Essays: Civil Service Reform

A New Data-Driven, Market-Based Compensation Philosophy and Salary Structure for Competitive, Fair, and Equitable Salaries in the Government of Puerto Rico"

Date: March 27, 2023

In February, a new uniform salary structure was implemented which establishes the base salary for employees working in central government agencies. Since the implementation of the central government’s new salary structure and uniform job classification system in the first quarter of 2023, there have been many questions from employees, legislators, and the general public about the new uniform classification and compensation system and the Civil Service Reform.

In the interest of providing transparency about this important change in the administration of human resources in the Government of Puerto Rico, the Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB) for Puerto Rico decided to publish this essay (link to essay) that provides details of the new salary structure, the employed methodology, the sources of data that were used, and how the salary of each of employee was determined.

For more than 40 years, the Government of Puerto Rico has relied on outdated salary structures, with some dating back to the 1990s, and compensation practices that do not conform to leading market practices. As part of the Civil Service Reform that the Financial Oversight and Administration Board is implementing with the Government of Puerto Rico, it was decided to review salary structures and practices to guarantee that the government has compensation models based on market data that lead to competitive, fair, and fiscally responsible salaries which promote greater motivation, commitment, and retention of employees.

System for Employee Evaluation for Professional Development
(SEE-PRO):

Date: November 2, 2022
An Innovative Competency-based Evaluation Framework to Catalyze the Professional Development of All Levels of the Public Service

FOMB’s Research and Policy Department, as a matter of transparency and to keep all stakeholders informed, is publishing a series of essays on the methods and approaches employed, and the progress and latest developments of the Civil Service Reform (CSR) and its strategic components, which started with a pilot in the Department of the Treasury (Hacienda) and the Office of Management and Budget (OGP, by its Spanish acronym).

This third volume on the Civil Service Reform presents the new System for Employee Evaluation for Professional Development (SEE-PRO), geared towards skill development and the nurturing of strong employee-supervisor relationships, that was developed and implemented as part of the CSR Pilot in Hacienda and OGP. The essay covers the following topics:

  • Introductory section on the importance of employee evaluations and meaningful conversations between employees and their supervisors to cultivate engaged, skilled, and fulfilled employees, highlighting the role this critical management function has within the Civil Service Reform and its objectives.
  • Latest trends in employee evaluations and performance management across sectors, underscoring the shift from traditional performance management appraisals, to more modern, forward-looking development and professional growth focused employee and supervisor reviews, characterized by continuous feedback, mentoring, and meaningful conversations.
  • Key insights and data obtained through the organizational scan, workforce analysis, and competency assessment in Hacienda and OGP as part of the Civil Service Reform Pilot, that ultimately led to the decision of adopting a skill- and competency-based evaluation system rather than one focused on performance and productivity.
  • Methodology used to develop the Competency Framework, composed of core competencies that all employees of the Government of Puerto Rico should have and continue to develop, technical competencies specifically related to the job class, and leadership competencies for those in supervisory roles.
  • Overview of the step-by-step process of the employee evaluation cycle consisting of an initial orientation of the new employee evaluation system, self- and supervisor-assessments to gauge skill proficiency, analysis and visualization of agency-, area-, and employee-level skill assessments, training and implementation of meaningful conversations, agency-level strategic human capital planning, and individualized professional development planning, leveraging tailored online learning opportunities to meet target proficiency levels.
  • Change management activities and resources that were developed and implemented prior to the launching of the new competency-based evaluation system to involve, support, and effectively communicate with employees, supervisors, and other stakeholders the approach that was taken, key short-term and more long-term goals, and how to effectively engage with the new process.
  • Importance of structured, meaningful conversations between supervisors and their employees, as well as of more informal, regular constructive feedback loops, to strengthen employee-supervisor relationships and team cohesion.

The benefits and value-added the new, development-focused employee evaluation system can produce for employees, supervisors, agency leadership, and the whole of government.

Transforming Recruitment in the Government of Puerto Rico

Date: July 20, 2022
FOMB’s Research and Policy Department is publishing a series of essays on the methods, approaches employed and latest developments of the Civil Service Reform and its strategic components, which started with a pilot in the Department of the Treasury (Hacienda) and the Office of Management and Budget (OGP, by its Spanish acronym).   This second volume on the Civil Service Reform and its strategic components focuses on the following recruitment-related topics:  
  • Importance of getting recruitment right and providing a streamlined candidate experience to attract top talent, particularly in the context of a tight labor market where private sector entities are competing fiercely for the best candidates
  • The relationship of recruitment with the other strategic components of the Civil Service Reform, highlighting the importance of organizational design and strategic workforce planning prior to developing job specifications for a job announcement to optimize recruitment outcomes
  • Thorough review of the current-state recruitment process, focusing on identifying specific areas of opportunity to improve the experience of candidates and government agency HR recruiting and hiring teams for better recruitment outcomes
  • Future-state recruitment process:
    • Phase 1, designed and implemented as part of the Civil Service Reform Pilot
    • Phase 2, to be designed and implemented as part of the governmentwide Civil Service Reform
  • The importance of designing and launching an employer brand and recruitment campaign to communicate to potential applicants the government’s employee value proposition (EVP) in a clear and unambiguous manner, to inspire, engage, and attract top talent generally, and for the new innovative positions in the Department of Treasury (Hacienda) and the Office of Management and Budget (OGP, by its Spanish acronym).
  A first essay was published in April 2022 with a focus on:
  • Chronicle of the reform, from the initial stage of investigation and diagnosis to the recommendation, design, and implementation of the pilot plan of the reform and the planning for a broader implementation
  • Restructuring and modernizing the organizational structures of the agencies of the Government of Puerto Rico
  • Compensation benchmarking methodology to ensure competitive, fair, and justified salaries in the government.
  The importance of getting recruitment right in the Government of Puerto Rico, in this historical juncture, cannot be overstated. To equip the civil service with the talent needed to continue implementing the financial management and structural reforms to better serve the people of Puerto Rico, a transparent, candidate-centric, tech-enabled, and merit-based recruitment process is fundamental.

Methods And Practices

Date: April 28, 2022
The Government of Puerto Rico and Oversight Board are working on a Civil Service Reform to build a more efficient, effective, and accountable government and creating an improved work experience for public sector employees. The reform program focuses on four strategic components: organizational design, compensation, recruitment, and employee evaluation. The first essay focuses on three main topics:
  1. Chronicle of the reform, from the initial stage of investigation and diagnosis to the recommendation, design, and implementation of the pilot plan of the reform and the planning for a broader implementation
  2. Restructuring and modernizing the organizational structures of the agencies of the Government of Puerto Rico
  3. Compensation benchmarking methodology to ensure competitive, fair, and justified salaries in the government
The objective is to implement the four components of the Civil Service Reform, beginning with the  new organizational structures and salary adjustments for the employees who were part of the Pilot. The next step of the reform will focus on implementing a new recruitment  process and a new employee evaluation system that supports career development.
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