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Report Details Difficulties in Cultivating Workforce for Digital Transformation

As reported recently by Nextgov (Most Government Orgs Fail to Meet Digital Transformation Objectives, Report Finds), a recent Ernst & Young report found that less than 10 percent of government leaders said their organization achieved its digital transformation objectives. The report found that government workforces face several challenges in their digital transformations:

  • Employee experience is not designed for fulfilling, rewarding jobs with a sense of purpose.

  • Outdated skills development and recruitment processes.

  • A lack of "digitally aware leaders who can reimagine the citizen experience."

  • A "reactive and risk-averse" work environment, rather than "dynamic and innovative" (which creates a challenge to attract the best talent).

  • Digital and data skills fall under IT specialists but should be skills every employee learns.

"The rapid shift to digitalization during the COVID-19 pandemic gave a tantalizing glimpse of just what is possible when governments empower their workforces to experiment with bold new approaches," the report stated. "But there's a danger that this momentum will stall if the public sector simply lapses back into old ways of working, which are too often burdened by excess bureaucracy, hierarchical career structures, rigid job descriptions, and limited training."

The report stated that in less than 18 months, technology, including AI, would perform 43% of public sector task hours. Furthermore, as machines work more, "technology is more likely to replace specific tasks than entire jobs, augmenting the work that people do." Therefore, public sector workers must develop skills to adapt to this changing environment.

According to the report, the focus needs to be the development of a digitally skilled workforce. Such a focus would require competent leadership to redesign the workforce design, including capacity, skills, way of working, culture, and experience.

The report recognized trends that may require readjustment for government workforces, such as the new hybrid work environment, including over three-quarters of public sector workers wishing to work from home at least two days per week. Other difficulties include:

  • Continual technology disruption.

  • Changing expectations of workers.

  • Ever-changing employee demographics and expectations.

  • Job requirements.

According to the report, "If governments do not urgently set about reconfiguring the workforce, they will find themselves without the skilled employees they need. Opportunities to improve services through harnessing data and technology will be lost."

The report recommended that governments examine future workforce needs, find ways to deploy talent, and focus on methods to encourage current employees and attract new talent. One component of attracting new talent includes an environment that encourages workers to "work smarter, use data insights and embrace innovation."

To read the entire article from Nextgov