Public personnel administration focuses on helping public managers on all levels to meet the challenges of attracting, retaining, motivating and developing the large and diverse pool of highly qualified people needed to staff modern government agencies of all kinds (Nigro, Nigro & Kellough, 2007). Acquisitions, sanctions, planning and development are four key duties of public personnel today which help with the effectiveness of an organization. On the federal, state and local levels public personnel procedures and strategies can impact public agencies and employee’s performance and productivity. Critical Trends Affecting the Growth of Public Personnel
The four critical trends that affect growth of public personnel today are demographics, technological change and innovation, political change and partisanship. All of these trends have a major impact on the composition, size and organization of public personnel administration. They affect public personnel issues, practices and policies as well. An increasing diversity of racial and ethnic groups and different family lifestyles and backgrounds are shown in the American workforce. In addition, as time progresses the workforce will be made up of ethnic minorities, women and immigrants; these demographics are represented in about half of the labor pool. During the next ten years it is estimated that they will contribute more than 80 percent of the net additions (Nigro, Nigro & Kellough, 2007). Education is another demographic that affects public personnel. Education is increasingly important because it is a requirement for most jobs and it makes the labor market very competitive. More people are seeking a higher education thus attaining higher level positions in the workforce which leaves other positions open for qualified individuals that have the skills and experience needed.
Demographics have a positive effect on the growth of public personnel because it widens the labor market. Technology plays a major role in society’s daily lives and it has improved and transformed the way society works and communicates. The way people conduct their jobs in the future will be impacted by the change and innovation of technology. Artificial intelligence, computer networks, imaging technology and massive data storage has become fundamental tools for most employees and will continue to have evolutionary effects on occupations (Thong & Seah, 2000). Technology has really reshaped how jobs are done. Transitioning fully into a technologically based economy will have both positive and negative effects on the workforce. Technology change and innovation will fundamentally change and make jobs more challenging, create new jobs and eliminate several jobs as well. Political systems were created to improve responsiveness of management and government’s control about decisions on hiring and firing. Elected officials control policy objectives of the public sector. The composition and size of the public service reflects the policy priorities of governments (Nigro, Nigro & Kellough, 2007).
The legislature maintains control over resources by limiting the total number of employees an agency can hire, staffing levels in particular agencies or programs, and the personnel budget (Wise, 2002). During the Reagan administration federal agencies grew and expanded. Many agencies experienced significant growths and one in particular was the Department of Defense. Whereas during the Clinton administration federal agencies were downsized greatly this produced a huge decline in employment. The Department of Defense made up about 64 percent of downsizing during his time in office. Political change can affect public personnel growth negatively and positively. Moreover, partisanship is one trend in particular that can hinder the growth of public personnel today. Over the years the division amongst Democrats and Republicans has really grown which can really affect the entire public sector. At times this division can reach a point where improvement or advancement is nearly unattainable. When policy makers cannot come to an agreement or a clear consensus it leads to policies and public sectors that are subpar. Strategies Needed to Create a Diversified Workforce
As organizations move forward and progress it is important to capitalize on the skills of individuals from diversified backgrounds. Diversity enriches, expands and provides an organization with a competitive edge; they enable them to expand into new markets. Therefore, four strategies that are needed to create a diversified workforce would be establishing a recruiting strategy, diversity programs and training, construct diverse work teams and sustain commitment. Diversity in recruiting requires that companies go after potential candidates who demonstrate qualification for the job but also bring a variety of individual characteristics, experiences, ideas and backgrounds to the team (Guzman, 2000). An organizations recruitment effort is a fundamental part in creating a diverse workforce. Establishing a recruiting strategy that reinforces an organization’s goals on diversity is important because it helps an organization compete in a changing economy. Recruiters should target individuals that are from a variety of backgrounds, have diverse educational accolades and different experiences and talents as well.
Furthermore, they should look for people that are willing to embrace diversity and able to work with people who are different from them. Diversity education programs can help employees to recognize prejudices and cultural assumptions in their own minds, while teaching them skills to respectfully seek to understand other cultures they come in contact with (Pelled, 1996). Mutual respect for differences among employees and managers are developed through diversity trainings. Employees will gain knowledge of cultural similarities and differences that the organization encompasses as well. The benefits of diversity training in the workplace are obvious–men and women of different cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds work together and create a harmonious work environment (Pelled, 1996). Organizations should construct diverse team by assigning employees to work together with individuals they normally would not have chosen nor had the opportunity to work with in a team.
These teams should be composed of individuals from different generations, cultures, work styles and skills. For example, a team comprised of two to three different generations may discover they have vastly different work styles but an identical level of commitment to reaching professional and organizational goals (Pelled, 1996). Constructing diverse teams is essential because people are learning to work well with others who differ from them and they are able to learn from other’s experiences and skills as well. Sustaining commitment is the foundation of a successful effort to build and maintain a diverse, high-quality workforce (Guzman, 2000). The administration needs to clearly state their commitment to all employees. They should be committed to developing a workplace that truly values differences. Furthermore, employees need to be a key factor in an organizations effort to organize and plan diversity programs and activities. Public personnel need to be advised on diversity formation and retention procedures in the workplace while learning how to attain and supervise diversity. Strategies the Government must address to Sustain Union Membership and Representation
Sustaining union membership and representation amongst employees is imperative to creating an environment where all stakeholders are represented and fair policies are implemented, accomplishing this task is quite an undertaking and requires the strategic human resources framework approach (Godard, 2007). The four strategies the government must address to sustain union membership and representation among public employees are to develop a high performance culture, develop labor relations programs, implement job enrichment programs and implement participative management.
High performance cultures are dependent on how things get done, how decisions are made, what works and does not work as far as behaviors and what gets rewarded and how. The key to developing a high performance culture is to clearly define where the organization is headed and during what particular time frame. Procedures and ethics are both necessary as well. The specifics of a culture are unique because it is based on what will work best for the organization. It is important that public personnel communicate the culture they are striving for. Performance cultures are established through employees handling job task and goals in result oriented manner.
Labor relations strategic plans help management and labor identifies goals, develops strategies to reach goals and plans to accomplish goals. Developing such a strategic plan allows the parties to move away from simply reacting to each other, towards an approach where they have a clear understanding of the best way to operate effectively to accomplish the mission of the agency and achieve their labor relations goals (Godard, 2007). A labor relations strategic plan allows organizations and individuals to create ways to have effective relationships in order to meet relevant needs. It provides a strategic method in having labor relations that will be very valuable to all parties involved. Furthermore, an effective labor relations strategic plan integrates efficient ways to deal with labor relations and labor laws. Job enrichment is a fundamental part of attracting, motivating, and retaining talented people, particularly where work is repetitive or boring (Godard, 2007). Administration needs to figure out where and why employees are dissatisfied with their job then develop enrichment programs.
It is important to inform employees and communicate any major changes being made to enrich the workplace implementing job enrichment programs creates a workplace that involves employee acknowledgment and involvement. These programs should be designed to balance job satisfaction and operational needs. Lastly, it is necessary for the organization to regularly monitor the programs and evaluate their effectiveness. Participative management creates a workforce that is committed to obtaining positive results for the organization such as increased productivity and improved quality (Kim, 2002). Preparedness, communication, dedication and organization are all critical in implementing this form of management. In addition, employees are given authorization and responsibility over job tasks. Employees are given essential tools to assist in improving work performance and the bottom line as well.
It provides an environment to make employee needs known and creates a vehicle for improved communication between all areas of the organization. This management approach is beneficial because employees are encouraged and involved; they willingly put forth the effort to enhance work productivity as well. The public sector reform has been a challenging and steady process. This reform is a direct outcome of the obvious changes in society’s way of living and thinking. Expanded interest and continuous growth in public personnel management careers has contributed to the reform as well. The field of public administration will continue to grow and advance therefore public personnel will have to change. This change may be challenging however they will have to find new and improved strategies and approaches to developing effective and diverse workplaces while remaining competitive.
Godard, J. (2007). Unions, Work Practices, and Wages under Different Institutional Environments. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 60(4), 457-476.
Guzman, C. (2000). Recruitment, retention, and workforce diversity. American Water Works Association, 92(1), 76-77.
Kim, S. (2002). Participative Management and Job Satisfaction: Lessons for Management Leadership. Public Administration Review, 62(2), 231-241.
Nigro, L., Nigro, F., & Kellough, J.E. (2007). The New Public Personnel Administration (6 th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson – Wadsworth – Cengage Learning.
Pelled, L.H. (1996). Demographic Diversity, Conflict, and Work Group Outcomes: An Intervening Process Theory. Organization Science, 7(6), 615-631.
Thong, J. & Seah, K. (2000). Business Process Reengineering in the Public Sector. Journal of Management Information Systems, 17(1), 245-270.
Wise, L.R. (2002). Public Management Reform: Competing Drivers of Change. Public Administration Review, 62(5), 555-567.