December 30
07:55 2020


Barrister Mrs. RoseMary Archibong is the Commissioner for Information and Orientation in Cross River State. An attorney, health administrator, botanist, creative writer, broadcaster, television producer, and a pastor in the market place, Mrs. Archibong straddles the corporate, public sector, and the NGO community having began her career as an executive in UAC Group, then joined the federal service as a health administrator rising to become the Director of Administration in the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital; and on retirement, founded the So Healthy, an NGO that intervenes in public health.


oth public and Private Sector Human Resource Management focuses on the utilization of people in a defined organization to meet strategic objectives of the organization within the confines of employer – employee relationship.

However while the private sector is aimed at maximizing profit, the public sector is concerned with delivery of goods and services to the communities. This essay shall touch on the challenges and emerging trends in Human Resource approaches.


The Human Resource Management (HRM) had received less attention in the public service despite the pivotal role played by the human capital in delivering the needed services and goods which directly impacts national development, public safety and social cohesion. These services range from infrastructural development like roads, public transportation, bridges as well as direct human impact services like health care, education, immigration issues, gender related issues and other critical areas.

The services are anchored on public interest and so must be driven by intelligent, strong, efficient, proactive public sector employees.

Our society is getting more and more knowledgeable about their rights to quality and timely service. Meeting this expectation is a major challenge that calls for higher level of commitment by employees, a paradigm shift from just the lethargic response of sustaining traditional productivity to innovative, collaborative and well planned deliverables.

The perception of Human Resource by the public as “Those people who do things to us” must be replaced by “those people who do things for us”. It is in the light of this that the Federal Government of Nigeria introduced the SERVICE COMPACT WITH ALL NIGERIANS POLICY (SERVICOM) which is adopted in all states of the Federation.

SERVICOM is a compact that states “we dedicate ourselves to providing the basic services to which each citizen is entitled in a timely, fair, honest, effective and transparent manner”. It is a compact to ensure that customers receive services from MDAs with respect and courtesy, fairly, efficiently and promptly.

The role of the Human Resource Managers in ensuring effective service delivery is therefore critical since the development of policies, programs, plans, co-ordination of other operating units; recruitment and training of personnel are core functions of the Human Resource Managers. One major challenge facing employees in contemporary times is the severe cost cutting strategies occasioned by global economic downturn. This has caused large reductions in government budgets resulting in severe job losses, irregular or nonpayment of salaries, withholding of employee welfare benefits and so on.

Consequentially, anxieties are raised, public sector employees become more stressful and health problems increase. The arrival of electronic intelligence is a major competitor with the workforce. Many Human Resource practitioners in the Public Sector remain unprepared and unwilling to adapt to this global phenomenon.

The HR Managers must necessarily evolve not only continuous general development and training programs but prescriptive and leadership training programs that identify and enhance specific skills as well as raise leaders that would directly influence their teams.


Cross River State is endowed with a very proud crop of people in the Public Service. Indeed before the advent of the 1999 Democratic dispensation that ushered in the industrialization agenda by Governor Donald Duke, our State was generally referred to as “the Civil Service State”. The State therefore is characteristically blessed by fathers of the Service whose legacies have continued to define the capacity of the Civil Service and its employees. However, the stoic reliance on Traditional Rules and Regulations must be fixed with new innovative core values and practices.

Human Resource core values that have been effectively practiced in contemporary times and identified by practitioners include:

  1. a) Responsiveness to the Public Will
  2. b) Social equity
  3. c) Ethically based organizational culture
  4. d) Skills-based competency especially during recruitment
  5. e) Mission driven focus
  6. f) Adaptability to positive change.

These should be impressed on workers regularly especially during post recruitment orientation programs.

HR Managers should ensure full understanding and ownership of the Vision and Mission Statements of their Public Organizations. In Cross River State, where the present administration led by Senator Professor Ben Ayade is further deepening and expanding the industrialization hub of the State, the Public Sector work force must sharpen its proactively and knowledge base extensively in order to efficiently cope with the expanding responsibilities and influx of different cultures that come with international investors.

The improvement of institutional governance and public accountability lie in a strong, honest and transparent work force. In furtherance of this the Federal Government of Nigeria’s whistle blowing policy is a welcome panacea especially in the public sector workforce.

Like some researcher said, it is time to focus on service with “eye to service” rather than mere “compliance with the organization”.

It is also expedient to remove leadership bottle necks which are naturally at the top as identified by Peter Drucker who posited that the”neck of the bottle is at the top of the bottle”.


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December 2020