Talented, tech-savvy Generation Z workers aren’t just flooding into the private sector. They’re investigating jobs in the public sector, too. However, they’re not always liking what they see.
What’s the issue? Because government entities tend to exist in a risk-averse culture where processes eclipse outcomes, their leaders remain hesitant to embrace tech innovations. This means public sector entities are often behind the digital curve. And that doesn’t bode well for attracting top Gen Z candidates who want to work with the latest and greatest technologies.
How important is access to digital solutions to the next generation of workers? Very. A Dell Technologies study shows 91% of Gen Z participants cite technology as a main factor in evaluating job offers, and four-fifths of respondents say they want access to emerging technology. Similarly, 9 in 10 Gen Z and Millennial workers expect employers to offer remote or hybrid work options.
These findings aren’t surprising to anyone who understands the lifestyle leanings of Gen Z, and they clearly point out a disconnect between public and private sector roles. Even though the pandemic necessitated a higher degree of adaptability among government workers, the overall tenor of public sector workforce management remains one that’s hesitant to be on the forefront of change.
Nevertheless, change is necessary. Agencies need to lean into government digital transformation more than ever. Otherwise, some members of Gen Z might bypass the chance to work in the public realm simply because they feel like they’d be working in a bygone era.
A Doable Path to Government Modernization
So what can public agencies and government leaders do now to avoid losing out on bringing Gen Z into the workplace? Below are three starting points:
1. Find creative ways to enable telecommuting.
Government agencies rely on high security and even higher public accountability. It’s hard to achieve those objectives when people are teleworking and out of view of their managers. It’s not impossible, though.
For instance, some technologies allow supervisors to check in on their workers. True — monitoring remote workers’ efficiency via internal audits or keystroke technology may hinder trust. Nonetheless, implementing those practices could result in an acceptable compromise between agencies and employees.
2. Invest in automation and low-code tools.
Gen Z workers are the first adults to be born into a world of 24/7 internet and personal devices. They’re accustomed to using technology as part of their normal day-to-day lives. Governments can take advantage of Gen Z employees’ digital native preferences by making agile low-code development tools available to the workforce.
Low-code solutions encourage widespread tech use because they require few technical skill sets. Therefore, coding can easily be done in-house by team members. Low-code programming can even reduce time-consuming workload redundancies; in that way, agency employees can concentrate on higher-level public servant responsibilities.
3. Empower staff to be innovative.
Change can’t and won’t happen if Gen Z employees feel stifled from an innovation perspective or worry about being punished for making recommendations. Instead, they need to be encouraged to come up with advanced creative solutions to everything from customer service problems to workflow roadblocks.
Many of these solutions are bound to be technical in nature. Therefore, leaders must show that they’re committed to providing workers with tech resources and support. Plus, those leaders have to be willing to accept that failures and stumbles will happen (rather than punish people who step forward with ideas). Remember: Growth never occurs in a vacuum. Many digital transformation successes and aha! moments came after initial failures.
The pandemic forced the public sector to rethink the way it functioned. Now, agency heads and recruiting teams have the chance to upgrade their government technology and win over great Gen Z workers to continue their forward-facing momentum.