Hello PPMA Members and friends
The theme for our Annual Seminar in Birmingham next week is ‘Let’s Talk People’ and in readiness for that, our pre-seminar blog post, written by Barry Pirie in collaboration with our friends at Iken Business Management Software, focuses on how change is a fact of life for the public sector and that supporting the people powering change, is the most effective way to successfully embed it.
People Managers could be easy to be disheartened by the challenges currently facing local government: cuts to funding, the way that the public sector’s typically covered by the media and trying to re-imagine how our services can be run.
But these challenges are also opportunities to adapt – and by ensuring our people are involved, engaged and benefit from the changes we need to make we can make sure that local government remains a strong and attractive prospect for the talent of the future.
One change that needs to be made and will help support our people, is extending our use of technology.
Technology can be used to store and access everything we need to work regardless of who’s in the office or who’s responsible for doing what. Using technology to access work centrally, rather than through individual folders and inboxes, makes flexible and remote working policies work better and gives staff greater freedom to work from different locations – whether it’s from home, from different offices or while they’re out on site. As the structure of how services are provided changes, so too should the way and the where, of how that work is done.
Supporting flexible working not only benefits the Council as less office space is needed, but it also supports employees to manage their workloads in the way that suits them best.
Another trend in our industry that still hasn’t been fully embraced is the need for better HR analytics. Recent surveys have found that the majority of managers still struggle to produce the reports they need to show how HR initiatives are performing. For example according to a survey by software provider Fairsail , 49% of participants said their current HR system struggled to provide management insights for their organisations: with 32% able to provide basic reporting, 15% relying on spreadsheets and 2% unable to produce analytic information at all.
HR analytics can mean anything from being able to provide figures about the types of work your team does and how long each type of work typically takes, to monitoring wellbeing and using workforce demographics to offer the best benefits to your teams, based on their needs. There are plenty of software providers out there who can help with this.
It’s been said that technical skills are easier to teach than soft skills and according to a survey carried out last year by Everwise, 93% of HR managers say technical skills are easier to teach than soft skills. However several recent surveys have also highlighted that HR Managers aren’t confident in their team’s ability to understand and interpret data, in fact one survey found that 42% said they are not confident in their team’s ability to understand and interpret analytics. So before any new technology or analytics tools are implemented it’s important to make sure that our teams have the necessary skills to use and analyse what these systems can tell us.
Training staff will not only make our teams better equipped to interpret and present data, it will also show we’re invested in them and ensure they have the skills they need for the future. By also including technical skills in our recruitment strategies we can hire the right people to reinforce learning and make analytics a part of the culture of HR.
There’s a wealth of technology available to HR teams and the benefits, not only for management but also for HR teams, of getting better IT systems in place will help us to make the changes we need to bring local government into a stronger future.
This blog post has been written by Barry Pirie, in collaboration with Iken Business Management Software