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Using technology to support and retain new talent

Following the Texas Digital Government Summit, we take a look how technology can bolster new talent recruitment and retention strategies.
Jennifer French

Jennifer French 22 Aug 2023

The competition to attract and keep new talent is heating up like never before– especially in government organizations. It's a constant struggle against the private sector for the best talent.

So, what learnings, technology, programs, and drivers could be implemented to conquer this problem? We reveal insights from following the Texas Digital Government Summit.

Support remote work

The panelists unanimously emphasized the importance of offering remote work options. Fully remote positions can attract a broader pool of candidates and reduce competition with local tech companies. Responding to the growing preference for work-life balance, organizations should consider remote work arrangements and ensure meaningful policies for hybrid schedules.

Revise job descriptions

Simplify and humanize bureaucratic job descriptions to make them more conversational and understandable. Lengthy descriptions often become unclear and deter potential candidates. Organizations can attract a broader range of talent by making job descriptions more accessible.

Re-evaluate minimum qualifications

Consider revisiting minimum qualifications to avoid unnecessarily restrictive criteria. This can open doors for qualified candidates who may not meet the traditional 5-7+ years of experience typically required. Adapting qualifications can help bridge the gap between the skills possessed by young professionals and the requirements for entry-level positions.

Emphasize meaningful work

Recognize that younger generations prioritize meaning and purpose in their roles over just high salaries. Government organizations should convey their core values and demonstrate how employees can make a difference and contribute to something greater than themselves. Aligning with their aspirations can attract talented individuals who seek fulfilling careers in public service.

Optimize digital experience

As applicants extensively research organizations before applying, it is crucial to provide an exceptional digital experience. Develop a user-friendly and personalized online presence that showcases the organization's values, culture, and available opportunities. This not only captures the attention of potential applicants but also fosters a lasting impression, cultivating a strong employer brand that resonates with talent across the globe.

Experiment with AI

Trial AI-powered tools to streamline operations and build excitement about new technology. By reducing manual tasks, staff can focus on reviewing AI-generated code rather than starting from scratch.

Move to the cloud

Transitioning more systems to the cloud can alleviate the burden of off-hours support, troubleshooting, and emergencies. This shift allows staff to concentrate on value-added tasks and promotes a less stressful work environment.

Channel shift

As digital services continue to replace traditional methods, consider using automation to eliminate mundane and repetitive tasks. This shift can make positions more fulfilling for both staff and citizens, enabling employees to focus on more meaningful and complex work.

Track referral sources

During the recruitment process, it is essential to inquire about how applicants heard about the job. This information can provide valuable insights into effective recruitment channels and guide future talent acquisition strategies.

Extend onboarding process

Rather than limiting onboarding to the first week, extend it to a year-long process. Comprehensive onboarding programs enhance the employee experience and facilitate their integration into the organization. A thorough onboarding process can contribute to higher retention rates and employee satisfaction.

Make in-person/hybrid roles meaningful

If technical staff are required to be present in the office, create a positive and engaging work environment. Consider introducing fun activities such as 'bring your pet to work' days or organizing staff gatherings to foster team cohesion and job satisfaction.

Buddy system

Implement a buddy system to pair new employees with experienced colleagues. This mentorship approach can help new hires navigate their roles more effectively and foster a sense of community within the organization.

Apprenticeship/internship programs

Developing an emerging talent pathway tailored to technical developer roles can address the challenge of filling such positions. Programs like 'Earn While You Learn' can attract candidates with potential and provide them with training and hands-on experience, encapsulating a symbiotic relationship between aspiring developers and organizations hungry for fresh talent.

These initiatives can also help bridge the gap between academic qualifications and job requirements. It is a game-changing model that entices prospective candidates to embark on their professional journey while concurrently allowing them to earn a fair wage. This not only makes the opportunity economically viable for candidates but also incentivizes them to invest their full dedication and commitment into the program.

By receiving compensation for their efforts, apprentices and interns are more likely to approach their learning experience with heightened enthusiasm, leading to increased productivity and a stronger sense of loyalty to the organization.

Align programs with promotion opportunities

Design apprenticeship and internship programs that include opportunities for promotion and pay increases. Aligning these programs with career progression paths incentivizes participants to commit to their roles and contributes to long-term talent retention.