COMPETENT AND MOTIVATED WORKFORCE
By Atty. Fe Marie D. Tagle, Vice President for Finance and Administration
(Message delivered at St. Paul University, Dumaguete City.)
Let me share with you insights about having and maintaining competent and motivated personnel. I have learned these from my years of experience as the Human Resource Manager of Silliman University. While the circumstances that led to Silliman’s development of its set of relevant factors on personnel motivation and competence may not be the same for all academic institutions, these factors may nevertheless be applicable to other schools as they are anchored on generally accepted HR principles.
I call these factors the “3 Cs” of a motivated and competent Silliman workforce.
The first C stands for Culture.
This is about cultivating an environment where employee motivation is an essential ingredient to attaining a competent workforce. Because culture is established over a long period of time, let me just characterize how Silliman found and evolved its own culture in the acronym SEEK.
A. “S” is for Shared vision and mission.
Our objective is to make every individual in the organization feel that they are part of something big. We take deliberate steps to ensure that they are aware of and they have access to Silliman’s vision, mission and strategies. This is actually our way of telling them how they will contribute to its achievement, and what constitutes an acceptable performance.
Allow me to share a short anecdote on the importance of the above factor.
In one strategic planning session that I participated in, everyone (the Board, Administration and the employees) was present to pitch-in ideas for the long-term development plan of the organization. There was a lively discussion as employees were all excited about adopting new strategies in the next 5-10 years vis-a-vis new challenges in the industry. At the end of the activity, the facilitator asked some individuals what they learned from the activity. One employee answere: “Now I know that what I do is important to the overall achievement of our plans. There is no big or small job in this institution.”
And he is correct. Our organizational culture, which allows for collective ownership over strategic plans, evokes shared responsibility towards obtaining positive outcomes. As a consequence, the employees demand on themselves and on each other a high level of commitment and competence.
B. “E” stands for Empowerment.
Silliman recognizes that an empowering environment has to be in place a reliable workforce is sought. The setting allows employees of the University to develop and improve their skills and abilities through further studies, research, training, and community involvement. Such undertakings actually redound to the benefit of the University, because having employees with improved skills and abilities translate to significant increase in inputs toward institutional productivity.
Silliman University, as a matter of fact, has never wavered on its support for faculty and staff development. Recently, the University adopted the option of employee development over lay-offs amidst the challenges brought about by the waves of educational reforms in the Philippines (for basic and higher education).
C. “E” is for Excellence.
Excellence in the academe is second nature.
D. “K” is for Keeping Employees Involved.
In an article on Human Resource Management, it says, “engaged employees have the information that they need to understand exactly and precisely how and what they do at work every day affects the company’s business goals and priorities.”
Silliman engages its employees on various aspects of its operation.
In the formulation of plans and policies, for example, employees/employee representatives participate in the discussions of different vetting bodies (committees and councils), including committees of the Board of Trustees. This is one way that employees are continuously in the loop, and this directs the manner they do their tasks.
The second C stands for Communication.
The importance of communication cannot be overemphasized. Many organizations fold because of failure or lack of communication. Conflicts and low productivity also arise due to poor communication.
Over the years, Silliman has developed effective communication systems that ensure vital information is shared throughout the University. It makes use of various channels like conferences, assemblies, and committee meetings to assure continued personnel involvement in the University’s operations. And this has been enhanced over time with creation of the Silliman website.
On matters that affect the individual employee’s welfare, the University has adopted the “open door” policy as an added mechanism to its grievance machinery. Employees may approach the appropriate officers of the University on their concerns and issues.
And finally, the last C stands for Care.
Care, in the context of motivating Silliman employees, outlines the array of provisions available to them. CARE is a package consisting of the following:
- C-ompensation and Benefits
- A-dvocacy for Employee Welfare
- R-ewards and Recognition
- E-valuation and Feedback
The whole package assures alignment of the individual interests to that of the University.
Silliman University, as a matter of policy, continues to prudently provide for its personnel by not only affording competitive salaries and benefits but by also securing the long-term sustainability of these economic provisions.
These “3 Cs” have worked for Siiliman, and I know that you have a similar model in your institution. I hope this sharing affirms the systems that are in place because at the end of the day, we stand on what we believe works best for our institutions.