Implementing cultural transformation tools is a great way to improve a working environment and improve public services, from AI and 5G to blockchain technology. It’s becoming more prevalent for local councils and other public services to invest in emerging technology - so here’s why and a few of the tools available on the market today.
(Please note this list isn’t exhaustive.)
- Enhancing Communication Through Technology
- Utilising Big Data
- Identifying and Retaining Talent
- Prioritise New Technology
Enhancing Communication Through Technology
Good inter-departmental communication is vital for any organisation, whether it’s in the public or private sector. By boosting the efficiency of communication, you can influence productivity and increase skill and information/data sharing.
For public services, this is especially crucial. Better communication means better services. This enhances the process of providing for the everyday citizens who are interacting with government services up and down the country.
In 2015, the Government Communication Services (GCS) wrote in a report: “Unless public service communications in the UK changes profoundly, one thing that can be said for certain is that it will be left behind.”
What the GCS found in their report is public service communications will increasingly require more technical skillsets and ease-of-access, such as data analytics, behavioural science and content creation techniques. What also applies is that public services need to increase communications within themselves and with collaborators and partners.
It also means public services, through the use of new technology, can nurture relationships with the general public, increasing trust through better digital engagement. It’s about developing public service campaigns and projects that include digital communications and social media presence from the start, rather than having them as an afterthought.
There’s a vast amount of digital communication aids available for use within public services that aid in external communication, for example:
- Chatbots - Algorithm-based services that provide human-like responses and support to customers and the like.
- Email automation - Automated emails that use templates and target the right people at the right time help to create an easier workflow for public sector employees and a better information service for the public. Once an individual has made an action, they can be targeted with the appropriate email, showing them the next steps.
- Two-way SMS - Effective at improving contact on-the-go, as well as communicating with a large group of people in emergency circumstances.
- Personalised web experiences - Rather than creating a single experience for all, a website can be tailored to offer bespoke content for a visitor based on past usage. If the visitor has previously given personal information, personalisation can target them directly, even using their name, to deliver content that the visitor is more likely to engage with.
- Responsive web design - Essentially, this is the process of creating a website that reacts to the user’s behaviour and what device they’re using. For example, it would mean that a website would appear differently for smartphone users as opposed to laptop or tablet users. Responsive web architecture can adjust to the needs and interactions of a user or group. It can include things like fluid layouts, media queries, scripts to reformat web pages and adjustable screen resolutions.
Utilising Big Data
Big data is changing the way knowledge is both developed and transferred and is helping to increase the collaboration between public services and other partners. On the utilisation of data, the Chief Executive of the Civil Service, John Manzoni, said:
“The rapid advances in technology and the development of analytical tools and techniques mean we can now gather and share data in huge quantities. We can process and analyse it at previously unimaginable speeds. We can draw conclusions and create policies and services that reflect how people live now.”
But how are big datasets being used?
In the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), big data is being analysed to provide job-seekers with more targeted advice and an increased amount of opportunities that match their profiles. They’re also using big data for processes such as interactive visualisations of benefit claimant trends.
Big data also helps any marketing efforts. By using the relevant marketing technologies (such as CRMs), organisations can analyse their marketing activity in real-time which can then be subsequently adapted. For example, campaigns can be optimised for maximum efficiency, especially if public services can find technologies that provide historical and predictive modelling.
Through the use of company-wide platforms, key data can be identified and analysed, helping to create a more informed public service. This must be done in a completely ethical way, compliant with the most current GDPR procedures and with full consent from the individuals involved.
Identifying and Retaining Talent
Cultural transformation, employee engagement, talent retention - they all feed into each other. Identifying and retaining talent is an incredibly important part of supporting cultural transformation, as effective talent management creates a stronger, more proactive workforce. It’s especially important to be able to identify and retain those individuals who have the right digital skills and are constantly learning with the growing digital environment. This is so public sector ranks are bolstered by the talent that will reinforce any transformation goals.
Organisations are only as good as their workforce, so the hiring process is an important foundation for building an effective public service. Technology has now enabled us to enhance the hiring process through the use of algorithms.
Enhancing company culture and retaining talent depends upon the ability of employees to provide feedback. Feedback apps, pulse tools and social networking are providing a more flexible base for real-time feedback - rather than waiting for the annual employee survey. Even free, simple tools such as SurveyMonkey are being used to provide employees with more of a voice.
Without feedback from those on the front lines, it’s hard to know what to change. When the feedback is acted on, the talent who suggested it feels validated and is more likely to continue their precious work. Both these kinds of tech applications are cost-effective benefits to a strong organisation overall.
Prioritise New Technology
More of an ethos than an actual tool; prioritising new technology is a game changer when it comes to effective cultural transformations within the public sector.
The GCS had a very successful take on this when they developed their ‘Future of Public Service Communications’ document, writing that they will attempt to make ‘all communications fit for current and future environments.’ This is one example of how current public services are focusing on making themselves not simply ready for the present, but ready for the future.
The GCS is working to create ‘a ‘futures laboratory’ with industry leaders to scope digital-focused futures activity and shape government communications strategies.’ This is an attitude that all public services in the UK should get behind.
From 2017 to 2020, the UK Government set about with their ‘Government Transformation Strategy’, which set about ‘harnessing digital to build and deliver services’ to ‘transform the relationship between citizen and state.’ This carries on from the Government Digital Strategy started in 2012 which began to make public services across the country ‘Digital by Default’.
Cultural transformation isn’t possible without this ethos of prioritising new technology. Without a focus on emerging software that can radically change how public services deliver their work and provide for the needs of all, they’re likely to suffer under the increasing strain of external pressures.
Throughout the realm of public services, cultural transformation tools are becoming more and more prevalent. They help organisations adapt to modern times and reduce the friction felt between the general public and state-ran services.
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