The pandemic has revealed the role public sector professionals can play in fostering a spirit of resilience and connectivity in our societies. While the pandemic is coming to an end, demand for innovation within the public sector is not. There are still many residual challenges facing the public sector as we progress through 2022. Pandemic related disruptions, technological innovation and demands for climate action are all testing the public sector’s ability to adapt.
Public Sector entities are experiencing increased public scrutiny, difficulties attracting and retaining employees and rapid technological innovation. Solutions to these issues can range from introducing employee wellness programs to optimizing policies for climate action. These challenges, and the solutions required to fix them, will require the public sector to demonstrate its capacity for internal and external change.
The following transformative trends are examples of how the public sector is evolving, and how it can answer the call to become role-models of innovation to help create a better tomorrow.
1. Prioritizing Employee Well Being
A recent spike in employees quitting their jobs, especially in the U.S, has highlighted the need for organizations to improve their approach to employee wellbeing. In a 2021 survey conducted by Alight, 83% of people surveyed agreed that employer-provided wellbeing programs enhance their employment experience. Prioritizing the wellness of employees is an excellent way to increase employee satisfaction and lower employee turnover, which is especially important considering the ongoing global labor shortage.
The public sector will continue to see a trend in implementing policies, programs, and practices that advance employee wellbeing. This can be achieved by combining protection from work-related safety and health hazards with the promotion of injury and illness-prevention efforts. Policies that protect against discrimination and harassment, and support employee mental health will not only reduce employee-related injury, but also support your workforce’s psychological well-being. These practices serve to benefit both employees and employers by improving workplace safety, employee recruitment and retention in a tight labor market.
2. Labor Shortages
Reports of employers being unable to find workers has been a common issue across the globe. According to a recent study conducted by Microsoft, 41% of the global workforce will consider leaving their current employer within the next year. The demand for workers has created a job-seekers market and employers are having a difficult time finding qualified candidates to fill open positions.
These labor shortages are being caused by many issues, ranging from demands for better pay and flexible working arrangements, to aging workers choosing to retire instead of returning to the workforce post-lockdown. According to PEW research, employees in the United States are citing low pay, no opportunities for advancement, and feeling disrespected at the workplace as reasons for leaving their job.
As job turnover rates increase and labor market participation declines, public sector institutions are left with the challenging task of developing policies that will entice and retain workers. Employers may be forced to hire ill-suited candidates, and a lack of staffing can leave the public sector vulnerable to mistakes and foregone opportunity, ultimately creating challenges due to pressures from increased public scrutiny.
3. Increased Pressure from Public
A surmounting amount of pressure is being placed on the public sector to respond to rising expectations from the public. People are calling on the public sector for improvements to a variety of different areas including education, health care, and social services.
Due to an increased awareness of the environment throughout society, there is a growing amount of pressure for the public sector to deliver climate action. Extreme weather conditions brought on by climate change are affecting the delivery of water, power, and other services. The public sector can answer this call by developing and implementing solutions that help support a green economy. For example, in Canada, the provincial governments of Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia, have made commitments to the public to become carbon neutral.
The public sector will also continue to feel pressure from the public to both reduce their overall expenditures and increase their efficiency to ensure a strong post-pandemic economic recovery. Often, the public sector can struggle with financing and operating budgets, which forces them to do more with less. These tight budget requirements are creating a demand for technological innovation within the sector to improve efficiency and support cost reduction.
4. A Greater Dependency on Technology
During the pandemic, a swift move to fully remote work environments accelerated an already increasing dependence on technology. This shift has revealed how the public sector can use technological innovation to create a new source of growth, improve efficiency, and reduce labor costs.
Digital transformation can be found across many areas of the public sector, from infrastructure to customer service. Smart technology is being applied to infrastructure to enable more efficient monitoring of transportation networks, human services, and public safety operation, while customer service is being transformed by social media and mobile platforms. As traditional methods continue to be replaced by digital innovations, it will be essential for the public sector to find new ways to adapt with technology.
5. Automation Remains Top Priority
Automation is a prime example of how the public sector can utilize technology to adapt. Manual processes for repetitive tasks are increasingly being overtaken by software and devices. Automation makes way for more productive and efficient use of employee’s time, which supports overall cost reduction allowing for better utilization of funding.
Automation can also be used to improve customer service in the public sector by speeding up customer response time and providing around-the clock access to information. This can be achieved through utilizing technologies like AI chat bots and self-serve online libraries. A global study conducted by McKinsey & Company in 2018 found that customers in the public sector who are satisfied are nine times more likely to agree that an agency is delivering on its mission. In 2022, we are expected to see a continued rise in using automation to complement the complex and nuanced nature of work conducted in the public sector.
How Sodales Can Help Public Sector Organizations Adapt to These Trends
There are many challenges currently facing the public sector, from the tightening labor market, environmental crises, and rapid technological evolution. In the face of these challenges, the public sector must make changes internally to ensure they are able to deliver value to society and drive change. One of the common themes throughout all the above trends is the need for technological innovation.
Sodales offers an innovative solution that helps highly regulated industries streamline their organizational compliance and employee relations processes with modern tools. This can allow industries to improve their use of time and spending to ensure they can answer the public’s call.
The Sodales platform provides a single portal for managing health, safety and employee relations business processes for occupational and non-occupational incidents, disability claims, grievance management, disciplines, seniority, and job bidding processes.
Sodales allows industries to go from reactive incident management to proactive incident prevention using a singular centralized platform. This approach allows industries in the public sector to implement fair actions, and consistent policy interpretation for all incidents, cases, grievances, and disciplines using integrated policy books.
The public sector can lead by example when managing employee health and safety and employee relations initiatives using Sodales. Contact Sodales today to book a demo to learn more about how we can help your industry optimize internally, so your time can be spent making meaningful change.