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The establishment of Delta State Civil Service (DSCS) dates back to 27th August 1991 when the state was created from the defunct Bendel State of Nigeria by the then military government of General Ibrahim Babangida (DSG, 2006, August 17). DSCS is saddled with the responsibility of implementing the policies of the state government in the area of infrastructural development and social service delivery. The civil service has a total workforce of 11,456 and this number is made up of 4,786 junior staff on salary grade level 01 - 06 and 6,670 senior staff on salary grade level 07 - 17 (interview, 2006).
Delta State is one of the 36 states that makes-up the Nigerian Federation, with a total population of 4,098,391 million people (NPC, 2007). Due to its difficult geographical terrain, the state was relatively less developed compared to other states of the federation at creation. This situation in 1991 placed enormous task on the newly created state civil service (SCS) in the area of infrastructural development and social service delivery (DSG, 2006, August 17).
In terms of natural endowment, Delta State is blessed with agricultural and natural resources like: rubber, timber, cassava and crude oil. For instance, in addition to agricultural produce from the state, official records showed that the state harboured 83 of Nigeria's 159 oil fields that contributed an average of 25 percent crude oil production to the total national crude oil capacity of Nigeria between 1999 and 2004 (DSG, 2006, August 17). The crude oil production from Delta state alone between 1999 and 2004 was 1.178 billion barrels. This amount yielded part of the total Nigeria's oil revenue of $37.6 billion or NGN 5.2 trillion (DSG, 2006, August 17).
To achieve the developmental goals of the government, the SCS requires enhanced financial support from the government in addition to capable workforce. Over the years DSG is faced with the challenge of improper implementation of its policies. One of the major problems is shortage of competent staff and the inability of the SCS to retain available ones for enhanced performance. Studies have shown that human resource is the most valuable asset for the achievement of organizational goals whether in public or private sector, and no well intentioned policies of any organization could bring about the realization of its goals of enhanced development without capable workforce (Mukoro, 2007; Osamwonyi and Ugiagbe, 2005; Ejiorfor and Mbachu, 2001). Therefore, for any organization to have in its employment the required capable workforce needed to achieve its goals, appropriate policies on recruitment and retention of staff is a sine-qua-non.
The objectives that informed this study therefore have to do with the unique role under-taken by competent workforce and the strategies put in place to retain them for the realization of the goals of government. In so far as competent workforce is necessary for organizational performance, there is the need to identify and examine how best to recruit and retain them for the achievement of organizational goals. Specifically, the study examines present policies of DSCS on staff recruitment and retention, and how these policies have enhanced or hindered the realization of the goals of government.
To achieve the objectives of this study the following hypotheses stated in research form were tested:
Hr1: There is a significant relationship between the views of respondents on annual income of NGN 500,000 and below, and those on annual income of NGN 501,000 and above about staff recruitment policies and performance in Delta State Civil Service of Nigeria.
Hr2: : There is a significant relationship between the views of respondents in terms of their job status - senior and junior staff, about the policies on staff retention and performance in DSCS.
Scope of Study
The scope of this study is defined in terms of sector - public and time-frame (1999 - 2005). The justification for Delta State in this study is based on the fact that it is among the nine and highest crude oil producing states in Nigeria and received the highest revenue allocation from the federation account to the tune of NGN 387.4 billion between 1999 and 2005 (Sobowale, 2006 August 6). .
Significance of the Study
The significance of this study lies in the fact that it will help to educate personnel practitioners in the public sector about the need to give consideration to staff recruitment policy in line with current practice in the private sector, which focuses on merit. Furthermore, it will enable public sector managers appreciate the importance of the provision of appropriate staff retention strategies capable of motivating and retaining competent workforce for performance.
Concept of Policy, Strategy and Performance
Egonmwan (1991) posit that the concept of policy focuses attention on what is actually done as against what is intended. This view is however shortsighted because the intention not to do or do something in a particular way and time could be a policy of an organization depending on the situation that may have informed it. An organization may adopt a policy on staff recruitment based on merit alone or in addition to other criteria in order to achieve equal representation of people from different part of the society. This is likely to guarantee political stability in a multiethnic society.
Ikelegbe (2006) sees a policy as actions taken and actions not taken by organizations. It refers to a statement of what an organization wants to do, what it is doing, what it is not doing and what would not be done, which could be in the area of staff acquisition and utilization. For any organization to have in its employment competent staff to achieve its goals, it would be necessary to decide on the best strategies as regard where and how to go about recruiting and the retention of its workforce for enhanced performance.
According to Johnson, Scholes and Whittington (2006), strategy is the direction and scope of an organization over the long term, which achieves advantage in a changing environment through its configuration of resources and competences with the aim of fulfilling stakeholder expectations. The above definitions show the importance of strategy to the realization of the goals of organizations. This implies that no organization is likely to achieve its goals of enhanced performance without a workable strategy for the employment and retention of competent workforce for performance.
Performance is a vital concept in an organization. According to Boyne, Farrell, Law, Powell and Walker (2003), information on performance is very important to management of any organization. It helps management to ascertain whether their organizations are improving, deteriorating or stagnant, this is with a view to improving on its services for the enhancement of its survival and growth. In this study, performance is judged in DSCS by the infrastructural development carried out for the enhancement of the living standard of the people. Performance is conceptualized by the formula (Boyne et al, 2003):
Goal Accomplished (Output)
Efficiency = Public Welfare or Capital and Labour (Input)
Policy on Staff Recruitment and Organizational Performance
According to Decenzo and Robbins (2007), staff recruitment is the process of discovering potential candidates for actual or anticipated organizational vacancies. They argue that the more applications received by the personnel department from potential candidates during recruitment exercise, the better the recruiter's chances of finding individuals best suited to perform the required job in the organization. Studies have established a relationship between policy on staff recruitment and organizational performance (Ofoegbu, 1985; McOliver, 2005).
Ofoegbu (1985) in his work, reports that for an organization to achieve its goals of enhanced performance, it must find the right kind of personnel and manage them properly. He points out that in Nigeria's public sector, there is a clash between the pressure for reflecting equal representation of all sections in recruitment and the pressure for sole reliance on merit. The work argues that since emphasis is more on equal representation from all sections of society as basis for recruitment into the public service in Nigeria, performance is affected negatively. He concludes that for the interest of efficiency, effective personnel management and performance, merit should dominate the choice of recruitment criteria. This implies that the more qualitative a workforce in terms of proper educational qualifications, skills and experience, the more enhanced performance the organization is likely to achieve.
Strategy of Staff Retention and Performance
According to Gberevbie (2008), staff retention strategies refer to means, plans or sets of decision-making behaviour put in place by organizations whether in public or private sector to retain their competent workforce for enhanced performance. Researchers have established a relationship between job satisfaction, employee retention and organizational performance. This means that the more satisfied employees are with their job, the less the rate of labour turnover in an organization (Gerhart and Trevor, 1996; Taplin, Winterton and Winterton, 2003). However, the traditional staff retention strategies such as coercion, fear, intimidation and blackmail by organizations have been criticized as detrimental to staff retention in organizations. While it may not matter much in a depressed economy where unemployment is high, it may however become a concern as a source of frequent labour turnover in the long-run (Ayagi, 2001).
Studies have shown that organizations retain their workforce for performance by providing incentives such as bonus and profit sharing to induce high performance of organizational workforce and these helps to retain competent employees, which reduces labour turnover for enhanced organizational performance (Gerhart and Trevor, 1996). According to Jarez-Gomez, Cepedes-Lorente and Valle-Cabrera (2005), in a bid for organizations to retain their workforce for performance, "organizations use compensation policy to attract, retain and motivate the best personnel, thus encouraging behaviours most beneficial to their aims"
The study is based on a sample size of 120 respondents. The study adopted the systematic random sampling technique. The justification for this technique is based on the fact that it enables every subject in the sampling frame to have equal opportunity to be selected without bias in a systematic manner (Ogbeide, 1997). The sampling frame was drawn from a staff list of 132 senior staff of grade level 06-17, and 70 junior staff of grade level 01 - 05 in the Delta State Civil Service Commission, while the interview is made-up of 25 senior staff from the Office of the Head of Service of DSCS. The justification for these categories of staff is based on the fact that they implement the personnel policies of the state civil service (interview, 2006).
Techniques for Data Collection
The study adopts the five-point Likert-style rating scale method of questionnaire to elicit information from the respondents. The Likert-style rating scale design helps researchers to ask respondents on how strongly they agree or disagree with a statement or series of statements on a five point scale, e.g. 5 - Strongly Agree, 4 - Agree, 3 - Undecided, 2 - Disagree, 1 - Strongly Disagree.
Furthermore, structured interview on staff recruitment, retention policies and performance was carried out with 25 senior staff from the office of the Head of Service of DSCS. The result of the interview formed part of the basis for this study. The advantage of the structured interview is that it enables respondents to focus on the specific questions put forward to them by the interviewer.
The questions asked the respondents in this study are: what are the policies/strategies put in place by your organization for staff recruitment? What are the advantages and disadvantages of these staff recruitment strategies on the performance of employees and organization? What are the policies/strategies put in place by your organization to retain employees for performance? What are the advantages and disadvantages of these retention strategies on the workforce for performance? Furthermore, secondary data were obtained from relevant journals, books, newspapers, magazines and the internet for the study.
Return Rate of Questionnaires
Out of the 120 copies of questionnaire administered to respondents at the DSCS, 104 were retrieved, which represents 86.67 percent of the total copies of questionnaire administered. However, out of the 104 copies of questionnaire returned, one or 0.96 percent was not analyzed due to improper completion. Consequently, data analysis for this study is based on 103 or 85.83 percent of the total administered copies of questionnaire.
In this study, 68.93 percent of respondents earned NGN 500,000.00 and below as annual income in the state civil service, while 31.07 percent of respondents earned NGN 501,000.00 and above as annual income. Also, 38.83 percent of the respondents had WAEC/OND/NCE, 52.43 percent had HND/B.Sc Degrees, and 2.91 percent had Masters Degree, while 5.83 percent had professional certificates. Furthermore, 50.49 percent of the respondents were those who served the organization for 10 years and below, 42.71 percent served between 11 and 20 years, while 6.80 percent served for 21 years and above. Finally, 69.90 percent of respondents were senior staff, while 30.10 percent were junior staff.
Instrument for Data Analysis
Equation i: The chi-square (x2) analytical technique is used to test for significant relationship between variables.
Chi-square (x2) formula:
Where Æ’o = observed frequencies, Æ’e = expected frequencies
Staff Recruitment Policies/Strategies of Delta State Civil Service
The policies put in place for staff recruitment into DSCS is based on the mixture of merit, political consideration, equal representation and element 'god-fatherism' (interview, 2006). The term 'god-fatherism' as a staff recruitment strategy in Nigeria refers to a situation whereby one secures employment opportunity into an organization on the basis of human connection rather than the possession of required skills, educational qualifications and experience (interview, 2006
Recruitment of staff into the DSCS is an on going process. This is due to the unique role of the civil service at implementing government policies, and also as an avenue of providing job opportunity for citizens. As a result, anyone wishing to pick-up an employment with the state civil service, either goes to the state civil service Commission to obtain an unsolicited job application form, filled and return to the commission and then wait to be invited for interview or wait for the publication of vacant positions by the State Civil Service Commission in the national newspapers, radio or television. The applicants who applied for job vacancies in either of these ways are called to attend interview and if found qualified, such persons are given employment into the state civil service (interview, 2006).
It is important to know that during job interviews, persons who are found qualified in terms of merit with appropriate educational qualifications, skills and experience, are given employment into the state civil service; to this effect the merit principle is given high consideration in employment into DSCS. And sometimes would be employee have to fulfill the requirement of quota system as regards the person's local government origin before the applicant could be employed. In addition, some applicants are employed into the state civil service even without prior job application. The employment of these categories of applicants is based on political consideration and 'god-fatherism.' These are candidates of top politicians in the state or those connected to the 'power that be' at the federal level (interview, 2006).
In spite of the staff recruitment policies/strategies discussed above, the state civil service possesses a unique feature of having in its employment persons from other parts of the country without discrimination on the basis of religion, state of origin or ethnic affiliation. This unique feature of DSCS has made it possible for the state civil service commission to have a larger pool of potential job seekers to recruit its staff from. However, studies have shown that the adoption of recruitment strategies based on political consideration, quota system and 'god-fatherism' have brought about the employment of inefficient workforce into the state civil service and hence hindered the service from achieving its goals of infrastructural development and enhanced social service delivery (Ofoegbu, 1985; McOliver, 2005).
Staff Retention Policies/Strategies of Delta State Civil Service
In a bid to retain its workforce for enhanced performance, the DSCS put in place various policies/strategies in form of incentives and rewards. These include: regular staff training both within and outside the country; relatively good monthly salaries and condition of service; regular promotion; payment of outstation allowance; overtime pay; study leave with full pay; maternity leave with full pay for female staff; car and housing loan; payment of transportation allowance; staff unionism and job security (interview, 2006). The table below shows staff remuneration of the DSCS for salary grade level 01-17.
Table I: Gross Monthly Salaries (Grade level 01 - 17) (2005-2006)
Gross Salary (NGN 000)
Source: Delta State - Wages and Salaries Commission (2007)
Table I above shows the gross monthly salaries of Delta State Civil Servants from grade level 01 - 17. Note: Foreign exchange rate was 130 naira to one USA ($) dollar. A closer look at the table shows that the least paid civil servant on grade level 01 earns a gross monthly salary of NGN 14,035.50, a senior staff on grade level 07 earns NGN 34,456.86, and the highest paid civil servant in the state on grade level 17 earns NGN 129,144.66. However, when we compare the monthly salaries paid to staff at the private sector such as Nigerian Breweries Plc at NGN20,833 for least and NGN 833,333 for highest paid staff, Nestle Nig. Plc at NGN33 for least and NGN416,666 for highest paid staff and Zenith Bank Plc at NGN35,000 for least and NGN 600,000 for highest paid staff, it is clear that the monthly salaries paid to staff by the private organizations are higher than that paid to staff by the DSCS - public sector (Gberevbie, 2008).
It is interesting to know that in spite of the high level disparity in salaries between the public worker and that of the private sectors, workers hardly resign their appointment with the DSCS. This development could be attributed to staff perception of job security arising from the belief that government work is permanent (interview, 2006). This perception of job security on the part of civil servants is actually a function of the personnel policies of the DSG in the way it handles its workforce. This is with the understanding that whatever the state government set out to achieve in terms of enhanced social service delivery and infrastructural development would only be achievable through the presence of competent staff in the employment of the state civil service (interview, 2006).
In an interview with staff of DSCSC about one of the features of the public service as governed by public law, which is helping to retain staff in the DSCS; one of them stated thus:
One of the major features of the civil service that has kept us in the employment of DSCS so far is that of job security. This is going by the way workers are treated by the government to believe that their job with the service is permanent. However, if the government could complement its job security policy with higher monthly salaries in addition to incentives currently provided by the state government; performance in the civil service would be commensurate, if not even higher than the performance obtainable at the private sector organizations (interview, 2006).
The expression above goes to show that the feeling of job security by staff in their place of work is a catalyst to their willingness to want to remain in the employment of their organization. Therefore the ability of organizations to combine personnel policies and practice that promote job security together with good monthly salaries and appropriate incentives are good strategies capable of guaranteeing staff retention at work and hence enhanced organizational performance.
Performance of Delta State Civil Service
Performance of DSCS in this study is discussed under the following: Education, Health, and Electricity supply.
In its quest to improve education, the DSG through the state ministry of education spent a total sum of NGN 8.06 billion on capital expenditure on education. Part of the amount was spent on the renovation of 4,692 classrooms and the construction of additional 2,270 new classrooms across the state. The ministry of education also established four new institutions of higher learning comprising a polytechnic at Ozoro, Ogwashi-Uku, and Oghara, and a college of physical education at Mosogar. Also successfully constructed were: new faculty and administrative buildings; staff quarters; student hostels; construction of roads on campus; improvement in electricity and water supply at the three campuses of the Delta State University at Abraka, Anwai and Oleh (interview, 2006; DSG, 2006, August 17).
In its recognition of the importance of quality health services to the people, the DSG through the ministry of health spent the total sum of NGN 8.01 billion to construct new hospitals and health centres, and also renovated others across the state. The government also upgraded four general hospitals to the status of specialist hospitals, which are located in Agbor, Sapele, Warri and Ughelli. Eight general hospitals have also been located across the state equipped with modern facilities. In addition, the government built new hospitals at Abraka, Okwe-Asaba, Umutu, Mosogar and Oghara, plus a Specialist Teaching Hospital at Oghara (interview, 2006; DSG, 2006, August 17).
To improve electricity supply, the DSG through the power and energy ministry earmarked the sum of NGN 18 billion to connect all communities without electricity supply to the national grid system. The government undertook the responsibility of maintaining, reinforcing and upgrading existing Power Holding Company of Nigeria installations to ensure regular and adequate power supply to promote social and economic development. In addition, the government spent the sum of NGN 60.3 million on streetlights at Asaba, Oghara, Sapele, Obior, Owhelogbo, Kokori, Afiesere, Ughelli and Orerokpe (interview, 2006; DSG, 2006, August 17).
As strategy for rural electricity development, the DSG introduced the Delta IV Project, which stretches from Ughelli to Ozoro, covering four local government areas namely: Isoko-North; Isoko-South; Ndokwa-East and part of Ndokwa-South. It also stretches from Ughelli to Eku, covering Ethiope-East; Ethiope-West; Ukwuani; and Okpe local government areas. The line also stretches from Ughelli/Isoko junction to Bomadi, covering the whole of the riverine areas of the state (interview, 2006; DSG, 2006, August 17).
Comments on the Performance of DSCS
Looking at the data on infrastructural development in Delta State as presented, it may not be far from the fact to say that the state civil service has performed its role of implementing and giving practical expression to government policies for the enhancement of the living standard of the people. However, when one considers the enormous funds at the disposal of the government from the federation account at NGN 387.4 billion between 1999 and 2005, and compare same with the level of development on ground and the living standard of the people, it may not be wrong to say that much work still need to be done on the part of the state civil service to bring about meaningful development.
Recent poverty index in the country shows that of the 140 million people in Nigeria, 98 million live on less than one dollar per day and as a result, the country is considered one of the 20 poorest nations in the world. This assertion is based on the UN report that:
Seventy percent of the population is classified as poor, with 35 percent living in absolute poverty. Going by the 1991 population figure of 120 million, those living below the poverty line were 84 millionâ€¦if the country's population has grown to 140 million according to the new census figures, then by analogous reasoning, the number of people living on less than one dollar in a day must be 98 million. This means that another 14 million impoverished people have been unleashed on the country. This figure is more than the population of oil producing states of Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta and Cross-River States put together going by the 2006 census figure. The combined population of the Niger Delta Oil Producing Region is 13.85 million (cited in BusinessDayonline, 2007).
What the above means is that goals of enhanced performance of infrastructural development and social service delivery of the state civil service are far from being realized as it is presently. The reasons for this development may not be unconnected with the low level performance and corruption amongst the state civil servants. For instance, recent studies on corruption in Nigeria has established that Federal and State Government officials stole or wasted a total sum of $380 billion since the nation's independence in 1960. This is the amount that would have gone into the country's developmental aspirations (BusinessDayonline, 2007).
Hor: There is significant relationship between the views of respondents on annual income of NGN 500,000 and below, and those on annual income of NGN 501,000 and above about staff recruitment policy and performance in Delta State Civil Service of Nigeria. To address the hypothesis, the question below was raised.
Question: The criteria for employment in my organization are based on other factors than merit and this is affecting the performance of staff and the organization negatively. The table below shows the reaction of respondents to the question raised
Table II: Chi-square test of association between the views of respondents on policy of staff recruitment, annual income and Performance in DSCS
NGN 500,000 &Below
NGN 501,000 &Above
Source: Fieldwork (2006)
The table II above shows the categories of respondents to the question raised in terms of their total annual income. Seventy one or 68.93 percent of respondents earned NGN 500,000.00 and below as annual income in the state civil service, while 32 or 31.07 percent of respondents earned NGN 501,000.00 and above as annual income.
Calculated x2 = 2.7
Critical or table x2 = 7.78
Degree of freedom (d/f) = 4
Alpha (a) = 0.05 percent
Research Result: Calculated x2 of 2.7 is less than the critical or table x2 of 7.78 at alpha (a) level of 0.05 percent. This means that data are not statistically significant. The result is to reject the research hypothesis (Hr) and accept the null hypothesis (Ho.), which states that there is no significant relationship between the views of respondents about the policy on staff recruitment and performance in DSCS.
Interpretation: What the research result means is that there is no evidence to prove that respondents' annual income category affect their views about the policies on staff recruitment and performance in DSCS. However, out of the 103 respondents sampled in this study, 92 or 89.32 percent agree that policies on staff recruitment based on other factors than merit affected negatively performance in DSCS.
Hr: There is significant relationship between the views of respondents in terms of their job status - senior and junior staff about the policy on staff retention and performance in DSCS. To address the hypothesis, the question below was raised.
Question: Do you agree with the view that appropriate staff retention policies/strategies such as job security, regular training programme, promotion and enhanced remuneration retain competent staff for organizational performance? The table below shows the reaction of respondents to the question raised.
Table III: Chi-square test of association between the views of respondents on policy of staff retention, job status and Performance in DSCS
Source: Fieldwork (2006)
The table III above shows the categories of staff in terms of their job status - senior and junior, which are the respondents and how they responded to the question raised. Seventy-two or 69. 90 percent of respondents were senior staff, while 31 or 30.10 percent of respondents were junior staff.
Calculated x2 = 1.27
Critical or table x2 = 7.78
Degree of freedom (d/f) = 4
Alpha (a) = 0.05 percent
Research Result: Calculated x2 of 1.27 is less than the critical or table x2 of 7.78 at alpha (a) level of 0.05 percent. This means that data are not statistically significant. The result is to reject the research hypothesis (Hr.), and accept null hypothesis (Ho) which states that there is no significant relationship between the views of respondents about the policies on staff retention and performance in DSCS.
Interpretation: What the research result means is that there is no evidence to prove that respondents' job status affect their views about the policies on staff retention and performance in DSCS. However, out of the 103 respondents sampled in this study, 93 or 90.29 percent agree that policies on staff retention such as job security, regular training programme, promotion and enhanced remuneration retain competent staff for organizational performance. On the other hand, the non-provision of these staff retention strategies is more likely to lead to high rate of labour turnover of competent workforce in an organization.
Discussion of Results
Two hypotheses stated earlier were tested. In addition, structured interview with members of staff in the office of the Head of Service of DSCS were carried out. The result of the first test shows that there is no significant relationship between respondents' annual income category and their views about the policies on staff recruitment and performance in DSCS. The second test also shows that there is no significant relationship between respondents' job status and their views about the policies on staff retention and performance in DSCS.
However, to support the argument that staff recruitment strategies effect performance, 92 or 89.32 percent of the respondents sampled and those interviewed in this study agree that policies on staff recruitment of DSCS based on mixture of merit and other factors such as political consideration, god-fatherism and equal representation from different section of the state without due consideration to proper screening of potential employees affected the service from attracting into its employment competent staff needed to achieve its goals of enhanced performance in its role of social service delivery and infrastructural development. In the same vein, 93 or 90.29 percent of the respondents sampled in this study supports the argument that policies on staff retention that fails to provide adequate rewards to staff as compared to what is obtainable in the private sector affected negatively performance in DSCS.
This study empirically examined staff recruitment, retention policies and performance in DSCS. It was found in the study that the policies on staff recruitment and retention put in place by the state civil service has made it difficult for the service to attract and retain competent workforce in terms of appropriate skills, educational qualifications and experience to carry out its assignments of quality social service delivery and infrastructural development for the enhancement of the living standard of the people. This is evident when one considers the enormous financial resources available to the state government from the federation account as a leading crude oil producing state between 1999 and 2005.
Based on the study, the following recommendations are hereby put forward: for public sector organizations in Nigeria to attract and retain competent workforce for enhanced performance, recruitment strategies based on merit, in addition to equal representation principle that emphasizes proper screening of potential employees based on appropriate skills, experience and educational qualifications; appropriate and adequate staff retention strategies that emphasizes good and improved monthly salaries, regular staff training and promotion; implementation of proper personnel policies and practice that encourages job security; and good condition of service as obtainable in the private sector of the Nigerian economy should be implemented without further delay.