The public sector is in direct competition with the private sector to attract and retain talent. And often, non-government jobs win, with many candidates opting to pursue what seems to be the more attractive path.
While many of these candidates (or potential candidates) may have a passion for the work that government organizations would allow them to do, the inferior employee experience that sometimes comes along with working for the government often deters them.
Because of this, a shortage of applicants and short tenures are some of the main problems facing government organizations today. Especially when you consider that millennials, the generation accounting for a majority of the job market, dislike government jobs.
Technology as a Main Barrier
At the core of this is a subpar employee experience – and subsequently one of the biggest barriers to recruiting – is a lack of technology.
Digital transformation is happening across all industries, even the most traditional ones like government, legal, and banking. As this change sweeps across industries, having a thoughtful and thorough technological foundation in your organization is a critical piece of your core business strategy, no longer just a nice-to-have, if you want to attract and retain talent.
The Status Quo in Government: Manual and Outdated
Jobs in the public sector are not known to be at the cutting edge of technology. Often there is either a complete lack of technology, leading to many tedious and manual processes, or the technology that exists was implemented once years or even decades ago and never revisited.
Those in charge of tech and IT in government are painfully aware of these issues. 88% of federal IT employees stated that their organizations are behind on modernization. It’s not just tech teams noticing this shortfall, though. Client-facing and administrative teams are the ones who end up feeling the very real impact of unnecessarily time-consuming and unreliable processes that this lack of technology creates.
These frustrations will only grow more pronounced as younger, more tech-savvy generations join the workforce and rise in the ranks.
Creating a tech-forward, modern workplace will attract more passionate people who can help to drive change and innovation. It will also build a more engaged team that stays with you for longer.
The Benefits of Technology in Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent
In order to retain talent, and even to get them to join your organization in the first place, you need to demonstrate that you’re embracing the value of technology. Here are three key areas where your technological decisions can make or break the employment experience.
A Seamless Onboarding Experience
The onboarding experience you provide your new hires sets the tone for their entire working experience. It is their first real impression of how working within your organization will look. When you create a great onboarding process, you can increase employee retention by 82%. Conversely, a poor experience can increase the likelihood of disengaged employees, reducing your ability to retain talent.
In government, the onboarding process tends to be more advanced and extensive than in the private sector due to considerations around sensitive information, strict policies, and regulations. The right technology can streamline initial paperwork, account set-up, and training.
A tech-supported experience eliminates confusion, tedious emails, and common points of frustration. This is an especially pressing issue now that remote workers are more common and seemingly here to stay. All of this points to a demand for a digital-first onboarding experience.
Some tools that support this are:
- An onboarding platform like Workday or Atlas
- Document signing software like Docusign
- Chat software like Slack or Teams to connect both in-person and remote teams
- An easily searchable and sortable library for all materials that your team may need to access, such as manuals, documentation of rules and regulations, etc.
Using technology to support the onboarding process will not only make a positive first impression, but it will also empower your employees to spend more time connecting with team members and mentors in your organization. All this together leads to a better company culture, which is a key part of retaining talent.
Eliminating Tedious and Pen-and-Paper Processes
Public sector employees’ day-to-day routines are typically riddled with tedious tasks, whether with paper processes or outdated technology. These tasks are at the root of the problem.
Employees often go into the public sector because they are passionate about social impact, but when employees are forced to spend most of their time tracking down papers and performing complicated yet non-meaningful work, it impacts their engagement in the workplace, as well as their perception of how they are valued as a team member.
While some consumer processes have been digitized in government– for example, voting machines and basic DMV tasks – there is still a vast opportunity for modernization on the employee side. In 52% of government agencies, over 50% of their stored records are in physical paper format.
But even when tasks aren’t paper-based, employees are often bogged down by manual copying and pasting from multiple spreadsheets, an infinite number of system workarounds, and countless emails back and forth, among other inefficiencies.
Some good opportunities for eliminating tedious processes are:
- Creating a centralized system for internal file sharing
- Establishing processes for digital document collaboration
- Implementing digital fax servers
- Use a program management solution like Neighborly Software to unify all your processes into a single digital platform with cloud-based storage.
In addition to eliminating paper, automation-driven software like Power Automate, Zapier, or ClickUp can handle many of the monotonous tasks that your employees typically have on their plate, freeing them up for more important tasks.
Creating Efficient and Accurate Reporting Processes
In roles where employees are expected to show results from their work and/or draw conclusions from data they’re collecting, they face a large uphill battle without effective technology. Relying on paper processes or rudimentary technology leads to wasted time and error-prone processes.
This is perhaps the most crucial place to implement technology, because of the simultaneous importance of accurate reporting and the need to decrease frustrations employees face with these tasks.
Technology-Supported Reporting in Practice
In HUD, Participating Jurisdictions must complete extensive research and reporting around their 5-year consolidated plan, as well as their yearly plans to support it– and accuracy is crucial for compliance purposes. Having to pull together data over this 5-year period makes this process is one of the most grueling for these teams.
Technology can turn this cumbersome undertaking into a simple and reliable process. Neighborly Software’s Neighborlytics, our solution for Data as a Service, is one of the first solutions on the market to address this pain point. It brings together all the data about the work that your organization is doing and gives you easy access to clear visualizations in the form of dashboards, graphs, and a variety of other visualization structures.
The platform eliminates the need to manually piece together the full story and instead automatically generates it for you. This is useful both for internal tracking as well as for external reporting to key stakeholders like HUD, the mayor’s office, the board of county commissioners, or even the citizens in your community.
Technology like Neighborlytics makes it easier to see the change you’re making, remain compliant, and identify areas for improvement. But most importantly, it reduces the un-meaningful workload that consumes your team’s day, allowing them to focus on the meaningful work that creates long-term social impact.
Technology is Key to Creating a Meaningful and Attractive Workplace
Although government organizations have a reputation for not being tech-forward, this perception can change with intentional investments in solutions that will lead to an efficient and more fulfilling employee experience.
The application of technology solutions unleashes a hoard of tools that can greatly improve your employee experience. The handful of solutions discussed in this post alone are enough to help you attract and retain the dedicated and innovation-driven talent you want on your team.
To learn more about how Neighborly can help your organization leverage technology to create efficiencies schedule a demo with us today!