I warmly welcome all my fellow and highly esteemed civil servants to another session of our webinar series which the Office of the Head of Service initiated in April with the aim of sustaining close interaction with everyone of you and ensuring your maximum participation in the programmes and activities of government in view of the need to observe physical distancing to curtail the spread of COVID-19. However, I trust that God Almighty will continue to keep us safe and see us through.

2.   I also seize this opportunity to douse any form of anxiety harbored by our teeming officers on Grade Levels 13 and below who are compelled to stay at home via our June 1st, 2020 circular. It is important to let you know that the decision is only to further protect our most valued assets by ensuring that we do everything possible to ensure your safety particularly at this time. It is therefore hoped that within the earliest possible time you will be able to physically join your senior colleagues at work.

3.   Having said this, it would be stating the obvious to state that the times we find ourselves have presented unique challenges and a demand to live up to a new dimension of civil service effectiveness that can promote quick economic recovery not just in view of the present pandemic but most importantly in the midst of this and any future crisis.

4.   Therefore we thought it wise to begin to set the stage for the rapid transformation of the way we work and to fast track the timely implementation of all deliverables in line with our desire to build a new vision.

5.   This among other objectives is what informed our decision to host a webinar on Culture Change Management with you all- the drivers of national development. It is envisioned that a change in behaviour from a bureaucratic to an entrepreneurial result-oriented and innovative Civil Service among other goals is central “to achieving a culture of change across the Civil Service.

6.   Of course this is also hinged on a number of strategic initiatives which include emphasizing increased employee productivity, improving Customer-client relationship and improving altitude to work.

7.   It would be recalled that the Office of the Head of Service in 2018 conducted a service-wide organizational Culture Diagnostic Survey (CDS). Over 5,800 employees completed the survey which was administered via Survey Monkey. The personal characteristics of the respondents included gender, age, educational qualifications, grade level and length of service.

8.   The Culture Diagnostic Survey sought to analyze and understand the baseline behaviour of civil servant as well as the current culture in the Service which is critical to the successful implementation of the other priority initiatives.

9.   Furthermore, the Survey assessed seven dimensions of employee attitudes, behavior, mindsets, and perceptions of the Federal Civil Service as an organization. The seven dimensions were:

        i.    organizational identity and orientation (i.e., organization purpose and motivation);

      ii.    structured processes and institutionalization;

    iii.    organization of work;

   iv.    management practice and leadership style;

     v.    task identification (i.e., job significance and job content);

   vi.    work environment factors and resourcing; and

 vii.    human resource practices.

10. I wish to inform that a good number of you offered several brilliant and valid suggestions for the improvement. Some of these include but not limited to:

  • Providing adequate and fair remuneration and welfare packages of workers in the core civil service and parastatals;

  • using adequate remuneration to combat corruption and enhance job commitment;

  • providing transportation and housing assistance to employees, especially those living in Abuja where rent is expensive; and implementing timely payment of pensions to retired employees;

  • providing training and capacity building, including technical training (and retraining) for all staff in their areas of specialization or job assignment;
  • re-orientation of all employees on work ethics, core values, and extant rules by encouraging superior-subordinate mentorship to enhance continuity;

Other areas to be considered are:

  • Eradicating or reducing corruption by enforcing due processes;
  • Practicing professionalism by discouraging absenteeism and practicing punctuality, and timely responsiveness to work;
  • Instituting a merit-based recruitment, promotion, and reward system to encourage productivity and hard work and discourage laziness and indifference among employees;
  • Providing employees with the tools as well as conducive and enabling environment needed for their work;
  • Adopting and practice a true federalism that eschews bigotry, religious sentiments, nepotism, partiality, favoritism, gender-bias, tribalism, god-fatherism, intimidation, and victimization;
  • Practicing honesty, openness, and transparency; and
  • Practice leadership by example
  • Among others

11. I would like to assure that everyone of your suggestions for Improving the Current Culture of the Service is carefully being considered and as much as possible will be factored into our strategic planning.

12. However, in the Culture Diagnostic Survey Report for The Federal Civil Service of Nigeria 2019 following the successful conduct of the CDS, it is pertinent to point out that drivers of efficiency such as Being Adaptive to Change;
Cost-Consciousness; Collaboration; Innovation; Time Consciousness; and Optimal Use of Resources received lower scores than the inhibitors of efficiency. Hence, we will be placing a lot of emphasis on enhancing efficiency and and reducing the inhibitors of efficiency.

13. Under lockdown, we have seen people living even more digitally. Hence, it is instructive to note that citizens will emerge, post-COVID-19 expecting better and faster digital services.

14. Going forward, the Public Service must proactively put in place structures & mechanism to digitize administrative processes to ensure
improved and seamless running of government business.

15. The Office of the Head of Service of the Federation is working with stakeholders to develop policy and guidelines on remote working and digitization of some processes in the service which include:

  • Establishment processes
  • Recruitment processes
  • Learning and Development processes
  • Payroll processes
  • Employee management processes
  • Etc

16. Public servants must therefore prepare themselves for the new workplace that will emerge post COVID-19. This is why Change Management Webinars as we are hosting today are of essence to prepare us all and ease the transition to a more digitized workplace.

17. In concluding, the current situation is an opportunity for public servants to think outside the box, develop new policies and improve on our overall attitude to work in a manner that will
mitigate the effect of challenges posed by crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic has presented.

18. I thank you all once again for your attendance and God bless.