Delivering responsible skilling for a digital future
June 30, 2021
June 30, 2021
The public sector has been going through rapid change in both responding to the pandemic and adapting to new citizen demands. This pace of change is only likely to increase in the years to come. It will mean fundamentally new ways of working driven by new technology as well as completely new roles that respond to emerging demands from citizens. Developing the skills to respond to these changes cannot rest solely on employees. Now is the time for departments to re-examine their approach to skills development and ensure they are supporting their employees to thrive in the digital economy.
Unfortunately, recent research from Accenture suggests that current efforts may not be meeting these expectations. Only 28% of those surveyed in the UK as part of the Public Service as a Career of Choice research felt strongly that their employer provides the training they need to prepare for the future.
Fortunately, awareness is already growing around the need to develop the right skills for the future. As part of initiatives like the National Data Strategy1 and the GovTech Catalyst2 programme, the UK government is looking to accelerate the use of digital within the public sector to improve public services and drive employee engagement. Equally, the recent Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy3 has highlighted the importance of UK investment in areas like cybersecurity and digital skills.
There is a clear realisation that organisational success will rest on the ability to attract and develop the right skills to respond to new and emerging technologies, citizen expectations and working practices. This is a unique opportunity to rethink future skills not only in the context of an organisation’s needs but also, critically, in relation to its responsibilities to indvidual employees.
A responsible skilling approach must put the workers impacted by changes at the heart of its strategy. Not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it is increasingly expected. The same Accenture research cited previously found that future focused training was a major reason for recommending employers. Successful organisations will, therefore, need to create training programmes that align organisational and personal objectives.
How can public sector organisations achieve this balance? There are three immediate steps that can help start the process:
By combining these approaches, public sector agencies can identify the future skill needs of their teams, develop training approaches that empower workers and ensure that they can adapt to new roles and technology as they emerge.
The world, and indeed the public sector, is going through a period of profound change. Workers will need support, both in reskilling and around their broader needs. Meeting these needs is important – and not only because it is the best thing to do for workers. When people are supported in the right way their full potential is unlocked, and that means higher levels of productivity and a better service for citizens.
Accenture’s ‘Public service as a career of choice’ explores how to help create this environment. By combining survey data with the Net Better Off framework, it highlights five key priorities for governments as they support their employees to adapt, develop and succeed. Connect with Cheryl and Mark to discuss how these insights and the approach could be applied to support your teams.
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1 UK Policy Paper: National data strategy
2 How the GovTech Catalyst is helping to grow the GovTech sector
3Global Britain: The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy
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