As a unique and challenging 2020 concludes, there is a great deal to learn regarding what is needed to develop and manage an effective, high-quality, and diverse state and local government workforce.
Recent research by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE) reveals key challenges and opportunities facing states and localities in the year ahead. This research offers insights into what strategies and tactics to monitor as governments of all sizes strive to attract and retain talented state and local employees.
SLGE offers the following six trends to watch in 2021.
- Embracing a holistic approach to employee well-being: Public employers will embrace a holistic approach to employee well-being through expanded financial wellness programs, increasing their understanding of employee benefit preferences, and evaluating the impact of structural change to retirement benefits on retirement security.
- Strengthening the post-COVID-19 workplace: The public sector will continue to work to address the impact of COVID-19 on employers and employees and identify a balance between remote work environments and more traditional approaches for a wider range of positions, while expanding the use of flexible work practices more generally.
- Implementing innovative staffing practices and collaborative approaches: Budget challenges and increased service demands will incentivize state and local governments to assess current staffing levels, project future needs, expand the use of innovative staffing practices, and collaborate with other organizations.
- Focusing on financial wellness: Given the impact the pandemic has had on individuals’ personal finances, employee financial education programs will be expanded to cover more topics, leveraging enhanced communications methods, while evolving to more specifically meet the needs of more employees.
- Expanding workforce management tools: The comprehensiveness and fiscal sustainability of public retirement plans will continue to be a central focus for these workforce management tools, while new approaches for providing benefits, including retiree health care, will be explored.
- Developing a diverse and inclusive workforce: As public sector employers work to attract and retain a talented workforce of the future, they will look to ensure that their workforce is diverse, inclusive, and more reflective of the populations they serve, taking into account the disproportionate health and economic impacts of COVID-19 on racial and ethnic groups.
The Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE) helps local and state governments become knowledgeable and competitive employers so they can attract and retain a talented and committed workforce. SLGE identifies leading practices and conducts research on public retirement plans, health and wellness benefits, workforce demographics and skill set needs, and labor force development. SLGE brings state and local leaders together with respected researchers.