Public Sector Managers Need to Embrace People Management Role

Dr Lois Parkes, Leadership Development Specialist

There is a need for public sector managers to embrace their role as people managers which will enable HR practitioners to be more strategic in their roles. According to leadership development specialist at the Caribbean Centre for Development (CARICAD), Dr Lois Parkes, “transformation will really occur when every manager understands that he or she is the human resource manager.” She was speaking in an interview after she gave a keynote address to public sector human resource professionals at their network meeting held recently at the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.

Dr Parkes’ belief is that directors and supervisors play a critical role in streamlining the human resource function. “Most HR functions begin at the level of supervisors and managers. They play the biggest role in orientation and on boarding of the employee,” she said.

She also expressed that performance management is not managed by human resource managers but is dependent on the supervisors, as learning and development usually occurs as the employees executes his or her duties. She added that this goes beyond formal training. “How can the training department understand the training needs unless the managers know how to articulate the needs to them so that they can create or identify training that is required?” Dr Parkes questioned.

Additionally, she noted that it is important for managers to manage discipline and not HR because “if you talk about employee discipline, it has to start with the frontline managers.”

Dr Parkes emphasised that these are critical considerations in the transformation of HR in the public sector especially with the impending roll out of a new HR Operating model whereby HR professionals will function as Strategic Business Partners.

Source: Corporate Communications and Public Relations Branch of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service