HCMG

December 11 - 12, 2017

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Using Cloud-Based Human Capital Management to Recruit and Retain the Best Government Employees


Today, government organizations face several unique challenges when it comes to building the next generation of leaders. With shrinking budgets, an ageing workforce, and recent pay and hiring freezes decreasing morale, federal human resources professionals need to figure out not only how to recruit young, top talent, but how to retain these future leaders for the long-term.

According to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), millennials will make up approximately 75% of the national workforce by 2025. However, only 11% of current government employees are millennials – an issue that indicates the potential for a major talent gap in the industry.

Indeed, research from Cornerstone OnDemand in association with WBR Digital, published in the HCMG 2017 Benchmark Study, found that the number one talent management priority of government employers in 2017 is recruiting people with the right skills for the job, with leadership development, succession planning, and identifying and retaining top performers also of notable concern.

(Image source: hcmg.wbresearch.com)

But hiring the best and the brightest and retaining them for the long-term is a lot easier said than done for government HR professionals and hiring managers. Competition from the private sector is particularly rife. An excellent employee leaving the public sector because it is felt that their needs aren’t being met in the way that another organization can is a story that many will be familiar with.

And there are other workforce challenges facing government agencies, too – a lack of millennial interest due to the perception that there is no room to grow in public service, the current uncertainty surrounding the public sector in general, increased scrutiny and pressure, and of course the ongoing issue of baby boomers reaching retirement age and taking skills and knowledge with them when they leave.

As Steve Dobberowsky, Principal of Thought Leadership and Advisory Services at Cornerstone OnDemand puts it:

“It is an especially hard time for the public-sector workforce because employees may not be feeling the love internally from management, and they’re also getting scrutinized by the public.”

Technology Is Redefining When, Where, and How Employees Work

Today’s employees – particularly millennial employees – also want more from their jobs than a regular pay check and the promise of a good pension after 30 years. “When we start looking at what’s important to the workforce, individuals no longer want just cash or salary incentives,” Dobberowsky said. “Employees want to know that their employer has their career development in mind and that they will have flexible work hours.”

Flexibility is indeed important. Technology is not only redefining when employees work, but how they work – today’s employees expect to be empowered to work anytime, anywhere, and on any device, ensuring that work-life balance issues can be self-managed. But in order to facilitate and foster the sort of environment that employees want, agencies must embrace solutions that allow HR professional to effectively manage government employees across the entire hire-to-retire lifecycle.

As Jim Gill, Vice President of Government for Cornerstone OnDemand, explains:

“We’re starting to recruit a new generation of the government workforce. Their daily lives are dictated by how they communicate and how they conduct their personal lives with this rapidly changing technology. They’re used to consuming information and discussing that information in real time. They’re going to expect forward-thinking technologies where they have a lot of collaboration in the workforce, as well as visibility and transparency into the mobility of their career path.”

Unified Human Capital Management Solutions

Such solutions, Gill says, should be built around the needs of employees in order to meet talent strategy objectives. He cites cloud-based technologies that help organizations recruit millennials by giving hiring managers access to real-time data about the talent pool as an example. Specifically, unified systems solutions that give HR teams one cloud-based portal to work with are particularly effective. These enable the accessibility of all workforce data at every phase of the employee lifecycle through a single interface, which helps agencies better manage limited resources, and make more data-driven decisions about recruiting, training, performance management, and succession planning. “That gives HR professionals, as well as senior government officials, the ability to make informed decisions about the current workforce and the size and needs of the future government workforce,” Gill said.

Importantly, such solutions also facilitate employee engagement, as they enable organizations to develop career tracks so that employees and prospective employees can see a future in the organization, and don’t feel like they are stuck in a dead-end job.

If a dedicated, public sector workforce for the future is to be fostered, government organizations need to systematically develop employees, which means HR professionals finding ways to increasingly manage people instead of paperwork – and this is exactly what cloud-based human capital management solutions are designed to enable.

The last word goes to Jim Gill.

“There has never been a more important time for government agencies to get strategic about the workforce. A unified human capital management solution enables government organizations to build the workforces they need by providing a single, streamlined tool instead of a series of disconnected programs. In turn, HR staff can spend less time on paperwork and manual data entry and more time focusing on strategic planning and data analytics. They’re empowered to better serve employees, deliver more effective programs and improve organizational and employee performance.”


Hear Cornerstone OnDemand’s Steve Dobberowsky, Principal of Thought Leadership and Advisory Services, for his keynote session ‘Help HR Be Courageous!: Unified Talent Management for the Modern Agency’ at HCMG 2017 this December.

Download the HCMG 2017 Agenda to learn more.