Professor Dias Jeremias, Silver-bullet to ECOWAS Human Resources Management Woes

The ECOWAS Human Resources Commission under the leadership of Professor Dias Furtado Jeremias is making substantial evolution in fashioning a proficient, viable and responsive human resources base for the sub-regional body. An accomplished scholar and a seasoned technocrat, Professor Jeremias was appointed as the  Human Resources Commissioner on 1st March 2018 but legally took office at the 80th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS council of Ministers held from 7th – 8th July 2018.

Strategic approach to the effective management of personnel is imperative in maximizing employee performance in service of any organization’s strategic objectives. This however, requires strategic workforce planning, organizational design, staff recruitment, talent management, productive employee relations and engagement and robust employment laws and compliance. Professor Jeremias has amply demonstrated these skills, given the tremendous transformation he is currently making at the ECOWAS human resource base since his appointment as commissioner.

At the time of his appointment, the state of affairs at the HR department could be described as entropic in terms of organization thus, the need for reforms and vitalization as per the dictates of the ECOWAS Heads of state and Government and the 2020 strategic guidelines. In a bid to bolster the Human Resources department, Commissioner Jeremias recently spear-headed the implementation of ECOWAS Commission Staff Regulations Review forum held in Abuja Nigeria with a view to improve the draft community staff regulations. The initiative was aimed at promoting internal competitiveness, staff development, talent management policies; recruitment policy and procedures; policy and procedures for performance evaluation; policy and procedures for potential assessment; remuneration policy and procedures; policy and procedures of training, motivation issues, amongst others.

Furthermore, under the leadership of Commissioner Dias Furtado Jeremias, the HR department is working on the regularization of contractual employees based on the principles of competitiveness. He also presided over the designing and implementation of the training and internship policy and facilitated the effective participation of the HR department in the design and implementation of institutional reforms particularly the job matching exercise.

The Commissioner for Human Resources is working hard to mark crucial milestones in the important changes to be made in the processes, procedures, rules, tools and working documents of the Community's Human Resources Department, as part of the institutional and organizational reform.

Speaking of policies and procedures, he highlighted the manuals that the HR Department is currently implementing, in particular, the policy and procedures of evaluation of job performance, recruitment, training, Internship and policy development. These instruments should be valid before a limited HR team and then before the Directors of the various ECOWAS Institutions and Agencies.

Resolutely committed to working with the management team to make this reform a success, the Human Resources Department has already taken its first steps with the resumption of the process of revising the Staff Regulations during a workshop held from 4 to 8 February 2019 at the ECOWAS Commission.  During the workshop, strategic Human Resources decisions were taken which includes getting rid of outdated Staff Regulations and presentations of the Commission's Human Resources Benchmarking Report and the new performance evaluation system.

The workshop also discussed among other things the implementation of a STAFF SKILS AUDIT, with the aim of accounting for the professional knowledge and technical skills of employees while verifying fit to current positions; Participants also deliberated on the upgrading of employees’ professional knowledge, technical skills along different stages of their career; Identifying gaps between present skill and future skills set required; and determine the right-fit for positions in the organizational structure and appropriate job levels.

Professor Jeremias and his team are currently implementing the outcomes of the week-long Staff Regulations Review forum geared towards creating a vibrant, highly skillful and motivated human resource base that would help accelerate the realization of a paradigm shift from ECOWAS of states to ECOWAS of people.

Certainly, Professor Jeremias has a persona to reckon with as far as the realization of the lofty goals of the ECOWAS Commission in general and the Human resource department are concern. He has already demonstrated adeptness in assessing and understanding the unique needs of the unit and ensuring that the needs and requirements of the department are effectively aligned and fulfilled.

Prior to his appointment, the highly experienced administrator and educationist had served as Legal Adviser at the Cabo Verde Ministry of Interior, General Director of Transport, Director of Prevention and Road Safety Services, Contracted Professor of Law and Business Administration at the University of Cape Verde- (Business and Governance School), the University “Lusófona de Cabo Verde” and the University of Santiago. He also authored more 20 scientific articles, published in internationally indexed specialty Journals.

Professor Jeremias is well versed with PhD in Tourism and Business Administration; Master of Law – DIP; Master of Social Sciences (African Studies); Post Graduate in Public Regulation & Competition, as well as Post Graduate in Law –“Legist” and Medium Course in Creation & Management of Mixed Capital Enterprises\companies.