Documents/4P4BPS/3: Expertise & Skills

3: Expertise & Skills

Invest in expertise and skill building

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Investments in expertise and skill building -- Mission-driven employees are among the public sector's most valuable assets. Unfortunately, many governments fail to get the most out of their people -- they don't invest enough in developing their employees' skills and expertise. For instance, although government agencies have started to embrace "lean" principles such as value-stream mapping and Six Sigma process improvement, many are unable to sustain the impact from these initiatives because they haven't been deliberate about building internal capabilities. In a 2012 survey of 974 public-sector leaders, we found that only about 39 percent of large-scale public-sector projects fully met their targets. Sometimes, the problem is that governments invest in the wrong kind of training. Research has demonstrated that adults learn six to seven times more through practice and feedback than through lectures, yet far too many public-sector training programs consist of classroom sessions or self-study modules. Smart government institutions are ensuring that their employees develop and hone the skills that truly matter -- whether those are core competencies, sector-specific capabilities, or broader expertise in strategy and risk management.