6 Strategies to Build the Local Government Workforce of Tomorrow

ARTICLE | Dec 16, 2015

“Workforce of Tomorrow,” a report released December 16, 2015, by the Local Government Research Collaborative (LGRC) and the Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE), recommends six strategies to build the workforce of tomorrow:

  1. Reinvent human resources to become more flexible, nimble, and strategic.  Seek staff who champion people management issues and can set the workforce agenda.
  2. Revamp antiquated policies and practices to meet the needs and expectations of a changing workforce.
  3. Build a brand that tells the great story of public service
  4. Focus on talent management, leadership development, and succession planning to prepare for workforce transitions, build capacity, and grow future leaders.
  5. Create a culture that values and engages employees in meaningful ways.
  6. Leverage technology, data, and automation to improve operations and provide employees with the tools they need.

Bob O’Neill, ICMA Executive Director and chair of SLGE’s board, stressed that slow, stodgy practices don’t work anymore. “Local governments that respond quickly will capture promising job candidates. We need to convey the excitement of the opportunity and tell the great stories about local government careers.”

Author Daniel Pink, one of those interviewed for the report, explained the imperative of local government leadership this way: “Talented people need organizations a lot less than organizations need talented people.”

Tom Lundy, county manager, Catawba County, North Carolina, and LGRC member, emphasizes the importance of adapting to attract future employees. “Local government offers a broad array of professional careers, from community services to public safety to administration. As community challenges become more complex, local government practices have to adapt in order to stay innovative and relevant. This report provides a solid framework for attracting and retaining creative local government employees who want the chance to make a difference in their communities.”

“Workforce of Tomorrow” includes the results of a graduate and undergraduate student survey and their views of local government careers; interviews with a wide range of human resources and management experts, academics, and authors; and a review and analysis of practitioner and academic research and data sets on the changing workforce.

Download the report here

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