Public Service Transformation: public sector human resources and talent management

In 2011, the Institute on Governance surveyed public service leaders at the federal and provincial levels who told us that the need for modernizing services and programs was a key concern.

The interviews for this update, sponsored by Monster Canada and conducted from October 2013 to March 2014, again asked public sector leaders what their concerns were and how optimistic they felt about being able to deal with them effectively and efficiently.

The Institute on Governance interviewed Deputy Ministers and other leaders from the federal government and five provincial governments, as well as CEOs of public sector corporations at all three levels of government, to obtain their views on the role of governance as it relates to public sector human resources and talent management. Specifically, we asked them to comment on strategic issues related to:

The changing role of government, Organizational agility and resilience, and Leadership and talent management.

The public service leaders made keen and insightful comments on these issues. What was perhaps surprising, however, was the close similarity in their concerns, hopes and thoughts, nuanced as they often were for the particularities of their organization.

This review has two important findings.

First, public sector leaders indicated that the most important issue affecting public governance is the omnipresence of social media and the implications it is having for the role of the public service in providing policy advice and in delivering programs and services. Public sector leaders interviewed were optimistic about the ability of the public sector to adjust to this new reality, though they admitted that it would take some time to do so.

Second, the skills and competencies needed for public servants and public sector leaders to be successful in this new environment are much different than those needed in the past. Public sector leaders were almost unanimous in their concerns as to whether their human resource advisors had the capacity to assist them in transforming their workforce.


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