Reviews key to NSA improvement
As the guardians tasked with producing and disseminating relevant, quality and timely statistics, the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) each year draws up an annual plan which builds on the strategic targets they want to achieve. It also sets the objectives on the way to fulfill their mandate. In a concerted effort to achieve these plans, the agency conducts internal quarterly reviews that track the dedication and progress of its staff in the various departments running under the umbrella of the broader statistics agency.
The Economist caught up with Namibia Statistics Agency’s Deputy Director, Human Resources, Rosalia Haufiku to find out more about the internal quarterly review and its function in their bid to produce transparent and accurate statistics. Haufiku said, “At NSA we have an annual plan we conduct every year. Through this plan we focus on what we want to achieve for the upcoming year. It is through this that we set our objectives to make sure we achieve and trace the progress of our achievement and where we are going wrong. We then take it from there. This can only be done through the participation of the staff members.” “Each department at the end of the quarter does a presentation to a panel of judges to show their progress how far they have gone and what they have achieved and this is basically what the internal quarterly review is all about,” she added. The quarterly review is participated in by each staff member from the five departments at the agency. Reviews basically start off at the departmental level then move to the head of department before being presented to the final level which is the board. To avoid bias in the review process, external judges are usually present at the quarterly reviews and will judge the different departments based on the information presented at the review. As for the judging criteria, Haufiku said “we often look at the targets and achievement within the departments. Our targets are based on our strategic policies, so we look at how far are the employees with projects and achieving the strategies. Values are also important to us as we also judge values and team work as well as creativity in executing the tasks,” she elaborated. After the review process, Haufiku said the findings of the review board serves as feedback to the departments. “The feedback information will focus on the areas that need attention and improvement and solutions will be tailor-made to rectify the issues in the different departments,” she said. “Again the feedback will be shared with the employees and we actually reward those departments that have performed above expectations,” she added. Haufiku noted that as with other reviews, challenges are also visible. She said that for starters getting everyone involved always poses a problem, as usually the staff members will have other daily duties to perform. “Despite that, staff members, upon realising that it improves their performance, are now always eager to participate and there has been an increase in staff morale as they work as a team to rectify their flaws,” she said. In terms of their method of reviewing, Haufiku said the NSA focuses on the Medlin model which they feel fits with their environment as it starts from their strategic plan and through various stages will end up at the evaluation stage were they would be able to measure and rectify the problems and improve on the results. Haifuke said the process of reviewing has helped them to achieve most of their goals as it helps them a lot in identifying and rectifying problems and to improve operations. For the NSA as a whole, the reviews are important due to the participation of the staff which in turn, improves productivity. The continued development of the NSA employees ensures unbiased statistics in the long run.