Similarities Between Public and Private Sectors


We all have seen of or heard of differences between how it is in the public or private sectors. Let’s see some of the similarities between the two.

Customer service oriented – Both sectors are very customer oriented.  The customer for the private company is one that has agreed to pay for their services, where the customer for the public sector is its citizens as it relates to public service.  Although the customer base is different, the operations are very customer-focused.  They value their respective customers immensely because they evaluate (and re-evaluate) their efforts to ensure a high level of customer service. Their operations are focused on how they can improve and ensure that resources are used in an effective manner.

Open to change – With technology and the workforce changing by the day, it is nice to see that both public and private environments are open to change.  This is true for changes related to technology, changing the way that business is done, or even just a simple process change at a lower level.  The willingness to listen to new ideas and explore new possibilities is refreshing and opens the possibilities of improving business operations. The openness to change is important to the growth of the organizations.

Opportunities for employee growth – This applies to any employee, at any level.  Both public and private environments provide opportunities for career growth.  This can be coordinated in an informal or formal fashion. In my experience, I’ve seen a lot of support for employee growth in both areas where you can take on special assignments and outside opportunities to gain experiences in areas of your interest.  This can lead to employee job satisfaction and employee retention.  Employers in both sectors see this as a win-win situation because the employee gets the experience, and the employer can assign someone to the new task, even though it’s part time or temporary.

Executive support – Being involved in implementing organization-wide initiatives in both a private company and a public agency, I’ve found that executive staff is ready and willing to provide you the extra support and motivation that you need to implement the idea.  In addition to just the backing, I found that in both environments, executives enjoy being a part of the change or idea in the company or agency at a high level.  This becomes important and therefore helps make implementation that much easier.  In general, if you are willing to do the work, and executive staff sees the value in the change, they will be ready to support you.

Mentoring – Whether done formally or informally, I’ve found people in both sectors are open to mentoring others. They are willing to spend the extra time to talk with you while sharing their experiences and additional information they have and guide you through to being the best that you can be.  This becomes especially important when you are trying to build your identity, career and the relationships in your work environment.

Purvi Bodawala is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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Bill McFadden

It is true that there are certain commonalities and similarities between the two sectors. However the great difference is that the Government performs inherently governmental functions which a private sector business does not. If a customer is unhappy with a private sector businesses customer service they have the option of going to a different company. Also the government is not set up to make a profit in the way that a profit making private sector business is. So when one discusses the differences and similarities between the two, the two facts which I mentioned always need to be taken into consideration.