Whilst the private sector may be perceived as the engine of growth for our economy, the public sector is the foundation across which Australia runs and is built to serve the community we live and work in. In a traditional sense, both have differing objectives, but these distinctions are becoming more blurred over time. Customer centricity within private sector organisations has long been a robust focus, with entire teams supporting the customer journey through measuring, mapping and continuous improvement programs. The advent of the Net Promotor System (NPS) score has seen organisations strive to simplify customer processes and harness technology, to fulfil personalisation of systems and better customer outcomes.
Increasingly, this heightened level of customer centricity is being translated into public sector organisations, regulators and service delivery agencies who have been early adopters of putting the customer at the heart of everything they do, showcasing a shift from a focus on commercial and operational management towards the customer experience.
Achieving a shift in thinking
Within the tiers of Government and the public sector, a level of probity and transparency exists inside the complex layers of management and scrutiny. Leadership in the public sector can be more complicated due to the combination of the political and administrative motivations, and increasingly leaders are looking outwards towards hiring from the private sector, to meet these changing demands. In providing a balance of skillsets from the public and private sectors, organisations can achieve the pragmatic, agile and customer centric skillsets required in private enterprise, alongside the stakeholder management and ability to manage business complexity skills from the public sector.
Naturally, movement from the private to public sector is becoming increasingly more fluid and organisations should assess each individual on their own merits, looking at the individual’s track record of success and the behavioural, cultural and motivational factors for making the switch. Whilst many skillsets are transferable between the two sectors, an inherent risk lies within hiring someone based on skillset alone, without a detailed assessment to determine cultural and motivational fit. Tailored psychometric and behavioural assessments serve to increase the opportunity for more diverse hires, as well as allowing a unique perspective into attracting the best talent to achieve the productivity, creativity, and engagement required. The public sector is actively focusing on bringing diverse talent into the sector, to benefit from the different talents available to better reflects the community it serves. The barriers to movement into the public sector at a senior leadership level may not be as great as they might appear to be – strong governance, risk management, a drive for innovation and a focus on consumer expectations are shared characteristics of successful leaders, no matter which sector they evolve from.
As the commercial gap tightens between public and private sectors, the need increases for leadership teams to develop clear talent management strategies, to both attract and retain the rich diversity of talent accessible.
If you would like to understand how clients have benefitted from genuine search assignments and learnings from within the Government or public sector, please contact Felicity.