Thursday, June 2, 2005

Human resource excellence at NEDA Region I

Business Times
Thursday, June 2, 2005

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Human resource excellence at NEDA Region I

Successful entrepreneurs look at unexpected places for benchmarks. They present new and additional exemplary practices.

How many of you have something positive to say about the service and your perceived outputs of our government offices? What, no hands? How many have nothing to say (Following the dictum: If you have nothing good to say, keep quiet). Everybody, please put down your hands (and feet) now.

Let me give you a very pleasant surprise today. The Philippine Quality Award has recently recognized the National Economic and Development Authority Region I (NEDA I) for Commitment to Quality Management!

Marikina City received the award in 1998-99 and Makati City in 2000.

NEDA is the Philippines’ social and economic development planning and policy coordinating body and serves as the technical arm of the NEDA Board. NEDA I, based in San Fernando, La Union, is one of the regional arms of the NEDA Central Office. As such it serves as the technical and administrative arm of the Regional Development Council of RDCI, a regional counterpart of the NEDA Board.

As a regional development planning coordinator, NEDA I produces plans (social, economic, physical), programs and projects, investment/budget proposals, and studies (policy, project feasibility). It also provide technical assistance to partners/stakeholders in development through broad consultation, stakeholder participation and even cost-sharing.

Besides from PQA, NEDA I has consistently received awards, citations, plaques and certificates of appreciation from various clientele groups, e.g. local government nnits, national level project offices, nongovernmental organizations, GOCCs and others. It’s been recognized by the NEDA Central Office for outstanding performance five times.

NEDA I Director Leonardo N. Quitos, Jr., is himself a recipient of multiple awards. Among them are: Civil Service Commission Pag-asa Awardee 2004, Outstanding NEDA Director (several years) from NEDA-CO, Outstanding Alumni of Saint Louis University 2000 and various citations from client groups.

Since its early beginnings in the 1970s, NEDA I has not been remiss in the pursuit of its mandate. In fact, it has always been earnest to improve although the improvements have never been as broad, deliberate and systematic until recently. All these efforts to improve its service delivery and quality of products and services have been paying dividends.

Through the years its various divisions and project teams continue, on the average, to register 100 percent or higher performance. It provides services even under tight budgetary constraints. Feedback from its clients on its performance and client expectations and need assessment show a high extent of usefulness of NEDA I’s assistance and satisfaction of NEDA I’s performance.

As a planning and research agency, it is problem-oriented, addressing not only long-term but also immediate issues and concerns of development. It maintains a professional staff of various disciplines, and oriented/trained in coordination work. It responds to various clientele spanning national, regional, and local groups. It maintains a fluid, flexible structure (matrix system) to respond to various clientele needs and opportunities

NEDA I believes in management guru Peter Drucker’s assertion that its human resource is its only productive resource. Its semestral performance evaluation system show increasing productivity and motivation of its people that explains their more than 100 percent accomplishments against pre-set targets. Its one best practice is its human resource focus enabling them to improve and grow its human resources.

To ensure it gets the best and the brightest, it uses a stringent hiring process (NEDA Technical Exam and Assessment Center) and a deliberate promotion and succession processes.

A regular employee survey reveals satisfaction with the intellectual, emotional and even spiritual factors in quality of their worklife, but a dissatisfaction with low financial remuneration. Primary reason for this is their extensive talent development and management program that covers the whole dimension aspects of being human, not only NEDA-related technical skills needs.

NEDA I has clearly delineated roles/functions of various organizational units and distributed tasks and activities to different staff based on three major factors: functions, the Major Final Output (MFO) or Key Result Areas (KRA) and clientele needs as reflected in the Integrated Area Development Approach. To optimize their manpower, they use the same pool of staff using the matrix structure.

It offers a package of incentives, monitory and non-monetary awards and benefits, not really different from the rest of the bureaucracy. As a motivator, it gives additional incentives to deserving employees in the form of citations and modest cash awards on certain award categories.

(Moje is president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corporation. For feedback, please email her at

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