Every Public Sector organisation across the world is facing some challenges caused by the current economic state, which means that - as part of wider organisational considerations such as property assets and reducing duplication - workforce make-up is crucial in helping Public Sector organisations to survive economic pressures.
Public Sector organisations need to be more aware of the types of employees they employ, including those who can best support the changes organisations need to consider in becoming more efficient and leaner, and those who are able to help organisations manage the peaks and troughs of demand, and all this without negatively impacting on local economic growth.
There is a trend which has been set by some Public Sector bodies in London in working with Private Sector giants for both back office and community facing service delivery. These giants however face the same challenges as any Public Sector body in managing peaks and troughs. And they have an extra challenge, and that is 'winning business' of other Public Sector bodies in order to achieve local efficiencies through collaboration and partnership working. The question is however: 'Are Private Sector giants best-placed or even interested in supporting local collaborations and partnerships?'
The answer may be closer to home, namely the (often hidden) strengths of the Public Sector workforce. Public Sector workforces are often made up of people who live locally, who have worked in the Public Sector for some time and who are willing to be contributors and creators of local changes for the better. A great source of local knowledge and strengths!
The key is 'engagement' with different types of employee and taking time to analyse your perfect workforce make-up! So who are these different types of employee and what motivates them?
There are four types of employee:
The 'Always say yes' employee (aka Company Person) - Organisations - mainly those who have a Command-and-Control leadership bias - may perceive this type of employee to be ideal as they work hard and will do anything that is asked of them. They are highly compliant with organisational policies and procedures. In reality this type of employee will rarely offer challenge to something which could be improved upon out of worry that they might lose their job. This type of employee is mostly driven by money and status.
The 'Working themselves out of a job' employee (aka Free Agents) - This type of employee is highly committed to creating efficiencies and sustainability. Because they work collaboratively, line managers may think they are not delivering. Free Agents are driven by trust and selflessness. They are not motivated by status, only bringing out the best in others regardless of who they are - be that the Company Director, peer or administrator. Wherever possible they seek out WIN-WIN solutions, even if it means they work themselves out of a job. This type of employee enjoys variety and as such may be open to temporary contracts or even self-employment.
The 'Care enough to challenge' employee (aka Engaged) - Organisations may perceive this type of employee as disruptive as they are outspoken and stand up for what is right. This employee is driven by outcomes and passion to deliver high quality services to the customer and often share the values of the organisation they work for.
The 'Don't really want to be here' employee (aka Disengaged) - This type of employee wants to do well but lack confidence to admit a poor job fit out of fear of losing their job. They are often 'square pegs in round holes' and as such may be underperforming. When organisations give them the opportunity to work to their strengths and/or in a different environment, they will be more likely to change to an Engaged or a Free Agent employee type.
There are other types of employee made up of combinations of the above, such as a Disengaged Company Person or an Engaged Free Agent.
Given the economic pressures and the need to encourage more local economic growth I would argue that the ideal workforce for any Public Sector organisation who seriously needs to consider 'downsizing' is to identify and work with its internal Free Agents, but also with local external Free(lance) Agents. Internally Free Agents make for a highly flexible and resilient workforce and using local Free(lance) Agents utilises local strengths and knowledge, engages citizens into local action for a better future and supports the local economy.
So what is your organisation's ideal workforce make-up?