GET Note

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The GET Note -- Recently Asked Questions Series captures the knowledge and advice from individual engagements of the World Bank’s Global Expert Team (GET) on Public Sector Performance.

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    Entry-Level Civil Service Leadership Development Programs: Survey of Selected International Experience
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-11) Roseth, Benjamin ; Dahal, Sudyumna
    This note presents an overview of several entry-level civil service leadership development programs (ELDP), defined here as a government program – separate from mainstream civil service recruitment and development mechanisms – that seeks to recruit young professionals, select the best candidates based on merit, develop their skills to meet the business needs of government ministries and programs while preparing them for leadership in the civil service. It draws on experiences from the Unites States, the United Kingdom, Singapore and Liberia. All of the programs analyzed cover the national or federal level of government. The remainder of the note is organized into five sections: (i) Background, which places ELDPs in the broader context of civil service reform; (ii) Advent of ELDPs, which describes the challenges ELDPs were designed to address; (iii) Analysis of Programs, which describes the general characteristics typical to ELDPs; (iv) Country cases, which highlights salient characteristics of each of the four ELDPs analyzed; and (v) Initial thoughts on introducing such programs.
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    Public Sector Human Resource Practices to Drive Performance
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-10) Manning, Nick ; Hasnain, Zahid ; Pierskalla, Jan Henryk
    Many Governments wrestle with the issue of designing an appropriate set of human resource practices to motivate public servants to perform. Identifying the right set of practices for the public sector is a source of some controversy, and passions run high particularly in relation to the use of monetary incentives, often referred to as performance-related pay or performance based pay. This GET note reviews recent research on a range of practices Governments utilize to drive employee performance, which rest on the assumptions that public servants are motivated in two ways: (i) ‘intrinsically’ (i.e. internal factors motivated by ‘the right thing to do’), and (ii) ‘extrinsically’ (i.e., external validation from rewards offered by others). Generally, a Human Resource Management (HRM) system designed to motivate employee performance will utilize practices in two broad categories related to: (i) ‘external incentives’ (e.g., financial incentives), and (ii) ‘opportunities to perform’ focusing on ‘intrinsic’ factors (i.e. self-directed work). Within ‘external incentives,’ a financial incentive may either act over the long term (e.g., deferred compensation) or in the short term (e.g., performance-related pay). This note applies this conceptual framework to more clearly understand the range of practices Governments are using to improve staff performance, as well as the pre-conditions for their success. Given the recent attention on performance-related pay, we take a deeper look at the evidence underlying the shorter term performance-related pay, reviewing evidence from both OECD and middle income countries. Annex one provides a brief overview on the theories of motivation for those interested in the theoretical underpinnings of the work, and annex two presents’ experiences of performance pay in practice. This Note draws heavily from performance-related pay in the public sector: A review of theory and evidence (Hasnain and others 2012), a recent review of the literature in fields including political science, public administration, business management, and psychology.
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    Options for Restraining the Wage Bill (While Preserving Essential Service Delivery)
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-12) Dorotinsky, Bill ; Manning, Nick ; Rinne, Jeffrey
    Nearly every personnel and pay system has some slack in it, either fiscal excess or staff positions (vacant or otherwise) that are not essential. The key is to look for targeted measures that produce savings and reduce the wage bill, without adversely affecting service delivery.