The Developing Evolution of Human Resources in Government

Human Resources (HR) in government has always been complex. From very specific hiring criteria to security clearances to battling the stereotypes of government work, it's never been a task for the faint of heart. Then came a global pandemic. HR departments had to quickly pivot to serve a remote workforce and find ways to continue filling positions critical to the government response to COVID-19.

To meet the needs of a remote workforce, HR needed a clear understanding of every job function within the organization to help guide employees on how to adapt their processes to complete that work remotely. It also meant ensuring that employees had the technology they needed to complete their work at home. As new laptops and software were issued, HR and IT had to work together to distribute and track the flow of new technology. As if serving existing employees was not enough, agencies also had to continue recruiting and hiring.

It has not all been easy or smooth, but a survey found that 100% of agencies reported they implemented new remote hiring processes. This included virtual onboarding, virtual interviews, electronic signatures, and virtual oath of office.

Beyond the immediate needs of transforming office workers into remote workers, government HR professionals have several other overarching challenges to contend with.

  • Re-skilling workers. Technology is enabling automation of rote, manual tasks, freeing up employees to take on more substantive work. While technology is by no means replacing humans, there is a need to re-train workers to take on the higher-value work they now have time for.
  • Customer experience. For HR the customer is the employee. These employees want to interact with HR the same way they interact with their bank or doctor. They want access to their data. No longer is it acceptable to have to email HR to find out your PTO balance. All employment data and benefits should be available via a portal with self-service options to complete routine transactions.
  • Performance management. A Govloop poll found 46% percent of respondents said that addressing poor performance was an area where they faced the most challenges. This issue can be impacted by many factors including hiring reforms that ensure the right people are being put in the best fit positions, training, and a focus on employee engagement.

There are a number of events to help people in HR roles, as well as those in other departments, create a more efficient and fulfilling experience for public servants.

  • ATD Government Workforce Summit (September 8-10, 2020; virtual) - This event is designed to share talent management, leadership, and workforce learning best practices with an emphasis on their practical application across government agencies. Presenters will discuss how to develop a pipeline of effective and high-impact public leaders, how agencies are tapping existing and potential resources across government to solve problems in an austere budget environment, and how to develop better practices in engaging and managing your workforce.
  • Shared Services Summit 2020 (September 16-17, 2020; virtual) - As indicated in several executive branch memos and policies, shared services should be a focus across government to create efficiencies and optimize the workforce by shifting resources to higher-value work and reducing duplication across agencies. Speakers will share their experience in all professional communities such as human resources, finance, logistics, training, information technology, security, grants management, health, and customer experience.
  • 6th Annual Government Employee Engagement & Internal Communications Strategies (September 17-18, 2020; virtual) - Hear how other government agencies are using strategic storytelling, employee engagement surveys, and internal communications to inspire and engage their staff. Learn how to improve and increase collaboration, recognize employee successes through engagement, and shape culture with multi-faceted internal communications across your agency.
  • Talent Management in the 21st Century (November 12, 2020; virtual) - Organizations must re-imagine best practices for attracting, growing, and retaining talent in this age of technological advancement. This event will cover how organizations can attract and retain talent, how to grow talent from within an organization, and guidance and objectives for talent management.

Let us know where you are learning about employee management, service, and engagement trends. Share your ideas in the comments.

Be sure to check out GovEvents for a complete listing of events, webinars, and library of on-demand events.

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