What is the Current State of Human Resources in Government?

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Stephen Beard, Strategic Program Director - HCM SaaS at Oracle, about the current state of HR in government and important elements of a workforce planning initiative. The entire interview can be listened to below, along with a synopsis of the conversation.




Stephen provided some insights to what the critical elements of an HR strategy are, “There are two primary elements that are essential, the first one is leadership and the support of an organizational leader. If HR workforce planning is just an HR project, it will fail. It has to be grounded in organizational strategy and supported by executive leadership.”

Stephen continued, “The second critical element is design, the product of human decision. The best tool used the wrong way will produce less than the intended results. You have to ask the right questions, what are we trying to accomplish, what are we trying to measure and how do we know we have been successful.”

The HR community faces numerous challenges in the workplace. Stephen identified three challenges facing organizations. Stephen mentioned that in many organizations he works with, there are talent shortages in key job classes. Managing the workplace and identifying what talents are needed, can help to alleviate talent shortages. Likewise, improved education for computer science and technology can bring a higher educated workforce in the workforce.

A second challenge that Stephen identifies is a budget constraint for HR professionals. Stephen states, “Budget shortfalls and the impact budgets shortfalls have on HR services and program delivery, at the end of the day we are expected to do more with less. Many HR organizations across the country are operating on shoestring budgets. One person doing the work of two or maybe three people.”

The final challenge identifies the changing workforce demographics and how GenY members view the workforce differently than previous generations. Stephen stated, “The new workforce coming out of college today has a completely different view of the work. Workforce rewards, and work ethic. HR always has that generational gap challenge, but maybe more acute now because our technology use, and how we use technology in our life is changing at such a rapid place.”

When asked how the HR community has changed over the years, Stephen insightfully answered, “What we do hasn’t change as much as how we do it.” He continues, “Making sure the right people in the right place at the right time and equipped adequately to do their job. That has been HR’s charged for years, but certainly the technologies we have in place today to do it more efficiently”

Stephen concluded the interview by providing some lessons learned and best practices. “Keep it singular, make sure your workforce plan is tied to a single vision,” stated Stephen. By keeping singular, people can align strategies to the business and build support around HR initiatives, with clear objectives and goals. The best practice is “Keep it simple, to many times we try to over complicate, we try to measure to many things, and bring in way to many moving parts.” Finally, Stephen emphasized the importance of integration across the team and business functions, “Keep it seamless, all the parts of the workforce plan need to be integrate and contribute to the whole.”

Be sure to listen in to the entire interview and learn about the current state of HR and strategies to improve initiatives. If you would like more information on workforce planning, be sure to check out the Workforce Planning Guide.

Below are some related links for you to check out:


Oracle offers an optimized and fully integrated stack of business hardware and software systems that helps organizations overcome complexity and unleash innovation.. Check out their Optimize with Oracle group on GovLoop as well as the Technology Sub-Community of which they are a council member.

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