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December 19, 2019

Using eLearning to Attract and Engage Government Employees

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Job stability, great benefits, retirement and pension plans—what government employee hasn't cited these reasons for working in the public sector? As a younger generation enters the workforce, governmental agencies must also look to professional development and on-the-job training to attract and retain new talent.

Historically, government agencies have experienced very low employee turnover compared to the private sector. But according to an Accenture survey of 70+ public sector leaders from 18 states, about 64 percent of respondents reported it is becoming difficult to attract and retain talent.

As older government employees enter retirement, the skills gap widens and remaining employees are left with additional work. Government agencies often lack resources and budgets to hire staff with critical expertise—causing further frustration among workers struggling to be more efficient despite staff shortages. Such frustration can lead to disengagement, which makes matters even worse. A 2017 survey from the CPS HR Institute for Public Sector Employee Engagement reported only 38 percent of public sector employees are engaged. That's a critical issue because disengaged employees are much more likely to leave a job.

Government agencies wanting to attract and retain talent must concentrate on creating an engaging workplace that enables employees to learn the skills needed to excel. One of the best ways to do that is providing opportunities for professional growth.

Creating a culture of continuous learning

According to a Qualtrics survey, 67 percent of millennial workers said they would be willing to take a pay cut to work at a company that offers good mentorship opportunities. By creating a culture of ongoing education and professional development, government agencies can tackle new challenges, build new skill sets and improve employee retention, especially among younger workers.

Yet implementing effective training and professional development programs within the government can be more challenging than in the private sector. Government agencies are highly regulated and have minimal budgets. They're often heavily siloed, with numerous departments focused on their own distinct responsibilities.

Key capabilities of a robust eLearning platform

Not all eLearning platforms are created equally, and certain features are necessary to handle the stringent requirements of government organizations. Here are some key capabilities to look for:

  • Easy administration with role-based access management: Scaling your training courses and offerings to accommodate numerous learners requires efficient administration. The eLearning platform should have the ability to automate repetitive administrative tasks such as course setup, enrollment and user management, with pre-defined triggers associated with various actions (i.e. completion or non-compliance with required courses). Additionally, your eLearning platform should enable role-based management so both learners and admins have access to only the capabilities and courses they need.
  • Support for in-the-flow microlearning: Imagine enabling your employees to hone their skills, learn a new process or get an update on a new rule right in the context of their normal workflow. Absorb Infuse enables this type of microlearning with bite-sized instructional units such as a 2-minute video or scenario branching exercise delivered in the flow of work. This eliminates the need for employees to interrupt their daily tasks, while still receiving the critical information and training to be successful and productive.
  • Interactive and engaging: As younger employees enter the government workforce, they'll expect modern features, such as mobile access, interactivity and gamification. Look for an eLearning platform that offers those features and makes them easy to implement.
  • Rapid course and content updates: Government agencies must keep pace with new laws, rules and regulations. Make sure you choose a platform that enables you to deploy new content quickly, to keep your courses relevant and up to date.
  • Compliance tracking and reporting: Learners in government agencies must stay in compliance with required training models, so robust tracking and reporting is an essential feature. Look for a solution that provides unified and flexible reporting to enable cohesive learning metrics across all training deployment. Reports should be customizable and easy to share with key stakeholders across your organization.

Building a better workforce to serve the public

Professional development and on-the-job training keep employees engaged. And when they're engaged, they're committed to the goals and values of the organization they work for and are motivated to contribute to its success—which, in turn, improves job satisfaction. This is particularly true for younger employees. Among millennials, 87 percent say professional development or career growth opportunities are top considerations when choosing a potential employer.

To effectively attract and retain employees from today's pool of available workers, government organizations must adopt a robust eLearning platform to facilitate ongoing professional development. Not only will these organizations find it easier to fill open jobs, they'll benefit from a more engaged workforce building the skills necessary to better serve the public now and into the future.