Chapter 2 describes how the countries of the MENA region are moving from traditional personnel management systems that were weakly professionalised and routine-driven towards integrated human resources management strategies using performance-based tools. To support this change, most of the MENA countries have also revised their civil service legal framework in the past few years or are in the process of doing so. The public administration is still seen as the employer of first and last resort, particularly in countries struggling to find jobs for young market entrants. At the same time, MENA governments favour private sector growth and are thus shaping new HRM rules to favour private sector job creation so as to reduce reliance on the government as the major employer.
Reform efforts are mainly driven by a desire to build more sustainable and responsive public workforce policies by: i) increasing government capacity for strategic HR management and workforce planning, anticipating labour force changes and ensuring that capacities remain in place; ii) strengthening performance-oriented policies and processes to reflect individualised HR practices and to move away from regulation-based procedures; and iii) increasing the flexibility of HRM processes and frameworks. To llustrate these efforts, four cases studies are presented in Chapter 2.
In Bahrain, business process transformation, new outputs and fluctuating demand are constantly changing the skills and competencies required by public sector staff. This is why a competency-based model has been adopted. It aims to enhance organisational performance by matching competencies to agency needs, to strengthen workforce planning arrangements and to make the public workforce more responsive. In Egypt, significant improvements to capacity management have been accomplished by progressively delegating the HR decision-making process to ministries and local administrations, restructuring job classifications, creating new capacity-building institutions, and adjusting tools to improve workforce planning, including a staff database. In Morocco, the government has built an integrated workforce planning system in order to reprofile the public workforce based on a new job classification, systematic updating of post descriptions within each ministry, and aligning capacity with technological change and new civil service missions. In Tunisia, an innovative approach has put consultation with employees and other stakeholders at the centre of the reform process, leading to more rapid progress on fundamental civil service reforms and reflecting best practice from OECD countries on managing change.