Mayor Edgar Labella needs an excellent HR team
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B Jimenez (The Freeman) - August 3, 2019 - 12:00am

Earlier this week, I was listening to Mayor Edgar Labella's speech as one of the Most Outstanding Visayanians during the University of the Visayas 100th-year anniversary. I liked his four-way life credo: Live, learn, love, and leave a legacy. He knows how to live a balanced life, physical (he jogs and walks each morning), very spiritual (attends church regularly), a family man (he loves his wife, children, and grandchildren), and an outstanding public official (honest, hardworking and never arrogant unlike some trapos we knew). He loves. He learns (he listens to advice, not like one we knew). And he is leaving a legacy of good governance.

And talking of legacy, if he really wants to make a distinct mark of excellent governance, he needs an excellent HR team (preferably led by Vice Mayor Mike Rama) to professionalize the hiring of City Hall personnel and formulate a fair performance management and a motivating rewards system. He should also undertake a continuing career development, training, and KASH (knowledge, attitude, skills, and habits) enhancement program on a long-range and continuing scheme. Good intentions are never enough. Labella's passion and vision should be transformed into workable and practical programs by a team of experts.

The lawyers that Labella appointed are good, honest, and well-intentioned. But they need the support of good, competent, and committed people. Only an excellent HR team can give Labella what I call the HR Diamond comprising of four dimensions: First is professional recruitment of talents who bring competence and dedication, not just political connection. Second, performance should be tracked and measured based on key results areas and key performance indicators. Third, there should be Organizational Justice, meaning rewards and punishment. Fourth, endless training and development. City Hall should be a learning organization where personnel don’t only get paid, but empowered.

If Labella wants to leave a legacy, it’s time to put in place a Cebu City Professional Staff Development Program. The people in City Hall should be taught the latest knowledge in public administration and LGU governance, the art and science of delivering services that enable people to grow and ennoble their lives. City Hall staff should start imbibing the attitudes of client- and people-orientation, service above self, courtesy and humility, kindness and helpfulness, a sense of urgency and the value of time, honesty, hard work and devotion. They should also enhance their skills in technology, documentation, communication, and relationships. They should learn the seven habits of an effective public servant.

Labella can tap friends who don’t need money to motivate them, to help him put in place a real, honest-to-goodness HR team to make his legacy the best for him to be proud of, and for Cebuanos to benefit from. Labella has a lot of friends not just in Cebu, he just needs to call them and they will come running. Many people want Labella to become the best mayor Cebu City ever had, only if he, the mayor, wants to.

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