Last year, the BBC reported that morale in the public sector is at “critical levels,” with staff “looking to leave in their droves.” In reality, the exodus has already begun. The number of public sector employees has decreased by 15% from 2010 to 2018, leaving a diminished staff struggling to deliver the same services with less resources.
Even the recently announced pay raises in the public sector have left a number of workers feeling disgruntled. With many salary increases offered at a rate below inflation, some workers will be actually be facing a cut in real terms.
Exacerbating the problem is the fact that younger workers appear to be choosing the private sector over public, as they increasingly feel they can get a better deal elsewhere. As a result, the UK faces an aging public sector – in the civil service, for example, there are currently over 45,000 administrative officers and assistants between the ages of 50 and 59. All in, it seems the public sector is facing a serious recruitment problem.
Overworked and underpaid: the public sector employee experience
For those who remain, this has a drastic impact on the employee experience. Public sector workers account for a third of all unpaid overtime in the UK, despite only making up a quarter of the workforce. Evidently, the public sector employee experience has taken a turn for the worse.
Something needs to be done before even more employees leave and younger workers refuse to consider joining altogether. Salary is often a go-to motivator, but this isn’t the only route decision-makers can go down when attempting to improve staff morale. Creating a seamless employee experience that enables productivity, autonomy, and simplicity could also keep public sector employees motivated. If nothing else, it could help minimize overtime as a result of inefficient, time-consuming processes.
Technology has a big part to play in achieving this, so it’s an obvious place for public sector organizations to start.
How technology can create a seamless employee experience
The negative impact of outdated tech can’t be overstated. Slow, inefficient technology (and the resulting lack of access to essential administrative services) is seriously frustrating for all employees, regardless of their role. As is obvious from the amount of overtime they are working, most public sector employees are busy enough, without squandering precious time navigating outdated expense forms or battling procurement issues. This means public sector organizations need to assess the software they use to manage these processes.
Typically, this is done via enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Used effectively, it’s a powerful tool. A good ERP system can offer live information to users across an organization, improving productivity and supporting informed decision-making. But an outdated platform has the power to hinder more than it helps. Slow, unwieldy, or disconnected ERP software is exasperating for employees, damaging not just their productivity but their morale, too.
The power of next-generation ERP
Technology is key to help create a seamless employee experience. This can be used for a range of activities, whether that’s digitizing finance processes, supply chain control, procurement management, management of product lifecycles, or achieving business insight.
Hampshire County Council is just one public sector agency utilizing technology effectively to make services more accessible and flexible for staff. Hampshire Council has rolled out a new mobile strategy for 85,000 users across devices, including mobile and tablets.
This has given staff the freedom to tick off key tasks on the go, ranging from filing expenses and overtime claims to requesting annual leave and managing performance. And with younger workers seeking out the freedom of flexible and remote working, this clear willingness to adopt mobile technology puts Hampshire City Council in a strong position to recruit the best talent moving forward.
The value of investing in a seamless employee experience
This is exactly the approach all public sector organizations should be taking if they want to employ and retain the best staff. For public sector IT decision-makers, justifying investments in new platforms can be a challenge. But given how high the cost of rock-bottom employee morale is, implementing technological platforms that create a seamless employee experience is a worthwhile spend.
For more on why digital transformation is an advantage, see Three Ways Technology Can Modernize Employee Spend For State And Local Government.