How to upskill & retain public sector employees

By Kayleigh Tanner

Federal government agencies are in the fortunate position of having a lot of very skilled, very experienced talent. However, the pandemic has cast a spotlight on skills gaps in government agencies, and the US federal government is no different. 

That is why US government agencies must act now to ensure that their people are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to perform at their full potential in the years to come.  

In this piece, we will take a look at two ways federal agencies can get the best out of their existing talent. 

Upskilling existing government employees 

While 69% of government organizations recognize the importance of reskilling, just 32% feel prepared to address this growing need.  

Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends reports that two major changes HR must make are: 

• Increasing new capabilities to thrive in the digital age through digital fluency and analytics 

• Changing the organizational design to incorporate more agile and team-based work 

The World Economic Forum’s 2020 Future of Jobs report states that some of the vital skills today’s employees will need by 2025 include creativity, resilience and stress tolerance and technology use, showing that soft skills are just as important as technical skills. These skills are crucial for government agencies as they learn to navigate new technology requirements, increasingly complex cybersecurity threats and new ways of working. 

How to reskill government talent

Reskilling government employees means putting an extra focus on your performance management.

With the right performance management system, you can update your employees’ competency frameworks to include the new skills they will need going forward. Creating competency goals will help you align performance with reskilling goals and keep your people on track. 

You can also support collaborative learning and knowledge sharing, helping to break down silos and drive upskilling efforts across entire teams by enabling the sharing of new and important skills. Use a learning experience platform (LXP) to facilitate conversations across the agency, and recognize and reward those employees sharing especially valuable contributions. 

Increasing organizational efficiency 

Efficiency will always be a concern for federal agencies. The more efficient your processes, the more you can achieve, making the removal of learning and development roadblocks a priority for federal government agencies.  

19% of government employees say that a lack of visibility across the organization is a common cause of frustration and delay. Improving communications and workflows is key for agencies looking to increase efficiency, and will help your people achieve their goals without getting tied up in additional administrative processes. 

How to remove roadblocks

Opt for adaptable learning technology wherever possible, that fits your exact needs and doesn’t slow you down with overly rigid processes and workflows that don’t suit your agency. 

A single, multi-tenant platform will help ensure consistency across agencies and improve management of shared resources, while simultaneously maintaining a unique learning experience for each agency. 

Sharing e-learning courses and resources with other agencies, along with holding cross-agency training events, is an effective way to reduce the duplication of effort and ensure your training budget stretches further. 

Instead of creating the same course multiple times, liaise with other agencies to find out if the content already exists, and equally share your own solutions with your government peers for increased efficiency across the US government. 

Be sure to read our first installment if you haven’t already, which reveals how you can better manage your changing government workforce. These tips should help US federal agencies adapt to the changing world of work, and ensure that your people have the necessary skills, knowledge and behaviors to move with the times and succeed long into the future.