This helpdesk report identifies lessons learned on retaining staff in the public service in Africa, with a focus on external auditing (Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) and Offices of the Auditor General (OAG)). However, because documented experience from these institutions is scarce, it also includes literature on internal auditing in public bodies as well as experience from the wider public service. In addition, the final section of the report presents some emerging guidance on staff retention in SAIs, mainly from the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI, notably:
- Where recruitment and reward of staff is outside the SAI’s control, it needs to work with other stakeholders to persuade the Ministry of Finance of the benefits of it achieving greater control over its human resources.
- Flexibility to set pay and remuneration for staff internally is crucial for SAIs.
- SAIs should consider their work environment and conditions, to ensure that staff are motivated and feel able to fulfil their potential.
- SAIs should consider what targets and good performance criteria they might set to encourage effective working.
- Increasingly, SAIs are broadening the competition for promotions. Good practice includes the use of assessment tests and panels, particularly for managerial positions.
- Career development arrangements are crucial for staff retention.
- Monitoring levels and trends in staff turnover and establishing the reasons why staff leave through e.g. exit interviews can help improve retention in future.