New face at the court

| 12/11/2008

(CNS): In keeping with government’s decentralisation programme Patricia Muschette has joined the Judicial Administration of Government as the first dedicated HR officer at Judicial Administration. With a master’s degree in human resource management and experience that included a period as client Retention Supervisor at the Tampa-based branch of JP Morgan Chase, Muschette describes herself as having a passion for HR.

“It is fair to say that the managers and staff have all been energised by this appointment,” said Chief Officer Delene Cacho. “We have a new professional and relatively independent advocate for staff with respect to non-financial matters. Her sheer ability to focus on the area of human resources without having to deal with competing workplace demands as managers have had to do in the past will mean enhanced protection in this area for the interests of all – staff, management and the various publics that we serve.”

Muschette said all the managers want to see happy, motivated employees and she says  she has had a positive response from both groups in the three weeks since her arrival, many sharing perceptions that are fairly typical of most workplaces here and abroad.

Well known to many in Cayman, having served widely in the government and private sectors locally and abroad, her previous government roles include consultant to the Ministry of Health’s National Assessment of Living Conditions (NALC) and as the Immigration Department’s financial controller, a role which incorporated some HR duties.    

During her employment history, Muschette has produced drafts of employee handbooks; re-designed and implemented forms, procedures and policies for improving organisational operations and functions; designed reward and recognition programmes; and organised many staff functions and events to create an atmosphere of teamwork and camaraderie.

Among top priority aims, she said, are to develop the existing human resources policies and procedures manual; acquire insights into enhancing efficiency, including where feasible integrating information technology into manual operations; and investigate workplace training needs and opportunities, an initial focus being on front-end staff.

Despite the issue of budgetary constraints and staff remuneration freezes she will be reviewin job descriptions under an informal “time and motion” study of work functions.  Outcomes of that will hopefully translate not only into improved workplace operations but also, Muschette hopes, into an achievable incentive system.  Those incentives, she said, may take different forms, with non-financial recognition systems sometimes being as or more meaningful to employees.

She said that there were similarly many non-financial ways to address perceived or actual increase in work volume.  This is generally tackled by workplace tactics such as introducing IT to add speed and efficiency, and by devising new, more creative approaches to work tasks. In addition Muschette has some other aces up her sleeve such as job sharing, cross-training, re-training, and simple tactics such as development of templates. Another important goal which often results in enhanced staff motivation and hence elevated performance Muschette added is the strengthening of personal development and succession planning.

While her overall aim is broad-based, her immediate focus will be on the staff.

 “I always call myself the voice of staff,” Muschette said, indicating that while supervisors and managers had already impressed her with their vigilance in terms of monitoring and directing staff, until now, they have had to juggle attention to staff needs with work-related goals.  From her own experience and training, she said, it is “difficult to do justice” to human resources in a scenario of divided attention. 

With a master’s degree in human resource management, Mrs. Muschette anticipates pursuing, mainly by distance learning, a doctorate in industrial/organisational psychology.  She holds membership in the Cayman Islands Society of Human Resource Professionals; Society of Human Resource Professionals; and Delta Sigma Pi Professional Co-ed Fraternity

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