A public sector perspective: Human Capital Trends 2021

Making the shift from “survive to thrive”

The 2021 Global Human Capital Trends report identifies five critical trends from the 2020 report that merit continued exploration and evaluation given how they are impacting organizations in today’s environment.

Looking forward

The world has changed, and so has our approach to analyzing and thinking about the forces that impact organizations. As the public sector makes the shift from survive to thrive, leaders must focus on crafting a positive employee experience and harnessing human strengths that enable the broader organization to flourish.

In our 11th year of conducting the largest study into the trends that affect the workplace, we have narrowed the focus to understanding what characteristics can support organizations in their shift from survive to thrive. This year, we are revisiting five critical trends from our 2020 report that merit continued exploration and evaluation based on the lessons learned from the pandemic and how they are impacting public sector organizations in today’s environment. These five were intentionally selected as different lenses of examining the human experience of working in the public sector. By addressing these five trends, organizations can bring out the human strengths that make thriving possible.

Addressing these new needs and challenges requires looking at the human experience from different angles. Survey responses consistently highlighted well-being as a critical priority for employees, with burnout impacting morale, productivity, and overall retention. Leadership must infuse well-being into the structure of work, allowing employees to weigh in on the flexibility and programming that will empower them and make them successful. Expanding workforce analytics to include those personal preferences, goals, and choices allows organizations to be proactive in creating a desirable employee experience and to accommodate their workforce in a strategic manner instead of remaining reactive. Armed with these insights, HR is equipped to take a front seat in driving their organizations towards positive change as an advisor and leader.

As government and public sector organizations look to the future, the importance of investing in a human-centered employee experience, and the increased use of technology and innovative work practices will continue to be at the forefront of decision making for organizations.

A public sector perspective: Human Capital Trends 2021

This year’s human capital trends for government

Read about this year’s trends, then download the full report to see the data and examples of these trends in action—today—in public sector organizations. Below are the key trends that public sector respondents to our 2021 Global Human Capital Survey address:

  1. Designing work for well-being: The end of work/life balance. Integrating employees’ physical, mental, financial, and social health into the design of work itself rather than addressing well-being with adjacent programs.
  2. Beyond reskilling: Unleashing worker potential. Capitalizing on employee agency and choice as the means to drive learning, adaptability, and impact.
  3. Superteams: How work happens. Creating teams that use technology to enhance natural human ways of working.
  4. Governing workforce strategies: Setting new directions for work and the workforce. Developing and acting on forward-looking insights using real-time data.
  5. A memo to HR: Accelerating the shift to rearchitecting work. Shifting HR’s role from standardizing and enforcing workforce policies to a new responsibility of rearchitecting work across the enterprise.

For more information on each trend, including specific examples of public sector organizations putting the trends into action, download the full report.

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The journey to digital transformation in the Public Sector

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