In earlier posts, I wrote about a recent NASCA study that identified where the public sector is falling behind the private sector when it comes to attracting and building the workforce of the future. I then explored how states can reshape recruiting – including modernizing job descriptions – to begin closing that gap. For this final post in the series, I’d like to focus on the need to transform employee experience and, more specifically, opportunities to use automation to address that goal.

I’ll admit that the idea of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) can elicit fear and uncertainty among state employees. But I would argue that when well designed and implemented, automation should instead generate anticipation and excitement. That’s because automation can help reduce or eliminate the mundane and repetitive tasks that consume so much time for state workers. When most of that red tape and paperwork is handled seamlessly in the background, state workers have more time for meaningful and high-impact activities that move the meter on better public services AND better outcomes.

That’s good for citizens and communities. It’s also good for employee experience and satisfaction – especially among younger generations in the workforce. In fact, a NEOGOV study found that access to the latest technology is more important for young workers than for other generations. Among public-sector jobseekers, 43 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds indicated that the government’s readiness to adopt the latest technology had a major impact on their willingness to work in the public sector. That was true of just 35 percent of those 35 or older.

The latest research by NASCA, Accenture and NEOGOV suggests that state chief administrators have a lot of untapped potential when it comes to automation. While 92 percent of private-sector executives believe their organizations will automate tasks and processes across all functions to large or very large extent over the next three years, just 21 percent of state leaders said the same. What’s more, state chief administrators told us they aren’t extensively using AI (42 percent to a small extent and 27 percent not at all) or robotic process automation (36 percent to a small extent and 49 percent not at all).

That isn’t to say no one is making progress in using automation to improve employee experience.

Our full report, Job One for States: Reimagine Your Workforce, highlights some exciting work underway in California and Kansas. And it offers additional recommendations for how to transform employee experience – from streamlining job searches to modernizing evaluations and getting serious about succession planning.

Spend some time reviewing the findings and recommendations – and feel free to share your thoughts on what it will take for states to reimagine their workforces for the future.

To learn more, visit us here and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Bill Kilmartin

Former Comptroller – Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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