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Aug 2018

Talent - Improving government performance through effective talent management

Most local government organisations believe their talent-management strategies are well defined and that they have a solid understanding of their current skills shortages and future needs. However, almost half are struggling to compete for talent with their private-sector rivals. How do local governments Find, Retain, and Sustain talent?

Most local government organisations believe their talent-management strategies are well defined and that they have a solid understanding of their current skills shortages and future needs. However, almost half are struggling to compete for talent with their private-sector rivals. A similar picture exists within national government.

With countries, states, provinces and other localities experiencing difficulty in finding suitable candidates for highly skilled and specialised finance positions, this report seeks to answer the question: “How can government organisations identify their evolving talent needs and obtain and maintain the people resources that are crucial to addressing their ongoing challenges?”
In doing so, it outlines the causes and symptoms of poor talent management and helps government organisations identify the key elements of sustainable talent strategies.

If you are responsible for finance teams within your organisation, you can gain an understanding of the following areas:

  • Symptoms of poor talent management - these include: a lack of suitable applicants for more senior director and deputy director roles; roles that were limited in scope, leading to a silo mentality; issues with high (and low) staff turnover; and poor succession planning, resulting in employment gaps, higher pressure on staff and increased payroll costs.
  • Finding talent - governments must develop a stronger understanding of the organisational skills they require to succeed, both today and for the future. They must identify skills gaps and make plans to close them. Active recruitment strategies and staff-development programmes will play a key role.
  • Retaining talent - finding the right people for the right roles can be time-consuming – but it is only the starting point of the talent-management process. Introducing, retaining and motivating employees bring new challenges to an already complex environment.
  • Sustaining talent - government organisations around the world use a variety of tools to grow their talent. These include online learning, job rotation, mentoring, reverse mentoring, stretch assignments, project-based experience, cross-functional working and initiatives designed to close skill gaps. Whatever methods are used, the focus must be long term – growing and sustaining the competencies and mindset of today’s talent, and projecting this into the future.
  • Building a sustainable talent strategy - investment in people brings reward: increased motivation, better performance, and greater organisational resilience. To achieve this, a long-term perspective on talent management is essential. The most successful and inspiring approaches to talent management are featured highly in the strategic objectives of the organisation and its leaders.

This report is part of a series of reports that draws from and builds upon the 2014 report "Managing local government performance - Transparency, technology, talent and transformation." 

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Talent - Improving government performance through effective talent management