Recognition and rewards cannot be the sole reasons for performing well, says Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
Noting that people should not be “compromised by negative attitudes and poor performance”, he added that “public officers must understand that without their sterling contribution, the country cannot function effectively and cannot continue to develop”.
He stressed that “within the employment relationship poor attitudes and poor behaviour impact negatively on the productivity of employees in all workplaces and place strain on employer/employee relationships”.
“The survey carried out by the National Initiative for Service Excellence last year indicated that this is a national problem and not one that affects the public sector only. Poor attitudes and behaviour in the work place also impact negatively on a public which either uses or purchases our goods and services.
“The globalised environment in which we all work and live, demands a high level of service from all of us in whatever sphere we find ourselves,” said Stuart, who was delivering the feature address at the fifth annual GIVE awards programme last night at Hilton Barbados.
He noted that initiatives such as the GIVE programme did not only recognise and reward excellence, but also motivated people.
“Public sector agencies perform an important and essential role in our society. It is through their activities that we can offer the range of social and regulatory services, laws and developmental programmes which we now have in place, and which permit Barbadian citizens, investors and organisations to function effectively.
“Barbados possesses very limited natural resources and is a small island, developing, open economy. It is, however, blessed with an endowment of high quality human resources. This, among other factors, has led to the development of a very strong service economy with the international business, financial services and tourism sectors emerging as major contributors to our economy,” Stuart added.
The Prime Minister, under whose portfolio the Ministry of Civil Service falls, acknowledged that the GIVE programme concentrated on a number of principles that sought to encourage high professional standards in the workplace.
“These standards include attitude, punctuality, integrity, appearance, performance, communication and customer service — all necessary components of an efficient, effective public service. As a result of these standards, the ministry has developed eight criteria which are applied to the assessment and nomination process for the awards. I wish to highlight two of the eight criteria, namely punctuality and cooperation.
“Punctuality as a concept still seems to pose challenges for far too many persons. It does not refer only to being early, or to being governed by the clock, but must be extended to the timely and expeditious delivery of services.
“Similarly, the word cooperation connotes and denotes working together. It does not refer only to working with our colleagues within our organisations, but also with our external clients. It refers also to partnership with our stakeholders.
“Individuals who uphold these two principles tend to be those who endeavor to provide efficient and effective customer service, who seek to ensure that their work is of a consistently high quality and who demonstrate respect for their colleagues and supervisors at all times.
“These public officers emulate the words of philosopher Khalil Gibran who, in his seminal work The Prophet, states that ‘You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give…’. While we speak about giving, however, it is as important also to think about receiving, for those who give – human as they are – have needs as well,” Stuart said.
GIVE is an acronym for Great attitudes, Initiative, Values and Excellence.
The GIVE Awards ceremony recognises public officers who have been selected by their peers, supervisors and managers to receive an award. It is administered by the Ministry of Labour, Social Security, and Human Resource Development. (DS)