Phurpa Lhamo 

Around 23 percent of 3,000 young civil servants in a recent survey said that they weren’t motivated.

The research titled ‘What motivates young civil servants in Bhutan’ conducted by Royal Institute for Governance and Strategic Studies (RIGSS) was published in February this year.

While the majority said they were motivated, on a five-point scale, more than half of the respondents who said they were motivated rated their motivation level at three or below.

Around 27 percent of the respondents rated their current motivation level at a 4, and only about 7 percent rated 5 out of 5.

According to the survey, civil servants aged 35 years and below, with a minimum academic qualification of a Bachelor’s degree were considered ‘young civil servants.’

The research report stated that the civil service in Bhutan had a high concentration of young people-born between the mid-1980s and late 1990s, who were commonly categorised as the millennial generation.

“Specifically, there are 16,590 civil servants between the ages of 20 and 35 in Bhutan, who constitute about 53 percent of the Civil Service’s total strength (Royal Civil Service Commission, 2020),” it stated.

The research was conducted to determine factors that motivate the young civil servants; assess the prevalence of motivational factors, including leadership attributes of their supervisors, at their current workplace; and propose measures to better manage and support young civil servants for enhanced personal and organisational growth and development.

Along with an online survey of young civil servants, a questionnaire using a factor-based approach with a set of 18 workplace motivational factors was also used.

The research report showed that the civil servants perceived all 18 factors to be important for motivation.

Among those who said they were motivated, 91.5 percent of the respondents agreed that ‘positive impact’ existed at their workplace and was the top prevalent factor.

Following ‘positive impact,’ other factors on the top five list were ‘engagement’ (89.60 percent), ‘empowerment’(88.82 percent), ‘work output’ (86.09 percent), and ‘job relevance’ (84.09 percent).

For respondents who were not motivated, among the 18 factors, respondents said that ‘career advancement’ was the least prevalent at workplace.

Further, for those who were not motivated, career advancement, recognition, office ambience, feedback system, and freedom were the five least prevalent factors at their workplace.

The research report stated that as millennial are found to be achievement-focused, they desire to excel and advance in their careers.

“Hence, a low prevalence of the factor ‘career advancement’ can directly correlate with the absence of motivation. ‘Recognition’ (41 percent), ‘office ambience’ (40.9 percent), ‘feedback system’ (37 percent), and ‘freedom’ (36.5 percent) were also among the five most disagreed factors.”

As per the Civil Service Statistics 2020, a total of 1,084 civil servants reportedly separated from the civil service in 2020. This is an increase from 472 in 2015, which is around 129 percent increase in the last six years.