How government agencies can engage employees with training
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.
In this post, we will explore two of the major challenges facing the federal government today, and the measures you can take to support your changing workforce.
Challenge #1: Keeping remote public sector employees engaged
The global pandemic has accelerated the speed at which public sector organizations must adapt to the digital environment, and that means supporting the widespread shift to remote working.
82% 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 will expect to have this option going forward. But with all the benefits of remote working comes a potential drop in employee engagement levels as people lose the sense of camaraderie from spending face-to-face time together in an office.
Solution: Adopt an engaging learning environment
Whether your federal employees are based in an office, remotely or 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, no matter where they are, with a dedicated place to discuss ideas, collaborate and solve problems together keeps everyone engaged and feeling connected.
Running regular surveys will help you understand employee engagement levels. Comparing results between in-office and remote employees will help you better understand what support each group might need.
Challenge #2: Attracting and retaining new talent
The US government has a hiring challenge.
The median age for US public servants is now 45.6 - 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, and plug the looming staffing shortages with new workers?
This is a twofold issue. Firstly, “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.
Secondly, when these employees do eventually retire, the changing expectations of the workforce today mean that many government agencies aren’t ready to support new talent sufficiently.
Solution: Mix up your talent pool
Fortunately, the all-important LXP 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 less experienced employees to learn from their more experienced colleagues.
Coaching and mentoring programs can also bring together senior 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 (LMS), you can align courses and training activities with competencies and performance goals, and 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, where we will be outlining two more challenges facing agencies like yours and how you can overcome them to engage government employees.