Phurpa Lhamo 

Demoting and offering the option of resigning or retiring executives who do not perform well are difficult steps, but they need to be taken in the interest of national objectives, according to the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC).

In response to questions from Kuensel, an RCSC official said the Commission envisaged that these lessons will enable RCSC to revamp management of the leadership and civil service structure, and also give executives and other civil servants potential additional responsibilities.

This would mean that the RCSC would not need to fill all the positions that become vacant.

On January 30, the RCSC announced that in the first Leadership Assessment Exercise the Commission conducted, 50 percent of 62 civil servants at the executive level, namely secretaries and director generals, failed to meet the required expectations.

Only seven percent of them exceeded expectations and they were being given responsibilities beyond the scope of their current jobs.

If they can carry out these additional responsibilities while continuing to do well in their current positions, they should be considered for higher level appointments.

“These initiatives signal a fundamental shift in how the RCSC will approach leadership selection and performance management, including rewards and recognition,” the Commission wrote.

The RCSC has been reviewing and revamping personnel management systems and approaches as part of ongoing efforts to improve the way the Civil Service attracts, develops, and retains talent.

“This move to ensure that performance and accountability start with the top leadership had to be taken in service of our national objectives,” according to the Commission’s response.

The RCSC official said that the existing executives were appointed to their current positions as a result of past accomplishments and contributions.

“However, past performance does not guarantee the ability to address challenges that Bhutan will face in the future.”

The secretaries and director generals were assessed by a panel of assessors from the public and private sectors, and international experts.

The executives were assessed on their personnel management instincts, their ability to approach issues from a higher vantage point, collaborate with one another beyond their organisational boundaries, as well as their drive and ability to deliver results.

The assessment looked at their work plans, responses to realistic work-related scenarios, feedback from their supervisors, peers, and subordinates, as well as group and individual interviews.

The RCSC is currently conveying the outcomes to the executives.

Responding to criticism of its performance, the RCSC statement pointed out that, like all public organisations, the RCSC’s performance is subject to the Parliament’s scrutiny. “The RCSC is prepared to be assessed accordingly at any point in time,” it stated.