- Demonstrate the political will to build a digitally ready public service: Governments must communicate the importance of talent and inclusion, and why the public service is a great place to work.
- Benchmark and develop accountability mechanisms to track progress on the recruitment, development, and advancement of digital talent.
- Build a digitally ready and inclusive organizational culture, which includes building workplaces that are stimulating, rewarding, welcoming, and inclusive.
- Modernize human resources and hiring practices: Core skills—especially in analytics, user experience, and artificial intelligence—are shifting away from “code warriors” and toward people who understand how to drive change enabled by technology. Job classifications should reflect current skill needs.
- Commit to new approaches to training: While engineering and computer science remain important disciplines, for many jobs the foundation can be laid through a variety of roles to which the requisite technology skills can be added.
- Apply a gender and diversity lens across the value chain: Progressive, high-performing organizations value diverse perspectives at every level. New tools, such as Gender Based Analysis Plus, and the Diversity Institute’s Diversity Assessment Tool, provide systematic approaches to open up the possibility of new approaches to “mainstream” inclusion.
- Build public-private partnerships: Collaborations with the private sector, post-secondary institutions, and non-governmental organizations can provide access to talent, new ideas, and innovative approaches.
- Rebrand, market, and promote government service: The federal public service needs to build the skills pipeline by better communicating the challenges and rewards of a career—or even a stint—in government.
Citizens today expect to interact with their governments online. They expect services to be fast and intuitive. Governments are responding by establishing ambitious frameworks for digital transformation. The recommendations above, and promising practices by both the public and private sector, will help the government build the workforce it needs to drive this transformation.
Read the full paper, “Developing Canada’s Digital-Ready Public Service: Attracting and Retaining a Highly Skilled, Diverse Workforce to Support the Government of Canada’s Digital Strategy” for more on the challenges and the integrated strategy outlined above.