Leadership crisis threatens public sector reform drive

Published on Tuesday, 07 June 2011 14:32
Posted by Scott Buckler

Public sector management lack confidence in the ability of senior leaders to meet the challenges of far-reaching reform, both now and in the future (June 7th)

The research, conducted by the Hay Group, reveals a failure across the public sector to renew and adapt talent management strategies in line with radical changes brought about by government spending cuts - despite a widespread need to develop new leadership roles and workforce capabilities.

Yet the research also highlights a very real danger that cost cutting will impact the capacity to develop and retain future leaders and talent.

The study, Mind the talent gap: dealing with the deficit, was conducted with 131 public sector leaders ranging from board and executive level to middle management.

Jody Goldsworthy, associate director at Hay Group, comments: “The report raises concerns over whether public sector leaders can steer their organisations through unprecedented reform, and whether leaders are being developed for the sector’s future needs.

“Many organisations are overlooking the leadership and workforce development strategies crucial to success in a changed landscape. These need to be reviewed as a matter of urgency.”

Crisis of confidence

The report reveals a crisis of confidence in public sector leaders’ ability to effectively manage the impact of cuts and deliver on future strategies.

Against a backdrop of comprehensive reform, a majority (56 per cent) of public sector respondents (covering all levels of leadership) do not believe their senior leaders have the skills required to manage current change.

The concern is even more acute when looking to the future. Three fifths (60 per cent) fear that their leadership population does not possess the right skills and capabilities to successfully meet future challenges.

Talent lag

Organisational restructuring is progressing largely to plan in the public sector, Hay Group found.

The majority (60 per cent) of public sector leaders have reviewed the core purpose of their organisation. Of these, 58 per cent are radically changing their long term strategy and some 70 per cent are adapting their operating model.

Interestingly, more than two thirds (69 per cent) of this group recognise that new types of leadership roles are required to deliver future strategy.

Yet talent management is not keeping pace. Almost three quarters (73 per cent) of organisations have not renewed their talent management strategy or systematically addressed how to identify and retain high potentials.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

Hay Group’s report also highlights a failure to build new capability requirements into future workforce plans.


Source: Hay Group

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