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2017 Human Capital Trends: A government perspective

Rewriting the rules for the digital age

Government agencies are in the midst of an economic and social transformation, marked by an accelerated rate of technological change, heightened career expectations, and new “rules” for employers. Across industries, the workplace, workers, and work itself are rapidly changing—and these changes are happening in government agencies as well. This report brings a government perspective to the trends, and illustrates that these trends are not just on the horizon but are already beginning to play out across the government space.

Explore the trends

In these times of change, leaders across government are being pressed to re-write the “rules” for how they organize, recruit, develop, manage, and engage 21st century employees.

Prepare leaders and organizations for the future
With the onset of new administrations, opportunities exist to inspire and recognize high-functioning government leaders. In the midst of transitions and reforms, government leaders should look to solutions that create agile, tailored, and “bite-sized” approaches to organizational transformation, steeped in innovations informed by leaders with digital mindsets.

Build a new talent management strategy
Attracting, acquiring, and retaining talent can be one of the largest challenges for agencies across the government. With a workforce made up of multiple generations, roles, teams, and evolving skillsets, finding the right people and building effective teams is mission critical.

Map the employee experience for empowerment, engagement & growth
For government organizations to empower leaders of today and tomorrow, they can use culture, engagement, and learning opportunities as tools to address the demands of the evolving workforce. Agencies that consider the entire lifecycle of their employees–from recruitment to retirement–and support career-long development and growth, can have a leg up on engaging their workforce.

Leverage digital, people analytics, and the future of work
Ready or not, the digital age is upon us–even in the public sector. Today’s rapidly changing environment urges leaders to leverage new and innovative digital technologies; embrace the “gig economy,” automation, cognitive tools, and the augmented workforce; and to use data and people analytics to transform the nature of work.

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Leadership disrupted: Pushing the boundaries

Leadership development is no longer strictly about training programs. Leaders need the right organizational context, especially during large-scale transitions; that is, a workplace environment able to encourage knowledge sharing, risk-taking, innovation, and growth. Government agencies should engage high-potential leaders in real-world scenarios that expose them to innovation and digital disruption to help develop a pipeline of leaders equipped to lead in a digital world.

Key takeaway: Innovation and risk-taking are key to government leaders effectively building a strong leadership pipeline.

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Take another turn

The organization of the future: Arriving now

Due to retirement impacts, leadership changes, and the growing need for specialized skills, the government is facing unprecedented workforce gaps.1 To help drive innovation while doing more with less, agencies can apply digital technologies along with concepts such as crowdsourcing, technological organization design, and design-thinking practices to empower teams. As the digital age progresses and technology advances, agencies should consider how to redeploy workers performing transactional tasks to more mission-centric work to enhance efficiency and engagement.

Key takeaway: The organization of the future is one with a digital mindset.

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Move forward

Talent acquisition: Enter the cognitive recruiter

With an aging workforce and a younger generation gaining a larger presence in the government, attracting and retaining talent is critical to meeting evolving missions.2 Government agencies should proactively “brand” themselves as engaging places to work through creative marketing strategies. They can also use modernized HR systems and methods to efficiently source and target candidates, and help reduce the time between receiving a resume to hiring an individual.

Key takeaway: Agencies should creatively re-brand themselves and use modernized HR systems to help quickly attract and hire talent.

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Start flag

Diversity and inclusion: The reality gap

Grass-roots efforts for diversity and inclusion (D&I)—especially prevalent in the midst of nation-wide social movements—can transform the ways in which D&I initiatives are designed and delivered. D&I is no longer just about equality, and employees count on leadership to think strategically about inclusion as a key component in achieving the mission.

Key takeaway: D&I is no longer just about equality—it’s a key component in achieving the mission.​

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Performance management: Playing a winning hand

In today’s diverse and evolving workforce, Performance Management (PM) should not be seen as a one-size-fits-all solution. To meet the modern needs of employees, PM of the future should be real-time, ongoing, and blended between formal and informal regular “check-ins.” This will help managers and leaders to see, recognize, and fuel performance regularly. PM should be a key driver in incentivizing exceptional work that drives the mission.

Key takeaway: PM of the future should be real-time, ongoing, and seen as a key driver–incentivizing work towards the mission.

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Three star score

The employee experience: Culture, engagement, and beyond

The government workforce has experienced fluctuations in employee engagement over the past decade, and while the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) data shows engagement is rising slowly, it still lags far behind the private sector.3 Agencies should redesign the employee experience end to end—from sourcing and recruitment to onboarding and retirement. Furthermore, as agencies re-write the rules for the digital age, viewing employees as customers has the potential to positively impact engagement and ultimately improve the experience of government customers.

​Key takeaway: Viewing your employees as internal customers “backstage” drives real customer experience outcomes on the “front stage.”

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People circle

Careers and learning: Real time, all the time

Government training has traditionally focused on onboarding, fulfilling compliance requirements, and building skills for current roles–as opposed to helping employees explore new skills, navigate careers, or follow one’s own interests. Learning is now seen as a continuous process, not an episodic event; and as an organization-wide responsibility, not confined to HR. To be able to meet the needs of the modern workforce, government agencies should shift from “training” to “learning” by offering real-time learning opportunities that enable employees to explore new skills and interests.

Key takeaway: Government agencies should enable employees to explore new skills and interests by offering real-time learning experiences.

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Digital HR: Platforms, people, and work

2017 may be the beginning of an HR revolution as real-time systems facilitated by smart technology take center stage. The future involves moving away from HR systems dependent on key personnel or manual entry, and towards a system built on knowledge bases that communicate the way employees now communicate (that is, via internet, instant messaging, and even text).

​Key takeaway: HR of the future leverages digital platforms that communicate the way employees do–online, in real time, and via multiple channels.

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Fastest route

​People analytics: Recalculating the route

In an increasingly data-driven world, people analytics is now being used to help make work and resource decisions. Using analytics to inform every part of a workforce strategy–from recruiting, to D&I, to benefits benchmarking, and succession planning–is critical in helping to meet an agency’s mission and guide future work.

Key takeaway: Using people analytics can help agencies better deploy their workforce and attract talent.

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Man and goods

The future of work: The augmented workforce

Using automation, cognitive tools, and computing means leveraging innovative technologies to help shift employees from executing routine tasks to performing truly mission-critical activities. Rather than replacing the roles of workers, these technologies complement the nature of work on a daily basis. These approaches, along with applying concepts such as crowdsourcing and leveraging part-time and contingent workforces, can redefine how people work across the government.

Key takeaway: Cognitive tools, automation, and workforce augmentation, can redefine the ways in which people work across government agencies.

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1 Deloitte Government Human Capital Team conducted over 25 interviews with Specialists across Human Capital with years of experience serving Government clients, 2016.

2 Deloitte Government Human Capital Team conducted over 25 interviews with Specialists across Human Capital with years of experience serving Government clients, 2016.

3 Federal Employee View Point Survey, OPM, 2016; Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings, Partnership for Public Service Data Source: Sirota and OPM, 2016 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.

View Human Capital Trends 2016.

Discover more in the Global Human Capital Trends report.

Learn more about Deloitte’s Federal Human Capital Services​​.

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