Much like every other sector worldwide, the last year has created a unique set of challenges for US government agencies. The rapid switch to remote work, major staffing shortages, and growing skills gaps are proving increasingly challenging, especially when compounded with the global pandemic and the changing US administration. This post will explore two of the major challenges facing federal government today and the measures you can take to support your changing workforce.
Keeping Remote Workers Engaged
The global pandemic has accelerated the speed at which public sector organizations must adapt to the digital environment, which means supporting the widespread shift to remote working.
Eighty-two percent of US government executives expect to keep working remotely into the future. Pandemic or not, many government workers are realizing the benefits of remote working and expect to have this option going forward. But the benefits of remote working come with a potential drop in employee engagement levels as people lose the sense of camaraderie from spending time together in an office.
How to Engage Remote Federal WorkersWhether your federal employees are based in an office or remotely or participate in a blend of the two, help them maintain a sense of belonging with a learning experience platform (LXP). This will help your people share knowledge, collaborate on projects, and communicate with colleagues across the agency. Providing employees, regardless of where they are based, with a dedicated place to discuss ideas, collaborate, and solve problems together keeps everyone engaged and connected.
Running regular surveys will help you understand employee engagement levels. Comparing results between in-office and remote employees will help you determine what support each group might need.
Attracting and Retaining New TalentThe US government has a hiring challenge. The median age for US public servants is now 45.6, which is higher than almost every other American workforce. With high-level staff retirement numbers set to soar in the next few years, this leaves government agencies with a dilemma on their hands. How can agencies like yours attract and retain millennial and Gen Z employees as well as plug the looming staffing shortages with new workers?
This is a twofold issue. First, boomer and Gen X workers are staying in the workforce for longer, particularly in government roles. This leaves less space for new talent to join the government workforce. Second, when these older employees do retire, the changing expectations of younger employees means that many government agencies won’t be ready to sufficiently support new talent.
How to Diversify Your TalentFortunately, the all-important learning experience platform can also support your talent diversification efforts. Millennial and Gen Z workers particularly appreciate tools that support creative thinking and collaborative problem solving.
Building knowledge banks is an effective way to support the flow of information across your agency, enabling younger employees to learn from their more experienced colleagues. Coaching and mentoring programs can also bring together experienced and new talent to create useful working relationships and give new talent some much-needed support.
Finally, adopting a performance management system will allow you to create career paths with clear learning journeys, performance goals, and objectives. By integrating your performance management system with your learning management system, you can align courses and training activities with competencies and performance goals as well as monitor and manage staff capabilities to improve the upskilling process.
These are just two of the challenges facing US government agencies right now. Keep an eye out for our next post, in which we will outline two more challenges facing agencies like yours and how you can overcome them.