HR Insights
November 16, 2022

Improving the employee experience for the public sector’s next generation

Retiring workers will have a massive effect on the workforce. As hiring slows, more organizations are redefining their employee value proposition to retain their current workforce. Read about three key areas your people care about.

Table of Contents

With every new generation comes new expectations. The public sector has a reputation for being slow to innovate, and now, government organizations face the dual challenge of a aging workforce and outdated enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems that don’t help engage existing workers. The public sector must make employee engagement a priority, given that a dwindling workforce won’t be able to provide quality service to citizens.

Many companies in other sectors are recognizing the value of investing in the employee experience as an important strategy for recruiting, retaining, and engaging their talent. Improving the employee experience starts with revitalizing your HR and workforce management processes to put people first.

The public sector used to rely on ERPs for many business processes, but the modern workplace has become more complex. Pay rules, benefits, and HR functions are no longer simple, back-office functions that basic tools like ERPs can handle. The lack of functionality adds a lot of manual processes to HR’s workload when they could be focusing on more pressing pain points, such as low employee engagement in the light of “quiet quitting” and understaffing challenges.

The past, present, and future of the public sector

Today, 8.1% of the federal workforce is younger than 30 compared to 23% of the private sector workforce according to Deloitte. The public sector is facing a unique challenge of employing fewer younger workers as a Silver Tsunami of older workers retires.

Different generations are also more likely to have different motivations and expectations of their employer, given the last two years. For example, Gallup found the pandemic effects were more detrimental for millennials and working-age Generation Z. These age groups were more likely to have temporarily stopped working, received less pay, and experienced higher stress, meaning work may have taken a backseat in their daily life. 

When organizations modernize their employee value proposition, they often look to add on benefits that match employee needs. Many employees want to be treated as people who have lives outside of work and want more control over when they work instead of having a schedule dictated to them.

In order to plan for their workforces of the future, government organizations need to reconsider their experience at work and prioritize employee well-being. Your organization needs to provide a better employee experience for people working remotely and on site, which is critical for retaining managers and employees alike.

Putting people at the center of new processes

Organizations today spend an average of $2,500 per employee, per year on employee experience, according to Gartner. Your employee value proposition is essential for providing an experience that focuses on your employees as people, not simply workers helping run your organization. When you’re transforming your operations and human resources processes, these changes should make work a more positive experience. This includes more efficiency, more personalization, and an easier user experience for everyday, essential tasks.  

Often, ERP systems can’t get to the heart of these challenges. In comparison, human capital management (HCM) solutions are designed for people processes. They can empower your people to take charge of their own work lives. These solutions can help with scheduling challenges, such as employees trading shifts and independently creating time-off requests. Modern scheduling solutions can allow managers to plan an optimal schedule without paying costly overtime.

What’s better for your employees can also be better for your organization. A unified platform can help improve your operational efficiency by providing workforce intelligence in real time to leaders making quick decisions about staffing. With a people-first scheduling system, the public sector can better organize all its services in addition to improving the employee experience and productivity.

Reducing your administrative workload

The public sector has a reputation for being slow-moving and risk-averse, but the pandemic has shown speed is possible when the stakes are high enough. Managing public-sector operations can include multiple divisions, including police officers, firefighters, and city maintenance. When your timekeeping and payroll systems heavily rely on manual processes and paperwork, it can be difficult to manage a growing workforce or handle last-minute schedule changes.

Consider how your employee personnel systems handle online requests. ERP systems aren’t built with advanced capabilities in mind, such as simplifying compliance tasks, mobile self-service, or automating workflows.

Automating lower-value tasks can help reduce your middle managers’ administrative workload and give them back time in their day for more strategic work for their teams.

From an employee perspective, people want self-service options so they can independently access their information and complete tasks without assistance. For example, many millennials and Gen Z employees expect to have easily available information and the same user experience that they encounter on other platforms and apps that they interact with. Self-service empowers your people to have more agency over their workday needs and to spend less time going back and forth with your HR team.

In addition to improving efficiency, a dedicated HCM system can also enhance the employee experience by helping your team reduce risk at scale. Reducing risk across your workforce is a valuable motivator for retaining managers and HR who are tasked with managing compliance in everyday tasks, such as fair scheduling, proper payroll deductions, and other requirements.

Engaging and upskilling your people

People want their employer to acknowledge their individual career aspirations. Fifty-two percent of respondents of Ceridian’s 2023 Pulse of Talent survey say that they’d consider staying with their employer if they provided personalized growth plans and training opportunities.

Creating a culture of continuous learning can provide an attractive employee experience for people who are looking for a workplace that allows them to grow their skills for their own career. Instead of holding training sessions on an annual basis, rethink how you support your people and their individual growth. Nurturing a workplace culture of learning can even help encourage better knowledge management for future hires at your organization.

Offering a personalized learning experience can be a powerful tool to empower your people and improve the employee experience. You can execute this engagement strategy with the support of learning management systems that provide training catered to individual interests. With a personalized, self-service learning experience, this advanced career development tool can help attract and retain millennial and Gen Z workers. Providing personalized training is a win-win for government organizations and their employees alike. Specialized HCM systems can help organizations work towards closing the skills gap and training their people for the skills that both the individual and greater organization will need for the future.

A people-centered solution is essential for improving the employee experience, especially as it relates to efficiently managing your workforce. To learn more about boosting employee engagement in the public sector, read The benefits of employee-centric workforce management for the public sector.

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