Are HRM practices in your organisation resilient and agile enough to address the next crisis?


On 15 December 2020, SIGMA organised a webinar for both ENP and IPA administrations to discuss the resilience and agility of human resource management (HRM) practices in public bodies.

Around 70 participants representing public institutions, NGOs and experts from many SIGMA partner administrations participated in the event, as well as representatives from several EU Delegations and SIGMA experts.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic is testing the resilience of HRM systems in the civil service. Traditionally, the main objectives of HRM systems are to attract and employ the best candidates, to motivate civil servants and to retain the best of them. The epidemic has made it clear that there is another, very important objective, which is the resilience and agility of the system. This allows it to react to changing circumstances and to crisis situations.

Introductory remarks from the Head of the SIGMA Programme were followed by an introductory presentation on the the topic of the evolving situation in the labour market.

The discussion during the webinar focused on two main issues:

  • Presentation and discussion of a draft self-assessment checklist – a tool that should help public bodies to assess how flexible their regulations and HR practices are.

  • Presentation and discussion of good EU practice on how to make HRM systems more agile.

The self-assessment checklist is principally intended for managers of public administration entities and HR managers. It should be applied to measure the resilience/agility of individual public organisations. After receiving feedback from SIGMA partner administrations during the webinar, it will be further improved.

The presentation and discussing of good EU practice encompassed:

  • Mobility and temporary assignment schemes used in Ireland.

  • Distant management and supporting well-being at work in Finnish Customs.

The main conclusions from the workshop were:

  • The coronavirus epidemic showed that the resilience of HRM systems is equally important to their effectiveness and efficiency.

  • The agility of the HRM system does not contradict the basic principles of merit-based HRM.

  • The checklist that was presented during the workshop is a source of inspiration for public organisations that want to improve not only the resilience, but also the agility of HRM. However, before introducing certain solutions, they should always analyse the risk of potential abuse.

  • Participants drew attention, among others, to disadvantages of remote meetings, and in particular, the risk of losing the human-side of HRM.

  • While good legal provisions are important, their implementation, the capacities of civil servants and their mindset and attitude are equally important for agile HRM.


Checklist for self assessment of the resilience and agility of human resource management in public administration organisations (draft, version 1)


Tools to assess your HRM system - Presenting the draft checklist to self-assess the resilience of the HRM in a public organisation, Linda Ait Ameur, Federal Agency for Nuclear Control, Belgium

Mobility and Temporary Assignments, David Cagney, Chief Human Resources Officer for the Civil Service, Ireland

Why is resilience of HR systems necessary? The situation in the labour market, Tomasz Milosz, GiGLike founder and CEO

Distant management and well-being at work during distant working, Riitta Paalanen, Special Adviser in HR, Finnish Customs

Specific software for all information systems for teleworking and centralised recruitment, Rasa Tumene, Head of Executives’ Selection and Planning Division, Civil Service Department of the Ministry of Interior, Lithuania

Good practices (please check this webpage, as new good practices will be added):

Civil service mobility scheme

New ways of working during COVID-19

Senior public service (Assistant Secretary) mobility

Temporary assignment scheme (2020)

David Cagney, Chief Human Resources Officer for the Civil Service, Ireland


Remote management in Finnish Customs

Well-being at work during teleworking (incl. Webropol questionnaire)

Riitta Paalanen, Special Adviser in HR, Finnish Customs


Access to databases and security measures during teleworking

E-recruitment in Lithuania

Rasa Tumene, Head of Executives’ Selection and Planning Division, Civil Service Department, Lithuania



Related Documents