Institute for Labor Studies
Best Practice Focus Area/s
Human Resource, Operations
March 2020 to present
This is a GBPR Entry
The procurement of goods and services implemented the Online Submission of Bids (OSB) portal of the Institute, which allows the electronic submission and receipt of bids for procurement modalities where a two-envelope procedure or sealed price quotation is required in accepting bids from prospective suppliers/bidders. The OSB uses Google Forms, where prospective bidders can submit their bids, and Microsoft One Drive to store data. The documents that will be submitted should be compressed in ZIP, RAR, or 7Z format with password protection. The password for accessing the file shall be disclosed by the bidders who successfully submitted their bids only during the actual bid opening, which will be done through video conferencing, webcasting, or similar technology.
The IT Helpdesk was established in response to the need to provide swift and efficient IT technical support to ILS employees during Work-From-Home Arrangement resulting from the COVID-19 restrictions and protocols, especially during the Enhanced Community Quarantine period.
Background and Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic and the implementation of community quarantine throughout the country have posed many difficulties in the public and private sectors. Traditional recruitment selection and placement, procurement, and IT helpdesk activities in the government required manual or face-to-face interaction to complete such transactions.
These included manual receipt of applications for job posting, face-to-face administration of exam, and conduct of interviews, including oath-taking, collection of quotations/bids from prospective bidders and face-to-face pre-bid and bid opening meetings, manual and hands-on assistance provided to ILS employees, and receipt of service requests for technical assistance to the IT team from various sources including Facebook messenger.
The overall objective of the transition is to ensure that health protocols are observed while at the same time, addressing the needs of the clients, both internal and external, with efficiency and ease of transaction for all three processes.
Solution and Impact
For Online Recruitment, Selection, and Placement:
To address the risk of acquiring the COVID-19 virus during acceptance of application, exams, and interviews, as well as routing of documents, the office identified a contactless or less face-to-face interaction as the best method to continue safe RSP processing. The online application was pilot tested in March 2020. The HR Unit crafted the Job Application Online (JAO) and the IT Unit used the Google form for applicants to encode and submit online the most important application details (education, training, experience, and eligibility) and qualification documents for a more effective assessment by the screening Secretariat and Board members.
The first online exam was administered in May 2020. The qualified applicants were notified that they will take the exam on a specific date and time and were requested to secure a strong internet connection to be able to attend the virtual briefing on the pledge of confidentiality of the exam and instructions and submission of the completed examination after two and a half hours.
The first online interview was done in April 2020. Shortlisted candidates who passed the examination were notified via email to attend the virtual panel interview and were provided the Zoom link on their particular time slot. The Board members met online for tasking of competencies for behavioral interview. Reference documents such as the application documents, competency tables, guide questions, and interview rating sheets were also available in the shared folder specific to the vacancy. This process is best for collation of numerical ratings and recording minutes as well as review and exchange of discussion-consultation on matters.
Submissions of documents, as well as the affixing of electronic signatures, were reviewed and approved online. Minutes of the meeting and resolution were saved in the shared folder, which all members and secretariat could simultaneously review. Affixing of signature was done electronically; hence, there was no face-to-face contact.
As an initiative, the ILS created its own portal that will be used for the submission of bids from prospective suppliers. Online submission of bids provided new opportunities for adoption to the new normal, where most of the transactions are expected to be done online and with limited face-to-face transactions.
For IT Helpdesk:
With the availability of the IT Helpdesk platform, each request lodged in the platform has been made visible to everyone in the team, including its status and the actions taken, which provided easy access to information in case of related incidents. Further, the requesting party receives automated email notifications when their ticket is updated, making it unnecessary to keep asking someone from the IT team about the status of their concern/s. During the ECQ, the ILS started implementing the Work-From-Home modality, which changed IT support provisions for its employees. In order to adapt, the IT Unit started the development of a platform that could provide solutions to the needs of remote requests.
For Online Recruitment, Selection, and Placement:
The remarkable results were:
- The Secretariat need not encode the pre-screening matrix of qualifications because the applicants themselves encode their qualifications in the JAO for verification of the Secretariat.
- Minutes and resolutions were reviewed simultaneously by the HRMPSB members and the secretariat in the shared files in Microsoft Teams, and the use of voluminous paper was avoided.
- Less or no physical contact was experienced during transactions, applications, and processing since most of them were done online.
- Five employees were warmly welcomed during their virtual oath-taking, which was witnessed by officials and employees, even those working from home.
The HR and the IT Units were among the awardees for introducing the online recruitment process through the Job Application Online (JAO), continuing their operations despite the pandemic. Specific award for the HR Unit was from the 2019 ILS Program to Reward and Incentivize Service Excellence (PRAISE) for the continued provision of support services and organizational transactions, especially during the enhanced community quarantine in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, where there was a transition to online transactions for human resource services.
Bidders are gradually adopting this new way of submission of bids, which also ensures the health and safety of all stakeholders in the procurement process while at the same time increasing the opportunity for more bidders to participate even during the pandemic.
For IT Helpdesk:
Given the efficiency rate of the tool, the IT Unit intends to adopt such a platform even after the pandemic. A new version is being set up and will be launched soon.