Connecting state and local government leaders
COMMENTARY | User-friendly technology platforms can help under-resourced agencies decrease their administrative burden and attract digital-savvy employees.
The pandemic illuminated some cracks in the public sector, including outdated technology and staff-intensive processes that may have contributed to The Great Resignation. As workforce shortages continue to impact the public sector, less populous municipalities must find digital strategies and platforms that fill missing gaps while simultaneously planning and scaling for the future. Informed organizations are moving away from labor-intensive manual processes and shifting toward automated and low-code/no-code digital platforms that allow nontechnical staff to achieve key goals and decrease the administrative burden.
For public sector staff across all departments, outdated tools or those not designed specifically to support municipal functions can waste time. Both state and local government organizations are investing in full-service technologies that can help recruit and retain talented staff members and build resilience during times of crisis.
Empowering staff with technological investment
Governments at all levels have been experiencing workforce shortages for over two years, and agencies need strategies and platforms that empower staff in their roles. The answer may be simpler than it seems. Streamlining workflows starts with investing in easy-to-use technologies to reduce administrative burden and increase organization-wide value. Examples include implementing low-code/no-code capabilities; tools to ease communications within, across and outside of organizations; and intuitive digital resources with familiar interfaces.
Equipping employees with user-friendly tools also helps offset the increasing workloads IT departments experience in workforce shortages. To support IT departments, it’s important for organization-wide digital tools and resources to be high in functionality but low in technical training.
Future-proofing state and local governments
Local governments must also implement digital strategies and capabilities to help them overcome obstacles (like workforce turnover), avoid disruption and maintain resilience during times of crisis.
According to a Pew Research Center survey, 61% of the workforce is remote out of choice rather than necessity, meaning government needs to offer an attractive work-from-home environment to bolster recruitment efforts. Investing in remote-friendly capabilities is particularly critical for local governments without close proximity to talent-rich major metropolitan areas or technology hubs.
Government leaders must continue to lean into remote-friendly tools and services to accommodate shifting expectations in the workforce while attracting prospective digital-savvy employees. To do this, they should leverage cloud-based technologies that securely support engagement with the community. For instance, adopting a content engagement system, or content management system, enables remote and in-office employees to intuitively create and publish content, customize website experiences and optimize agency information for any device. Tailoring content and its delivery based on the population served increases awareness and ensures maximum accessibility.
Another way to future proof solutions is planning for shifting trends that can affect employee bandwidth and potential service delivery disruption. For example, minimally staffed state legislatures would benefit from a government citizen response management platform that can help automate processes, accelerate resident service request resolutions and move toward data-driven decision-making by capturing and segmenting the behaviors of residents.
A distributed workforce who routinely interact with user-friendly digital tools in their personal lives need government tools reflective of their experience and expectations. By leveraging capabilities that support day-to-day processes, ease public interactions and reflect familiar digital platforms, workforce morale is improved thus lessening retention concerns.
Putting digital plans into action
When local governments begin to move toward long-term scaling and planning, they can invest in tools and solutions that will last for many years (and circumstances) to come. Instead of having to repurchase new software, solutions and platforms to meet rapidly evolving technology, government can find cost savings with a full-service technology platform that reduces staff burden and is built to last. How do agencies get there? Well, it begins with having key stakeholders involved in long-term digital strategy planning, analyzing solutions based on the organization’s unique needs and adopting tools that are easy for staff of any technical level to use.
Bob Ainsbury is the chief product officer at Granicus.
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