Wednesday, June 15, 2011

HR Innovations Conference Recap: Day 1

Yesterday, I presented and attended the "HR Innovations" conference hosted by the Performance Institute in Washington, DC. This conference is geared to the public sector and has some very interesting sessions.

I found some common themes in today's sessions. Effectiveness, efficiency, performance and strategy were key topics. Today's discussions had a different focus than previous conferences that were also geared to the public sector have had in the past. I have to assume that the recession has forced our public entities to move from a culture of "status quo" to one of "high performing and service focused." I think the reasons are clear, our government and educational institutions have slashed budgets, smaller workforces, and potential outsourcing and privatizing of "usual" government services.

So, with all that said, it was refreshing to hear HR professionals from many government organizations discuss strategy and metrics. Just like in the private sector, some agencies are ahead of others, some agencies have a clearly articulated strategy, others do not. But, I see it is a new day on Public Sector Street. Accountability and performance are now being expected just as it is in the private sector. I know in my home town in Atlanta, GA our mayor has a platform of change around performance and accountability.

I believe there is room for best practice exchange between the public and private sector. In each sector there are pockets of excellence. I have noticed that certain areas of the public sector seems to have a better grasp on data analysis and data visualization where the private sector has a lot of experience in the areas of increasing performance, in particular "pay for performance."

If one issue was burning for the Federal Government, it had to be performance management. They struggle with getting rid of non-performers and redeploying staff due to a shift in competency requirements. With changes in strategy with incoming administrations, competencies are subject to change on a frequent basis.

I was asked a very good question...

How do you keep talent engaged and deployed according to their skill sets with changing priorities in a government environment?

What do you think? We have some best practices from the private sector that may help...please let me hear YOUR thoughts and opinions.

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