Change must be expected in the public sector, but in a piece published on GCN, four specific forces are determined to be placing the most amount of pressure on government. These forces are impacting government organisations at every level, imposing significant and lasting change on the public sector.
The rise of the millennials
Millennials are a major force of change in the world, approximately 32.1 percent of people aged 18-34 are living at home with their parents, more than at any time in the past 130 years.
Millennials also are carrying more student debt than previous generations, with 68 percent leaving college with debt. Lastly, a large portion of this generation came into the job market during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. These factors affect how millennials plan and navigate their lives; they drive decisions around how and when millennials get married or start a family. The new challenge for government is in serving a generation that is writing a new chapter for itself.
Government agencies at the state and federal level will be impacted by the behavior of this demographic and must think through how to adapt to the changes millennials are already having on work and familial expectations. As the number of direct citizen-to-government interactions continues to increase, the needs and demands of millennials will change how government agencies see themselves and their missions – and, most importantly, how they serve the public as a whole.
In the current budgetary environment, the tight constraints will be a feature for the next 4 years. In response, government leaders must find new ways to deliver on their agencies' mission.
Budget constraints can provide opportunities to identify inefficiencies and ways to apply strategy, creativity and technology solutions.
Increasing citizen expectations
As consumers’ needs have been met in new ways over the years, expectations for service have only continued to rise, and citizens are increasingly expecting that same level of service from government. Today, the idea that government is different and that citizens should expect a different level of service is increasingly intolerable. This is an opportunity for agencies to design tools that improve transparency or enhance citizen access to benefits and information.
The impact of digital
Digital transformation also has upended business models that had worked for over a century. A firm example lies in the retail industry, where the likes of Amazon have forced independent stores to close down. Government is not immune to these changes; on the contrary, it exists in the middle of this shifting landscape. While digital – from responsive websites to social media – has changed the calculus for how federal agencies successfully serve the public, it also provides an opportunity to enhance everything from policy to human resources to acquisition.
The challenge for government agencies of all sizes, then, is not how to address each one of these forces individually but how to develop a comprehensive operating and investment model that creates the future of government.