The Prime Minister has revealed that the government has asked the 4th Pay Commission to come up with a performance based pay hike system where pay will be determined by performance.
This move, if well planned and implemented, can be revolutionary in terms of reforming the civil service.
It has long been discussed and talked about in newspapers and among the people as the only way to make civil servants accountable.
However, the government will have to watch out for a few things. The first challenge will be an enormous push back from the civil servants who will not be comfortable with change and this new level of accountability.
Here, the government should push forward, anyway, as the greater good is being achieved.
The second issue is that the government must have an important and reliable system to measure performance and then monetize that in an efficient, doable and transparent manner.
This may be the biggest challenge for instituting performance linked pay.
One tool that the government can already rely on or use is the individual performance assessment in the civil service that is linked to the larger targets of the agency.
However, this system while it is okay at a broad and basic level, needs to be honed further and improved.
A good start can be made by denying poor performers certain incentives while giving additional incentives to the ones doing very well. As the system improves there can be more division of performance and pay can be linked in a better way to it.
Bhutan’s public servants consume a sizeable chunk of government resources, and the efficacy of the entire system depends upon them.
It is high time that our civil and public servants are made more accountable by giving them the pay that they deserve, based on their work.
This is not really a radical concept as the private sector is already following it.
“Don’t mistake activity with achievement.”