At INS, we talk a lot about Workforces for the Future and the attributes individuals need to develop to keep up with future job trends. I recently read an article from Apolitical which looked at the views of public servants worldwide. The article focused on what top qualities are required to work in Government, and they are as follows:
- Shrewd judgement – ‘One has to see through the veils, as there are many masks people wear. For a public servant, this is very important – that they understand which mask they are speaking to. – ‘Syed Monastir Mamun, Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Bangladesh.
- Future proof skills – ‘We need to rethink public service overall. How do we skill government departments to be prepared for a complex and changing future and the changing needs and lives of citizens? It needs a rethink – not just of skills and service programs, but the type of talent and skills we recruit for’. – Aarathi Krishnan, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
- Tenacity – ‘Constant desire to improve society’s quality of life, current situation and future opportunities. They need tenacity and consistency to achieve practical results to improve people’s lives – Victor Khodayar, Partnerships and Business Development, the United Nations, Denmark.
- A hint of rebellion – ‘The most effective public servants I have come across are those that challenge, constantly. They challenge their own ideas and biases, they challenge the way it has ‘always been done’ and they challenge senior thought leaders.’ Siobhan McKenna, Senior Policy Officer, the City of London.
But, let’s be frank – these qualities are valuable in whichever sector you work in. Some industries have introduced their own frameworks to explore these qualities. A notable example of this is the SFIA Framework in the IT industry, where skills and responsibilities are available to IT professionals to ensure they are aware of how to improve their skill-sets.
8 attributes you need
INS’s CEO, Sophia Symeou, has had experience working within the public sector, designing and implementing complex projects and reform initiatives. She is passionate about creating Workforces of the Future. She keeps her finger on the pulse of the constant changing world of work and its future trends. Sophia has created a list of core attributes which will be vital in succeeding in the new world of work. These attributes share similarities with those outlined in the Apolitical article. The core attributes Sophia believes will contribute to our future value are as follows:
- Complex problem solver
- Critical thinker
- Connector (people and things)
- Emotionally mature
- Curious and open
A strong emphasis is placed on the importance of attributes that will be required to create Workforces for the Future. This is primarily due to introduction of automation and A.I into the workplace. They will make human behaviours even more valuable as there are behaviours that machines won’t be able to replicate.
Using attributes practically in HR functions
Attributes and capabilities can be used throughout HR functions. These include streamlining role descriptions, staff recruitment, performance appraisals, workforce planning and improving mobility across the public sector. We’ve observed first hand that attributes and mobility has allowed public servants to continue to thrive across Government agencies.
The NSW Government selected INS to help FACS staff find new roles due to a major restructure. INS developed and is successfully implementing a tailored Mobility Pathway program in response to this restructure. The program supports the NSW Public Sector Capability Framework and is the first large scale movement of people under this framework. To date, 330 employees have been placed into new roles through the Mobility Pathway deeming the project a success.
Attributes and the NSW Capability Framework
The NSW Capability Framework contains 24 capabilities such as Communicating Effectively and Influencing and Negotiating. The framework divides capabilities into different levels which are then further separated into behavioural indicators.The framework is written in a precise, professional and direct way; however it can be seen as non-conversational. Although comprehensive, it makes the Framework quite lengthy. It’s written in a style that is precise, professional, and direct but, it can be seen as non-conversational.
A Capability Framework written in a more relaxed, conversational style will lead to a more authentic application and interview experience. We expect this to have a positive impact on performance appraisal and career development discussions between managers and their employees. Employees will have a more concrete understanding of what is expected of them to progress within their organisation. Using capabilities and attributes such as Tenacity and being Curious could help staff at all levels to be courageous in sharing ideas and challenging the status quo, creating new opportunities for organisations.
Creating Workforces for the Future
Being a good public servant takes more than skills and experience as we’re now finding out. The private sector has adopted a mentality that embraces change and the public sector is now making inroads to follow suit. Public sector conferences and summits are coming thick and fast which, along with technology and innovation, are looking at developing the capabilities of their most important asset – their people. With continued effort, this new-found focus will drastically improve the way the sector operates, making its workforce more agile and ready to tackle the future of work. Essentially, these 8 attributes will help to create workforces for the Future.
Blog written by Matthew Appassamy
Senior Career Transition Coach
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