Public Sector Talent Management
Tough Times Make Talent Management Essential
Fiscal and political realities are causing havoc for federal, state and municipal entities. Budgets have never been tighter, spending cuts are inevitable, and many reductions will come in the areas of talent and training.
With those buffeting winds, public sector employers must gauge the impact these cuts will have on talent in light of generational shifts, impending retirements, and the need to fill leadership positions and skill gaps. It’s clear that investing in talent is essential to maximize employee productivity and maintain the highest possible levels of service for constituents. It’s been proven that talent management solutions can help public sector employers deliver better training at a lower cost, develop and engage their people, and plan for the leadership and talent needs of the next generation.
In fact, talent management technology has become, you could say, table stakes for the public sector because of the pressure to streamline talent processes in ways to improve efficiency, reduce risk and lower costs.
Technology – specifically cloud-based or SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) talent management solutions – can play a crucial role since traditional strategies and tactics are no longer sufficient. Governments will need technology to play a transforming role in service delivery and operations.
With effective talent management technology and strategies, good processes can translate to tangible outcomes. In addition, public sector employers can integrate information, communications and operational technologies. Leveraged technology can be used for planning, management and operations across multiple process areas to generate sustainable public value for constituents.
Specifically, talent management technology can help public sector employers in many areas, including:
PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT - Assessing and managing performance is always important, but especially so in times of hiring freezes and downsizing. Up-to-date performance appraisals (and dare we say interim or ongoing performance evaluation?) can identify the top performers whom the agency would like to retain and appraisals can inform the difficult decisions around redeployments or furloughs, if required. Technology makes it far easier to link individual performance management to organizational performance.
SUCCESSION MANAGEMENT - As the overall unemployment rate declines, private sector companies are hiring, so state employees may be seeking jobs elsewhere. To further complicate matters, some employees may take early retirement or defer retirement for a few more years. Demonstrating that there are still opportunities for promotion — or even for lateral transfers — can help to keep strained employees from actively searching for other prospects. Succession management technology allows you to build career paths and talent pools for employees, as well as understand where serious talent and leadership gaps exist so you can address them today.
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT – Leadership shortages are so acute that leadership development programs should be retained to the greatest extent possible, even if they must be modified. Most government and public sector employers suffer from the same problem: not being able to fill positions quickly enough. Public sector employers need strategies and tools in place to transfer knowledge and develop a new talent “bench.”
DEVELOPMENT PLANS FOR ALL EMPLOYEES - Leadership positions and critical roles are obvious choices for targeted career development through performance, succession and learning initiatives. However, career development for all employees is a worthwhile investment. In the private sector, organizations with high-quality development plans for all employees have 26 percent higher revenues than companies that do not.
COMPETENCY MANAGEMENT - Establishing meaningful competencies – the knowledge, skills and behaviors that are used to develop people in your organization – is a critical step for the success of your talent management initiative. These competencies will allow you to build job profiles that will guide career development, training and performance improvement across your organization. You will also find it easier to deliver the ROI because the business impact of career planning is 45 percent higher for organizations with good or excellent leadership competencies.
CAREER DEVELOPMENT PLANNING - Performance management must be more than an assessment. It actually is an opportunity to engage employees in their work and help them establish goals. For best results, incorporate activities that will help employees to develop the skills needed to meet both individual and organizational goals. Also, you should have supervisors review plans with employees periodically, ideally on a monthly or quarterly basis.
TALENT POOLS - One of the biggest mistakes that the private sector made during the recession was the elimination of entire business units without any attempt to identify and retain high-performing and high-potential employees. Building internal talent pools can prevent public sector employers from making the same mistake.
INFORMAL LEARNING - For most employees, learning on the job from peers is the most effective and powerful method of learning. However, these initiatives don’t happen by accident. Creating the appropriate structures and providing the right tools can take learning out of the classroom and into the workplace where it belongs – and deliver more ROI on your investment dollars.
For the public sector to meet today’s challenges of doing more with less means integrating learning, performance and succession – via technology - with a seamless development strategy for managers and employees across the enterprise. For a deeper discussion of the issues facing government agencies and other public sector organizations, please see our whitepaper on the subject: Making the Best of It: Why Tough Times Make Talent Management Essential in the Public Sector
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