Secretariat for European Affairs (SEA), a partner organization of the USAID’s Organizational Performance Improvement Program (USAID OPIP) (july 2016 - january 2017)
Workshop on motivation measures
As a follow-up to previous activities of identifying measures for intrinsic motivation and preparation of the Catalogue for Motivation Measures (Catalogue), in the midst of July, 2016, OPIP organized a workshop during which the OPIP expert presented several motivation theories, as well as a list of motivation measures included in the Catalogue. The workshop was attended by 12 members of the SEA senior staff, who discussed the strengths and weaknesses of certain motivation measures, as well as the legal grounds for their introduction. Moreover, they developed individual action plans for employee motivation, most often including the following measures: flexible working hours, training of employees, team building and selection of the best employee. The evaluation results showed that all participants improved their knowledge on different kinds of motivation measures. The majority of participants are confident that if implemented, these motivation measures will lead to increased employee motivation.
The participants at the workshop are developing individual motivation action plans
First workshop with SEA Communication Team and subsequent training sessions
On September 5 and 6, 2016 OPIP conducted the first workshop with the SEA Communication Team, during which OPIP experts introduced the adopted process maps and procedures for internal PR communication that will serve as a basis for the Communication Team PR activities. The procedures are part of the PR guidebook, prepared by the OPIP experts, which was distributed to every member of the team. The guidebook contains the basic principles and guidelines for effective internal and external communication, effective relations with the media, event management, as well as instructions for public relations management in times of crisis, with relevant examples. Moreover, in the course of the workshop, OPIP introduced a draft plan for trainings and mentorship with specific roles and responsibilities for each member of the team, as well as the time span for its implementation, agreed with the Communication Team. The developed communication plan contains all foreseen communication activities with SEA in the period from October 2016 to October 2017.
Part of the SEA communication team at the workshop for internal PR communication
From September 12 to September 23, OPIP held a series of trainings, which are part of the trainings and mentorship program of the Communication Team. They focused on the improvement of knowledge and skills of the Communication Team on planning and management of public relations, effective relations with the media and organization of communication events. All trainings contained a theoretical part supported by relevant examples from the SEA field of work, as well as actual PR topics.
In line with the dynamics foreseen with the plan for trainings and mentorship, during October and the first half of November 2016, OPIP held mentorship sessions for the SEA Communication Team. During these sessions, OPIP provided assistance to the Communication Team on the use of the developed PR procedures and tools in their everyday internal and external communication activities. The mentorship focused on the preparation of daily analyses and a project plan, application of communication tools (interview, information for media or for the SEA website, as well as organization of communication events). Under the mentorship of OPIP, the communication team prepared daily media analyses and a PR project plan for a concrete event organized by SEA, using the prepared templates.
By using the procedures for management of communication events, the SEA Communication Team, under the mentorship of OPIP, organized a briefing of the Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs with the editors in chief of several media. By organizing this event, the team had the opportunity to put into practice its newly acquired skills to organize a PR event, providing good communication and coordination with the media, which resulted with a high attendance of editors in chief at the briefing.
Team building workshop
On November 7, 2016, OPIP organized a team building workshop for all SEA employees. The event was opened by Ms. Ana Blazeska, State Secretary, while Mr. Arber Ademi, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs addressed the audience, emphasizing the importance of each staff member for the successful functioning of the institution and the advancement of the country on the path to European integration. During the workshop, the employees were introduced to the various factors and types of stress on the working place, as well as the ways for efficient stress management. Through active participation in three exercises, the participants learned about the importance of effective communication and stress management. Each of the exercises, full of competitive spirit, resulted with winning teams that were awarded a symbolic prize.
Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs
At the end of the event, the SEA staff compiled a list of suggestions for the improvement of the work, both at individual and institutional level. Based on these suggestions, OPIP developed an action plan with measures, which was submitted to the Cabinet of the Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs and the Secretary of State for further review.
Final evaluation workshop
On December 15, 2016, OPIP organized a one day workshop with the SEA senior staff for the evaluation of results from the interventions of OPIP in the field of integrated annual planning, monitoring and evaluation, performance appraisal and employee motivation. The workshop was attended by 17 senior staff representatives: a state advisor, heads and deputy heads of sectors, heads of independent units and heads of units.
Part of the participants on the final evaluation workshop
The workshop focused on the evaluation of the key products from the interventions, the results were discussed and a list of further needs was developed. During the workshop participants were asked to grade the usefulness of each product from the key intervention fields at individual, sectorial and institutional level, from 1 to 4 (1 being the lowest and 4 the highest grade). In addition, the participants graded the practical implementation and the sustainability of the key interventions. The participants graded the monitoring and evaluation system as the most useful intervention with an average grade of 3.53, whereas the system of annual planning ranked second with a grade of 3.38. On the other hand, 92% of the workshop participants graded the system of annual planning as the easiest for implementation, followed by the performance appraisal system which was graded as such by 81%. When it comes to the sustainability of the interventions, 81% of the participants consider that performance appraisal system is the most sustainable intervention followed by the products developed in the frames of the intervention for employee motivation.
Evaluation workshop with the SEA Communication Team
On December 23, 2016, OPIP held a final evaluation workshop with the SEA communication team. The workshop participants evaluated the PR intervention as highly useful in placing strong foundations for setting a system for PR communication on the institutional level. It is first time ever that SEA establishes procedures to regulate the internal and external communication as well as a communication team to implement those procedures.
Although a significant progress was noticed from the evaluation of the team’s skills acquired at the trainings and the mentorship supplied by OPIP, there is still room for further improvement, having in mind the requirements of the specific roles of each member of the team.
Interviews for the final evaluation
The OPIP team conducted four interviews with the SEA staff in order to collect data for the final evaluation on the effectiveness of the OPIP support for SEA. For that purpose, OPIP held separate meetings with the State Secretary, the Head of the Human Resource Unit, the Head of the Unit for Strategic Planning and the Advisor in the Cabinet of the Deputy Prime Minister of European Affairs.
Ms. Ana Blazeska with OPIP on the final evaluation
The respondents expressed their satisfaction with the quality of the implemented interventions, the implemented methodology and the achieved results. The developed process maps and procedures, manuals, guidebooks and catalogues were evaluated as highly informative and useful tools. In addition, the respondents described the OPIP team as highly flexible and detail oriented and very dedicated to the undertaken improvements in SEA.
Survey on managerial skills
During the second half of December, the OPIP team conducted a survey with the SEA staff on their managerial skills. The results from this survey will be compared with the results from the survey which was conducted during the assessment phase, in order to measure the achieved advancement, respectively, the extent of improvement of knowledge and skills of the surveyed SEA employees, as a result of the interventions. The results of the survey will be presented in the final report.
Time management workshop
On January 23, 2017, OPIP organized a workshop on time management. The workshop was attended by 12 employees, including the State Secretary of SEA, Ms. Ana Blazeska. The participants were introduced to useful tools for time management and organization of work duties and were also given practical advice for coping with the external factors which have an unplanned impact and contribute to time waste. The participants looked into various criteria for priority selection and tools for comparing alternative scenarios during the process of priority selection. The participating SEA staff assessed the workshop as highly useful and practical, as it had provided them with concrete tools they can apply in their workplace.
Group work during the workshop