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Public sector HR struggling with digital change

Half (50%) of HR leaders in the public sector feel unable to drive digital transformation, according to research from the Public Services People Managers Association (PPMA) and MHR

Their Turning HR teams into ‘technology change leaders’ whitepaper explores how new technology can improve current organisational processes, and the barriers HR professionals are experiencing in implementing them.

Lack of resource, fear of change and knowledge gaps were identified as the key reasons HR teams are struggling to implement effective technology-led change.

Just under half of respondents (43%) cited budget issues as the main barrier, with a third (32%) claiming there is not enough time to pursue new ideas. Meanwhile, 39% said they felt concerned about the scale of change required in using technology to find new ways of working.

Karen Grave, co-author of the whitepaper and president of the PPMA, said HR has a significant role to play. “HR has a key role to play in driving digital transformation and embracing new ways of working to improve overall processes, but there are a number of barriers are preventing HR teams from actively implementing this change,” she said.

“As a result, many public sector organisations are failing to keep pace with the digital expectations of their people and are continuing to rely on outdated processes and systems.”

Grave added that as the workforce becomes increasingly reliant on digital processes, HR must step up and partner better with their counterparts in IT: “For too long HR functions in the public sector have taken a backseat in leading effective organisational change, leaving them with outdated processes.

“However, with the workforce becoming more digitally native, and with authorities faced with budget pressures and increased demand for efficient services, HR must find its voice and drive innovation.

“Rather than perceiving technological changes as merely an IT problem, HR teams need to be more proactive and adopt a collaborative approach to create joint strategies that meet the entire needs of the organisation and its people.”