Tapping the talent pool for service innovation
Technology is driving government transformation - but who is driving the tech?
Public sector organisations are making advances in efficiency and cost-effectiveness thanks to digital platforms allowing them to overhaul operations. Tools are enabling a powerful combination of inputs that are ultimately leading to better outcomes and citizen experiences:
- Automation - streamlining manual tasks, that take time and resource, for incremental gains
- Observation - allowing users in many different departmental roles to monitor and manage their own area of focus
- Visualisation - a provision of data to aid forecasting and answer “what happens next?”
Before new technology can make its mark, organisations must take a step back to consider technical debt and the needs of service end users - which doesn’t automatically mean ‘rip and replace’.
This point was well made by Gina Gill, Chief Digital and Information Officer at the Ministry of Justice, in her keynote speech at Government Transformation Summit. Gina shared how her organisation is transforming its operations to support a world-class justice system that works for every citizen by offering a simpler, fast and better user experience.
Talent attraction and retention starts with culture
But none of this will work without a potent mix of expertise, enthusiasm, innovation and agility - and that must come from your talent.
You firstly need to recognise what talent you require in your team to seize the opportunities provided by the technology. Then consider ways to attract those candidates who may see better opportunities to build careers in the private sector.
How can this be done? It doesn’t have to be about competitive salaries alone. Organisations are changing to reflect the new world of hybrid work, promoting the agility and autonomy that make employees more engaged.
The sheer variety of a tech-based role in public sector service delivery can excite the computer science graduate, even persuade those previously focused on the private sector to give government a go. These people will be working with real, live situations - and positively changing real lives as a result - at the cutting-edge of machine learning and Artificial Intelligence-based transformation.
Culture is key. At SolarWinds, we offer sabbaticals as well as a quarterly ‘day of wellness’. Managers plan so their entire teams can take a full day for themselves without chalking off annual leave. These are simple, cultural gestures that are making a big difference to our staff retention rates. And as we all know, it costs more to find and hire employees than it does to retain them.
When all is said and done, transformation is not about tech alone but the people - leadership and employees - behind it.
So, diversify your talent pool; transform your culture to encourage employee autonomy; embrace their fresh approach to innovation; improve performance. Sounds simple! We all know it isn’t - but having the right people in place as a layer of expertise on top of the technology will go a long way towards delivering successful outcomes.
As a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT management software to the public and private sector - with client experience including the the Ministry of Defence, Home Office and Maritime and Coastguard Agency - it was fascinating for my SolarWinds colleagues and I to observe how others at Government Transformation Summit handle the need for new skills and diverse workforces.
There’s no cure-all for a talent shortage, but collaboration is key to closing the gap and driving forward excellence in service delivery.
Hear more from Charles about service design and finding the right talent in our podcast discussion: