Wednesday 11 November 2009

Next Generation Government HR


   Jacquie Heany from the Cabinet Office quoted Gill Rider fom the Civil Service HR conference last week, suggesting that government departments face the leadership challenge of a generation.

“How will you know who to keep, and who to let go, in order to ensure you have the right skills for the future.  You need to get resourcing right, so HR needs to be geared up for this.  This requires HR to be more professional, better trained and able to manage the workforce.”


In the recession, demands increase and work gets more complex.  And there needs to be better collaboration across departmental boundaries {a bit like asking Tesco and Sainsburys to co-operate].  But they’re short of public sector budget.  So the Civil Service will shrink, and HR will shrink too (Civil Service HR currently has an HR to employee ratio of 1:49, although the best departments operate at a ratio of 1:70).  There’s a need to do more with less.

The good news is that HR has already moved from the Admin function  it was 5-10 years ago and is now something much more strategic.


Workforce analytics

Supporting this, HR has developed more robust management information – they now know more about who works in the Civil Service than they ever did before.  Jacquie doesn’t think they could do what they are undertaking, they wouldn’t be able to meet the challenge, if they didn’t know who their HR people are, and what they do.

They’re now able to do in-depth analysis of all Civil Service HR professionals – how they’re performing against set standards, what role they’re doing, their qualifications, their aspirations etc.  Before, they didn’t know if someone was planning to stay in the HR profession or if they were just passing through.

As part of this, their high potential leaders have been trained in the use of workforce analytics:

“Armed with calculators and aspirins they’ve learnt how to calculate supply and forecast demand”


These people now understand the benefits of an evidence based approach.


Next Generation HR

Civil Service HR professionals need business nous.  They need to understand how to tailor processes and to create policies that encourage flexibility and enable movement.  And they need to demonstrate the right behaviours (depth of experience makes someone good; attitudes and behaviours makes them great).

Of course, this requires that Jacquie and her team know what sort of Civil Service and what form of HR they’re building capability for.  So they’re taking an in=depth look at the needs for the future.

They need to “think creatively, out-of-the-box, to ensure the right HR capability for the future”.


So we’re back to imagination based HR again then?





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