Large Scale Public Sector Transformation

Role of HR in transformation

Low Peck Kem from the Prime Minister’s Office in Singapore.

It will be interesting to see what can be learnt from transformation in a small (5.5m residents) state with a very different culture.

About 40% of the audience have been to Singapore – well travelled bunch this lot.

“If Singapore is as successful as we say it is why do we need to transform?” Singapore is always living on the edge, it has no natural resources (including drinking water – which is baught from China) so we has to continually punch above our weight. It has moved from 3rd to 1st world only in the last 30 years and it is only 50 years old.

Public sector can implement change at a scale that private sector can’t.

Whilst there seems to be a large amount of fear attached to the motivation of Singapore public sector to transform (threat of withdrawal of resources from neighbouring countries), Low Peck Kim is framing it in a very positive way.

HR function explicitly includes system thinking – that’s interesting.

How do you get people who don’t report to you to do what you want. There is an honesty in this presentation, everything isn’t perfect, eg performance process sounds bureaucratic and typically public sector and the staff engagement survey tells them it isn’t working however for years that process endured. Huge process in place to define a £10 per month reward difference. So question being asked is “is what we are getting out of performance worth the pain we are putting our people through?”

Technology is used widely across Singapore – thumbprint passports, automatic toll booths, personalised automatic queuing systems. This also applies to HR where automation is maximised to do more with less! However there is expectation that ageing population will continue to increase demand. Truly embracing the potential of technology, recognising the huge impact things like self driving cars will have on a small nation.

“HR is the architect of the work environment”

There is a real focus on delivering for customers, politically this plays out by a lower majority (still 60% of vote) stimulates the government to renew efforts to engage with citizens, to listen to their demands more.

Building trust from the people in the government is a key area, rules and guidelines used to ensure behaviour of public sector staff is appropriate (down to should you wear expensive watches).

Met google, interesting clash of cultures. What do google employees complain about – the quality of the free food (which is actually very good). This is the norm for googlites, they have known nothing else. When we provide great services to the public that becomes the norm…so our expectations are set at that level.

HR’s role in transformation is:

  • Strong Leadership
  • Engaged Officers
  • Future Ready
  • Professional HR

5 pillars

5 pillars

There has been a great deal of work developing the HR community, into a real community, with the skills they need, with a focus working hard to refocus burning platforms into burning ambitions.

HR Strategy

  • HR as a strategic partner
  • HR change agent
  • HR as people developers
  • One HR community

Supporting all HR practitioners with the tools they need to deliver the strategy. This includes formal development programmes (developed with CIPD) toolkits and space and time to share learning and co-create solutions with the whole HR community..

Al the slides from the session are here


Live blogged from #CIPD15, apologies for poor spelling, grammar, lack of coherence or opinion.

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