Secretariat for European Affairs (SEA), a partner organization of the USAID’s Organizational Performance Improvement Program (USAID OPIP) 2015
USAID’s Organizational Performance Improvement Program aims at enhancing the performance of Macedonian organizations deemed key for the development of the country and for the objectives that USAID Macedonia strives to achieve in the democracy&governance, education and economic sectors.
The program works with five selected organizations to strengthen their structure, advance their work processes, and elevate the skills and knowledge of their employees. The program also strives to strengthen linkages across institutions and improve important processes to provide better services to the citizens of Macedonia. Program activities are divided into three stages: 1) Performance assessment of the partner organization; 2) Implementation of proposed interventions, and 3) Re-assessment of partner organization’s performance.
The cooperation between SEA and USAID OPIP began on December 15, 2014, with signing of the first Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation (MOU). Following a series of performance assessment activities, a second MOU was signed between SEA and USAID OPIP that marked the beginning of the second stage – implementation of interventions outlined below.
- Diagnostic workshop
On March 19 – 21, 2015, USAID OPIP conducted a diagnostic workshop with 20 representatives of SEA’s management, including Mr. Besimi, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs, and Ms. Ana Blazevska, State Secretary. At the workshop, USAID OPIP experts facilitated team discussion and group work through which the participants identified potential improvement points within SEA as well as actual capacities and strengths of SEA.
Mr. Besimi addressing diagnostic workshop participants
- In-depth assessment of SEA’s performance
On April 14, 2015, USAID OPIP commenced an in-depth assessment of SEA’s performance. 15 in-depth, semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with the State Secretary, four state advisors, seven heads of sectors, two heads of independent units and one with an associate in charge of ISO system within SEA. In addition, a survey was conducted with a purpose of identifying managerial skills and practices within SEA, as well as scanning the organizational climate and culture.
- MOU #2 signed between SEA and USAID OPIP
On September 4, 2015, SEA and USAID OPIP singed the second MOU that refers to the implementation of the intervention package in the following five areas of performance improvement:
1. System for planning, monitoring and evaluation of SEA’s performance;
2. Employee performance management system; Motivation, reward and disciplining;
3. Work organization and organizational climate;
4. Analytical capacities;
5. Public relations/managing incoming and outgoing information.
Mr. Besimi and Ms. Morina-Maksut signing MOU#2
- Workshop on finalizing annual planning, monitoring&evaluation and reporting process maps
On September 10, 2015, USAID OPIP organized a workshop with SEA management on finalizing annual planning, monitoring&evaluation and reporting process maps. USAID OPIP experts presented draft process maps, input and output documents and templates. These maps were discussed, revised and finalized with active participation of the workshop participants.
Workshop participants follow the USAID OPIP experts’ guidelines on finalizing process maps
- Two one-day workshops: a workshop on civil servants performance management and a workshop on annual planning
On September 27 – 28, 2015, USAID OPIP organized two one-day workshops: a workshop on civil servants performance management and a workshop on annual planning. 23 representatives of SEA management attended the workshops including the State Secretary, four state advisors, heads of sectors and independent units, deputy heads of sectors and heads of sectoral units.
During the first workshop, the participants were introduced to the performance appraisal system as stipulated with the Law on Civil Servants. USAID OPIP expert elaborated all steps in the process and discussed with the participants their role in conducting semi-annual interviews, selection of assessors, the role and composition of the assessment committee, grading scale and assessment methods. Participants learned about the excellent and weak performance measures, discussed potential obstacles in the implementation of the performance appraisal provisions and agreed to conduct internal workshops in order to present the performance appraisal process to all employees.
During the workshop on annual planning participants learned how to set SMART goals, discussed SEA’s strategic and annual planning framework and developed draft institutional goals for 2016 within the existing strategic priorities..
Workshop participants follow the presentation of the Law on Civil Servants
- Mentoring sessions for developing sector- level action plans for 2016
Throughout October 2015, USAID OPIP expert delivered 10 mentoring sessions, during which every SEA sector worked on developing a sector-level action plan for 2016. 53 employees from all sectors and independent units took part in this highly participative and transparent process.
Participants of the mentoring sessions for developing sector-level action plans discuss the annual goals of their sector
- Workshop on setting annual results and indicators
On November 22 – 23, 2015, USAID OPIP facilitated a workshop on setting annual results and indicators in accordance with SEA’s annual program for 2016. The workshop was attended by the State Secretary, heads of sectors and independent units and employees of sectors and units. The participants gained knowledge and skills for setting results on institutional and sector level and setting indicators as measures of expected results. By the end of 2015, SEA will complete the development of the planning, monitoring and evaluation system for 2016.
Ms. Ana Blazevska, State Secretary, follows the discussion on setting annual results and indicators along with the other participants