Future-Proofing Public Sector Learning & Development (L&D) Operations


The workforce is changing – and changing rapidly. Workers are constantly in search of new opportunities, and organizations are offering a multitude of incentives to attract new talent. Although flexible schedules, remote arrangements and increased paid time off may elicit increased interest in the Public Sector, the more systemic question is, “How will governmental entities continue to serve stakeholders with a shrinking workforce?”

Future-proofing Public Sector learning & development (L&D) operations is one way to stem workforce losses.

While private sector counterparts have the potential to adapt quickly to emerging market trends, governments are constrained by annual budget cycles and rigid HR requirements established by statute and rule. L&D operations in some organizations are overcoming these constraints by adopting innovative tools and leveraging strategic L&D partners to close the gap.

Accelerate Time to Proficiency and Enhance Employee Experience

Onboarding new talent can be awkward, time consuming and downright ineffective. Leaders can avoid this risk by making the onboarding experience fun and interactive – even if it is remote. One way of accomplishing this is through immersive self-paced and on-demand learning solutions. Legacy instructor-led training involves pairing new hires with a subject-matter expert, which is the most expensive model to sustain and limited in scalability. Although shadowing has been a key tool with limited effectiveness in the past, hybrid work arrangements, regular system changes and rapid attrition have increased demands on existing staff, making this approach more difficult and even, at times, impossible to deploy.

Most public servants are busy providing quality service to their external constituents and internal customers. Adding the responsibility of training a new hire, especially in a complex or technical application, can become a burden to top performers. These additional duties, coupled with high turnover among newer hires, can lead to burnout and frustration from existing staff – both of which can lead to further attrition. Delivery of a concise and effective learning experience can immediately increase productivity and employee satisfaction.

Tools to Improve the Training Experience

Public Sector organizations can increase the pool of applicants and empower new hires by making training more engaging and more efficient. Numerous applications on the market today can guide users through a live system or simulate a live system using anonymized data decoupled from the production system. The former approach offers value-add training for a new hire to enter transactions, albeit slowly and with a heavy dependence on the guided directions. But this value-add can quickly turn to value-drain if personnel need to correct improperly entered data in a production system.

In this new paradigm, a simulation tool allows new users to interact with what would appear to be a completely interactive production system, which can be adapted as the system evolves. This allows organizations to quickly change field names, drop-down values and location of data-entry tasks. Rather than re-develop an entire training video or update presentations used for instructor-led workshops, organizations can now rapidly evolve their training materials and publish them to trainees with the single click of a button. These modern technologies can also integrate with live systems to provide in-application support.

Simulated Training Beyond New Hires

Training simulation tools are not just for new hires – they are becoming a necessity with the rapidly evolving cloud-based, Software as a Service (SaaS) applications emerging across all industries. Traditionally, major system upgrades occurred every five to 10 years. In a SaaS application, organizations receive updates every six months, if not sooner. These updates are typically more subtle than a major upgrade, but it is still change, nonetheless.

Public Sector organizations can now keep advanced users empowered and upskill junior staff and new hires all with the same tool. Simulated courses allow for asynchronous learning, which has become the market norm since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This approach also allows trainees to learn at their own pace and build confidence through knowledge checkpoints during the learning journey.

Stabilize Costs through ISG’s Innovative Training as a Service (TaaS) Offering

Adequately preparing users for these incremental changes can be challenging and expensive. The cyclical nature of SaaS releases can leave L&D teams with little activity for months on end, followed by a flurry of effort to update materials in the days leading up to a release. Lengthy idle time followed by a crush of activity creates burnout and discontent among staff. Rather than perpetuating this burden and the associated fixed costs, governmental institutions can begin looking toward a more variable approach through ISG’s innovative Training as a Service (TaaS) offering.

Instead of maintaining a set staffing level during valleys and burning out staff in the peaks, Public Sector organizations can now optimize the staffing of their L&D office for “steady state” operations and rely on ISG to expand and contract resources as necessary. This approach helps lower the overall costs for organizations, which will become increasingly important as more and more SaaS solutions are adopted and evolved.

ISG’s TaaS team offers a mix of global professionals to provide services in a 5/24 three-shift model approach at competitive rates. We partner with our clients to provide advisory services, content design and development, delivery logistics support and technology management. Through our TaaS offering, ISG helps organizations manage the workload by optimizing your training operations and by being your consistent partner from year to year to ensure your training is always in compliance with your rapidly evolving systems and processes. This approach allows Public Sector organizations to transition those periodic, heavy workloads to a partner and focus on identifying new training opportunities to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the workforce.

Adapting to Continuous Change through Innovation and Partnerships

The workforce is changing, and systems are changing. Now is the time for Public Sector leaders to approach this change by empowering teams, optimizing L&D operations and managing fixed costs by considering new models such as TaaS. Don’t be overwhelmed by the massive and lasting movement of the labor market. Instead, turn to a trusted partner who can help you thrive in uncertainty and support your staff providing critical services to the stakeholders who depend on your organization.


About the author

Alex Perry

Alex Perry

Alex Perry is a thought leader in identifying, sourcing, implementing and sustaining pragmatic technology solutions in the public sector industry. He is passionate about leveraging emerging digital solutions to improve services for stakeholders across state and local governments. Focusing on processes before technologies, Alex works with public professionals to identify impactful and lasting process optimization opportunities to unlock the true potential of IT investments. His experience includes strategic planning and development, business analytics strategy, solution development and adoption, ERP planning and optimization, project management, and transformation management. Though he began his career in the public sector as a Business Analytics Director for a large state agency, prior to joining ISG Alex transitioned to consulting as a Director for one of the world’s largest IT and business consulting firms. At ISG, he continues to further his reach and impact by serving government clients across the nation.