Quote of the week
“…civil servants may be intractable points of resistance.”
— World Economic Forum
A World Economic Forum report looking at the future of the public sector reminds us that at the end of the day it is the people in it who will make the difference. And that governments need to make sure they have the right people on hand with the right skills.
The WEF report suggests that governments need to understand they have to change the way they do business. Simply put, they can’t solve all the problems alone.
Government culture needs to change and, with it, the people working in that culture. Governments must become better at working with others, consulting and communicating with them in order to achieve results.
In sum, governments must understand that “attracting and developing civil servants for 21st century networked governance will require cultural change, incentives, new professional education and training. Increasingly, mid- and upper-level civil servants are networked with their counterparts in the private sector, civil society and other governments globally.”
In short, we need a new breed of public servant. But how to get it?
Well, recruitment is a good start. Processes need to be modernized, and governments have to look not only for knowledge, but also attitudes and behaviours.
Public servants are used to working and getting ahead inside the rigid hierarchical frameworks of government, and measure their success by promotions within. Governments need to learn how to reward and promote based on “efficiency, effectiveness and initiative.”
Also, there needs to be more movement between the public, business and NGO sectors so that governments draw hires “from all sectors of society, particularly at the managerial level.”
This is a vision of an open public sector organization which values not only knowledge but skills related to communication, collaboration and consultation. It hires based not only on competencies, but also on behaviours. It rewards not only based on age and experience, but also on demonstrated skills related to things like innovation. It encourages cross-sectoral movement.
There’s still a lot of work to be done…