Merit to be the main factor in career advancement in Bahrain’s public sector

May 16, 2010

Merit will be the main factor in career advancement in Bahrain’s public sector, a senior official has said.

 “The current system uses seniority as the basis for promotion and motivation. However, the new performance management system aims to develop an integrated system that relies on precise performance indicators and results and links them with promotion, rewards and incentives,” Shaikh Ahmad bin Atiyatallah Al Khalifa, deputy chairman of the Civil Service Council and minister of cabinet affairs, said.

The decision aims to attract and retain outstanding talent in a sector that has often suffered from competition in a more alluring private sector that recognizes performance and rewards achievers. Other programmes will also be launched as Bahrain embarks on an ambitious overhaul of its civil service.

“Three major programmes related to career development, job placement and providing leadership in the civil service are to be implemented once studies by Bahrain Institute for Public Administration (BIPA) and a major consultancy firm are completed,” Shaikh Ahmad said. “The programmes will make public service in Bahrain more competent and efficient in line with the Bahrain Vision 2030 by ensuring the appointment of qualified senior staff in high ranking positions, and the proper training of distinguished and performing staff in the public sector.”

The minister said that the existing job structure did not allow for linking salaries, incentives and rewards with performance and achievements.

“Employees do not receive financial remuneration for their outstanding performance or achievement of objectives and the structure does not help in adapting to changes warranted by a different work organisation, modern technology or new institutionalized work requirements,” Shaikh Ahmad said. “All these conditions do not help to create a flexible and efficient organizational structure for the civil service and do not help to build an achievement-oriented working environment. They do not support competition and proactive partnerships with the private sector and do not enhance government services.”

The minister said that performance appraisal would be used as an effective and essential tool for managerial decision-making to determine training needs and staff development and identify the skills necessary to place the best staff in the best positions through performance evaluation.

Performance appraisal will also be used for granting rewards and promotions in the new system to ensure the recruitment and retention of skilled Bahrainis in the civil service, he said.

Highly specific criteria will be used to measure the performance of staff, assess their weaknesses and strengths and address shortcomings through training and continuous development programmes.

“The restructuring of the of jobs and wage scale will help attract competent Bahrainis to the public sector, especially in leading positions, where they will be backed up by distinguished prgrammes aimed at boosting employees’ aptitudes and skills and improving performance,” Shaikh Ahmad said. “The public sector will thus become the first choice for job-seekers and the right person will be in the right job as career advancement and rewards will depend on merit and performance and not on seniority.”




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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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