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talent management

Understanding talent management in the public sector

The public sector is one of the most heavily people-centric industries. However, the fight for talent is heating up in key areas, like digital and technological skills. According to a McKinsey report, there’s a shortage of 8.6 million people across the EU. So how do public sector organizations ensure they’re attracting the best talent and getting the best from the talent they already have?

What is talent management?

The definition of talent management varies slightly from place to place. However, for many public sector organizations, talent management is the process and systems they use to attract, recruit, and retain the best people for the job. This helps HR further the goals of the business by driving the right skills at the right times.

Talent management, or talent planning, is a HR innovation that shifts the focus of your HR team from reactive to proactive—letting them concentrate more on strategy and high-value objectives than low-value day-to-day tasks. The goal is to envision HR as a true enabler of personal, strategic, and organizational growth, not simply an admin function. By knowing what your company needs and what your people are capable of, HR is in the mix at every level of the organization, driving everything from day-to-day projects to overall growth. This helps the public sector develop and grow its services more efficiently than ever.

Talent management lets your HR team move beyond proscriptive, top-down management. Instead, it develops a collaborative environment, where everyone focuses on being the best they can be and using the right people for the right things based on their capabilities (or talents), which boosts satisfaction and effectiveness in parallel.

Make talent management happen

Successful talent management requires a combination of strategically implemented processes and modern HR systems that bring all your systems and people together. This is as true for managing talent in the public sector as it is for any country. Even the EU realizes the value of taking a strategic approach to finding the best talent.

Right now, “the European Commission’s Digital Europe Programme has budgeted €700 million for initiatives such as offering 160 new master’s degree programs in cutting-edge digital technologies and training 80,000 digital specialists.” (McKinsey).

Similarly, in the public sector, many organizations use technology to make that process more straightforward. You can read more on how Unit4’s Talent Management software can deliver clearer insights and enable you to manage your talent and inspire your people. Here are some ways that software solutions can help you bring talent management to your organization.

Hire more effectively

Knowing the skills profiles your newest hires will need lets you seek them out where they are. This helps you identify and build relationships with institutions of interest like educational institutions and professional associations that can guide you to the best people in their fields out there.

Align project goals with people goals

You need to have the right conversations at the right time and, most importantly, between the right people. With access to all relevant information about work efforts, results and development combined with a library of conversation topics and issues, the development conversations between managers and employees always make sense.

Get an instant overview of results

Talent management systems will immediately give you a clear picture of results and progress. Meaning you can quickly update your organization, ensure all goals remain on track, identify issues, track trends within and between different departments, and know when to act in any situation.

Track engagement and performance levels on a rolling basis

The right solution speeds up work and gives you the time to focus on good work and identify areas where there is a need for improvement using regular constructive and encouraging feedback. You do this using 360-degree conversations, engagement pulses, workforce planning, performance management and more.

Why is talent management important now for the public sector?

The need for accelerated digital transformation

Recent events have transformed how every organization works, including those in the public sector. They’ve highlighted the significant need for rethinking how the public sector uses digital in the future.

The problem is, there’s a difference between realizing you need more digitally-minded people and finding them. McKinsey’s analysis suggests that public sector organizations in the EU alone will require an additional 1.7 people with technological skills by 2023. With the most significant skills gaps found in France, Germany, Italy and the UK. So what can public sector organizations do?

As McKinsey put it, Overcoming the skills gap is imperative for the public sector to succeed and to fulfill citizens’ growing expectations for public-sector service delivery.” So to find out how organizations are doing that, we spoke to over 100 international organizations aiming to understand the HR priorities before and after the Covid-19 crisis, find the full result in our Distributed Talent Management Handbook. Overall, we uncovered that digital transformation had become the biggest priority for most organizations.

Top priorities before Covid-19:

  1. Performance management 
  2. Continuous learning
  3. Digital transformation 

Top priorities after Covid-19:

  1. Digital transformation
  2. Employee wellbeing
  3. Remote work transition 

The technology is here

The tech you need for talent management has never been better, and the best solutions are getting better every day. Advances in AI and machine learning have enabled many organizations to better understand their people in ways that don’t require HR to predefine everything anymore. This means your HR people have more time for strategy and more personalized People Experiences.

New technology will help revolutionize talent management in the public sector and how the public sector works to deliver services, freeing people and skills to provide better and faster services across the board.

Make your people and services more agile

The public sector is changing at a breakneck pace, but how can this acceleration be an issue? Internally, problems arise when you try to manage this change, as lots of information can get lost in the communication flows between HR, managers, and people with a traditional top-down approach.

This can be even more problematic if, for example, you have teams in your organization working in a sprint-based system and your HR processes work on a traditional bi-annual evaluations system. There is a misalignment between both. That is why talent management is the future and present of HR.

Succeed with talent management for the public sector

With the competition for talent getting fiercer by the month, you can no longer rely on word-of-mouth referrals, trial-and-error job listings, or other “passive” forms of talent acquisition. And just as importantly, traditional forms of training, skills management, allocation of workers to projects, and the tracking and management of engagement can no longer be relied on to help you retain the people your organization relies on.

Modern talent management solutions let you create an ecosystem focused on value for your people and organization.

Want to know more about talent management?

We developed Unit4 Talent Management to fit the unique needs of public sector organizations with a forward-thinking approach to the ways their people deliver services and impact. Check out what Unit4 Talent Management can do for your organization today – and learn how it can help you overcome many of the challenges currently facing every part of the public sector. Or click here to book a short demo today.