Increasing Public Sector Employee Engagement

During any period of cultural and digital transformation, creating and retaining employee engagement with the process is crucial for a successful implementation. The public sector has a large amount of important responsibilities such as providing healthcare, career or financial support and so the change that affects this work needs to be reinforced by an engaged workforce.

Engagement itself is a mixture of service-wide buy-in, passion, transparency and accountability. Here are the ways in which we can increase public sector employee engagement, in order to roll out this new tech.

Set and Explain Your Goals

The first incentive to increasing employee engagement within any public sector department is to explain your goals. Without sharing the aims of any project with your team, acceptance of any change in culture will be hard to produce. These aims should be shared alongside the actual reasons for change, as transparency is key to promoting engagement.

Displaying goals is a great way of showing leadership. You’ve announced a change, set the end-point and from that, a clear path can be determined. It can be difficult for managers to constantly provide employees with guidance due to their extensive responsibilities and time constraints. However, goals can help to create a ‘fallback framework’ which employees can dip into if needed.

This is especially important within the public sector. The work in this industry is geared towards improving the quality of life for everyday people. Goals that focus on this can be seen as more important and easier to get behind because they also appeal to human nature. 

Better work in the public sector means better quality of life for UK citizens.

Create a Role for Everyone

Evidently, much of the success of any cultural or digital transformation within the public sector comes from the quality of work being done and the experience that drives change forward. Because of that, the right employees need to be put in the right positions.

You can do this by aligning your employee acquisition and retention strategies with the goals we mentioned previously. Do they complement each other? Are there obvious links between them?

This isn’t to say some employees won’t be worth adding to the change process - everyone needs to be part of the process for it to be as efficient as possible. However, you need to structure change in such a way that people are in the right position for doing the best work.

Onboard New Digital Technology

Public services are becoming increasingly integrated with new digital technology. 5G, free public WiFi, chatbots - features like these are becoming more prevalent as and within public services. There are many upcoming technologies that will be used to upgrade the public sector as a whole. 

There is a number of different innovative tech solutions being implemented throughout local government today:

  • Artificial Intelligence: AI and machine learning are being used to provide better-developed responses to public issues. They also supply a more natural way of easing communication between government and the public sector, in the form of chatbots.
  • Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies: Cryptocurrency is being trialled as a better way of interacting financially with government services. Blockchain is an iterative data storage method, currently being trialed by the Food Standards Agency.
  • The Internet of Things (IoT): IoT provides a greater amount of integration for hardware. It’s found to be especially useful in hospitals, who can use it to more effectively track patient numbers and care quality, analysing and connecting data and feedback from many devices.
  • Big Data and Data Visualisation: Massive datasets are helpful but can be difficult to analyse without the right technology. When you’re able to interact more closely with data, you gain a better understanding of what it’s saying and how to implement a response. Data visualisation is currently being used by the Met Office to provide more interactive training opportunities for new meteorologists.

Essentially, when a public sector organisation implements new technology, they’re bringing in new ways of carrying out tasks. These digital services bridge the distances between public and government, as well as the distance between government and data. By easing the friction between these bodies, public sector employee engagement is easier to create and control, because the working conditions are more fruitful. 

They also create a better user experience for the public in general.

Offer Training and Development

The good thing about transformation within the public sector is that it opens up opportunities for growth on an individual and team level.

Building a culture of expertise and accountability isn’t possible without the right training. Plus, the more training that is given, the more employee engagement you can produce, as they’re actively learning and influencing change. This is in contrast to employees not having the opportunity to learn new skills and watching all change processes pass them by.

Create Opportunities for Feedback

Regular feedback is crucial for maintaining both change impetus and employee engagement. 

The nature of public services, emerging technologies and external sources of pressure (such as current events and citizen demands) means that public services need to remain agile and updated. Staff are those people on the front line of dealing with these and so they’re in the best position to give feedback.

Allowing regular opportunities for feedback is the best way to ensure a change process is working fluidly. Even those who disagree with the change will provide a unique insight into things they take issue with. Regular feedback ensures a faster response time.

Means of feedback can be both formal and informal. They may be in the form of one-to-one meetings, online surveys, regular emails or even just simple chats. It should be made known that any feedback is respected and will be assessed for any potential remedies.

By consciously asking for feedback, employees feel more valued. Their opinions matter and play an important part in continuous transformation, especially in moments of culture shift.

Keep Your Team Updated On Progress

Successful transformation periods rely on transparency. For better or worse, a workforce needs to know where they stand and how close to the end goal they are. Notifying employees on success provides incentives for further quality work.

Management should produce regular reports on how transformation is progressing. These don’t have to be intense or incredibly detailed, it can just be a regular email of updates that employees can read through. This is not a complex thing to do, but it’s vital. 

If employees aren’t notified about successes, they might not feel valued or find benefit in the change. In contrast, if employees aren’t told about any issues, there’s little way for them to find a solution together. 

Ensuring employee engagement is a big part of the responsibilities of management level within the public sector. If you’re looking for more information on this topic, explore our guide to cultural transformation.

The Cultural Transformation Roadmap

Employee engagement provides crucial impetus for a process of cultural transformation. Our download explores key information and best practices when it comes to creating employee buy-in and transparency around new systems and digital technology. It also delves into the importance of digital transformation and how providing new opportunities for technological growth can enhance the working environment for your employees.

Click the link below to download.

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