Pandemic fundamentally changed how governments operate
LEXINGTON, KY, January 22, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ — Based on 2021 Top Ten Priorities of State Chief Administrators, an annual analysis of the policy and strategy priorities in government operations over the next twelve months, the investigation exposed an intense focus on the employee and customer experience, advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, and optimizing real estate. These, combined with other vital strategies, are critical to a reconceived world-class internal operation.
This year’s priorities include:
– Budget Reductions & Cost Efficiencies
– Customer Service & Experience
– Data Management & Analytics
– Digital Government, Automation & Augmentation
– Diversity, Equity, Inclusion in Procurement and in Workforce
– Employee Engagement & Experience
– Strategic Workforce Planning
– Supply Chain & Stockpile Management
– Workspaces & Built Space Optimization/Reduction
The priorities predict a swing from recruiting talent to a more focused shift on current employees and their experience and wellbeing. For the first time since the survey began in 2017, recruitment and talent acquisition did not make the final top ten. Due to the global health pandemic, hiring freezes, furloughs, and budget uncertainties likely changed this positioning in leadership priorities as well as the necessity for an empathetic response to employees that had to adapt to changing conditions.
Additionally, for the first time, state leaders note an urgency for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in government operations. A policy strategy that has been apparent in many states but did not rise to an elevated leadership focus is now vital and includes a review of inclusive actions around technology, facilities, procurement, budget, and the workforce.
“Going forward into 2021, NASCA will be looking to leverage the collective knowledge of state government and the private sector to equip states with leading best practices in these areas that they can apply within the constraints of their unique circumstances,” said Jason Jackson, NASCA’s Research and Policy Committee Chair, Director of the Nebraska Department of Administration and Chief HR Officer. “We have already found some exciting examples where states are leading the way in each of these areas.”
Noteworthy, the pandemic accelerated digital services and an emphasis on citizen-facing platforms, but internal operations also benefited from the shift from in-person and paper processes to streamlined digital tools and automation. Such processes include electronic plan reviews, virtual building inspections, and robust online employee training. Processes that allow for purchasing and expedited procurement, building inspection, technology improvements, personnel, and hiring, for example, are now happening more quickly and with more transparency.
“State Chief Administrators are the operational leaders of state government and can often be at the forefront of shaping how governments serve their people in response to these challenges,” said Jackson.
Although state revenue decline continues to be a moving target but less draconian than initially predicted in many states, budget optimization and constant search for cost savings will be at the forefront of many leadership decisions in the next twelve months. Many states note reduced headcounts and a review of the real estate footprint as levers to tackle revenue shortfalls.
In recent years, priorities included centralization/optimization and continuous improvement, although neither made the 2021 top ten list. The term “strategic procurement” shifted to a focus on stockpiles and supply chain management as a reflection of the necessity for fast response, procurement process redesign, and increased stockpiles in states.
For more information on NASCA’s Top Ten Priorities for State Chief Administrators, go to https://www.nasca.org/2021topten
The National Association of State Chief Administrators (NASCA) is the leading organization advancing professional development and best management solutions for the administrative functions of state government. The association provides state chief administrators with the opportunity to increase their knowledge of state government administration through education, networking and information exchange on state government trends, leading edge innovations, standards and best practices.
NASCA’s mission is to help state chief administrators and their teams strategically transform state government operations through the power of shared knowledge and thought leadership.
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