Championing human resource management reforms in Ukraine

Ukraine is going through unprecedented reforms to consolidate its path to a democratic, prosperous and peaceful future. In 2016, two years after the Revolution of Dignity, the international donors who support good governance in Ukraine introduced the Ukraine Reforms Architecture (URA). It is an innovative, comprehensive reform support program whose key instruments are dedicated Reform Support Teams (RSTs) are established in different authorities. RSTs comprise Ukrainian professionals from the private sector, funded by international donors through the Sustainable Growth Multi-Donor Account managed by the EBRD. They provide targeted technical support and assist Ministries in designing and implementing sectoral strategies and priority reforms.

John Smith Trust Fellow Nataliya Slysh (Ukraine, 2019) heads one of the first created teams – RST at the Ministry of Finance. Nataliya is an expert in strategic planning, organisational transformation, institutional development, public and corporate finance, with 15+ years of experience managing leading Ukrainian and international companies as CFO and CEO. She felt that the private sector could only grow in Ukraine if the government could provide a supportive operating environment. Therefore, she joined the Ministry of Finance to apply her knowledge and experience in the public sector.

Under Nataliya’s leadership, the Project Management team has supported the Ministry of Finance to accelerate reforms in public finance management, taxation, customs, cooperation with IFIs, and the state-owned bank’s sector.

Apart from these country-level reforms, one of the critical objectives of Nataliya’s RST is to enhance the internal capacity of the Ministry of Finance with a focus on the development of the human resource management process.

During the John Smith Trust Fellowship Programme, Nataliya’s Action Plan was to develop the framework for implementing a human resource strategy and human resource management system in the Ministry of Finance, focusing on people management, staff development, performance evaluation, and internal communications. She wanted to “develop a people strategy as well as the people management system.”

As part of her tailored program of individual meetings, Nataliya spent time with the UK Cabinet Office’s Civil Service Human Resources team (CSHR), learning about employee policies, overseeing performance management, and how the CSHR supports government departments’ work effectively. According to Nataliya, she was also able to pick the brains of “one of the top thinkers in human resource management in the UK,” Professor Shaun Tyson of Cranfield University, and speak to counterparts at the Digital Office for Scottish Local Government as well as the Institute for Government.

Back in Ukraine, Nataliya set about putting into practice everything she had picked up in the UK. Nataliya’s team helped the Ministry of Finance to develop a comprehensive HR Strategy based on best international practices in HR management. As the result, the Minister of Finance’s Order adopted the Strategy at the end of 2020.

“I am involved in the project that directly corresponds with my Action Plan in the UK – internal transformation of the Ministry of Finance with the focus on HR management”, – Nataliya says. During the JST program, her experience in the UK resulted in exactly what she was hoping for: the practical application in her work area. She says: “The knowledge, working materials, ideas I got in the UK and the alumni network help me and our team to perform better!”

August 2021