Managing Employees Through Changing Expectations in the Public Sector

by Lorrie Ray, Esq., SPHR, Director of Membership Development

Bulletin,  HR Expertise and Support,  Leadership,  Public Employers

A recent article from NextGov reviews the five technology trends expected to be a focus for organizations in the public sector in 2021. It discusses the challenges presented when funding is tight and older or outdated technology struggles to meet emerging needs for constituents affected by the pandemic. Of course, whenever there are challenges, there are opportunities.

Public sector employers have many issues, and viewing technology as the central hub towards solving problems may be useful. Asking the following questions may provide a clearer path for moving forward:

  • What is the state of your technology in light of increased demands by your patrons, citizens, and users?
  • How can you get the help you need to improve your technological infrastructure?
  • Are there less expensive technology solutions now available on the market?
  • How can you reconfigure the work to use technology more efficiently?
  • Can you reduce your physical footprint through the use of technology?

Methods to use could involve:

  • A study group from employees across the organization.
  • Reaching out to other public sector partners at the state or federal level who may provide technical assistance.
  • Reviewing vendor agreements and comparing pricing with competitors who have newer technology and may want to work with you to get the word out about their product in exchange for price reductions.
  • Meeting with employees across the organization to have an in-depth discussion on how to better use available technology to make jobs easier.
  • Considering new ways to work, such as ‘hoteling’ where employees sign in to come to work and are admitted when space is available.

We are moving into an era where different technology solutions are easy to use across various platforms. It may be that the software you are using due to the unique needs you have is no longer necessary. Your employees may be using platforms in other areas of their lives that would function well at your workplace, and those platforms may be very inexpensive or free. Of course, making sure that the technology does not present cyber-security concerns is imperative.

It’s difficult to imagine a municipality without a city hall. Still, do you need the entire building or that annex you built?  Surely you have had employees working from home for the past 9 months, which could continue indefinitely. Being in the office may become something that is done when collaboration is needed or splitting up time at the office for the fewer customers coming into the building to get the help they need. Banks have started making appointments for customers – is that in your future?

There are many things to consider as you tackle the technology and budgetary issues that are sure to focus on the public sector. If you need help – call us.

About the author
Lorrie Ray, Esq., SPHR, Director of Membership Development

Lorrie's experience in the variety of problems typically facing employers includes resolution of civil rights cases before state and federal administrative agencies, federal wage and hour disputes and state law claims, employment discrimination, wrongful discharge and health and safety laws. She is also a frequent lecturer on employment law matters. Previous to working at Employers Council, Lorrie worked at the U.S. Department of Labor Office of the Solicitor for a little over three years, prosecuting wage and hour cases for the Department.