges on how to prioritize employees’ well-being.

“Thus, I have included as a priority during my tenure in the CSC to change how we care for our human capital in the public sector. I commit to transforming the way we approach professionalizing government service. That is, not just through reactive punitive actions for accountability, but through institutionalized proactive programs. I want transformation by means of educating, equipping, upskilling, and empowering our 1.8 million workers in government,” he said.

He added, “I want future civil servants to see public service as a truly rewarding calling in terms of life-long learning, career advancement, and societal contribution, without sacrificing care for families, and mental and physical health.”