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Topic: Culture

4 Culture Trends for Government Agencies in 2021

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Building great workplace cultures in government agencies can be challenging, especially with the rapid pace of change in the modern workplace. Here are four of the hottest culture trends that will impact government agencies in 2021:

Update: The way we work shifted dramatically overnight. In Q1 of 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic hit. Businesses and their employees are being forced to change how they work in some unprecedented ways. While most employees transitioned to remote work, many are left working on the front lines with new social distancing requirements. Confusion, anxiety, and fear are palpable. How will employees adapt to this change in work environment, process, and roles? How can companies help employees be calm, productive, and healthy?

O.C. Tanner pulse surveys show 40% of employees globally are worried about losing their job, while 60% worry about lost income. 65% of employees report feeling a “tense” work environment, and 46% of employees say they are less productive at work. There’s a 221% increase in fearfulness among employees, and a 135% increase in feeling isolated.

During a time of great uncertainty and change, many companies are struggling with how to take care of their people and keep their businesses operating.

What companies can do: In times of crisis, it is a company’s responsibility to help employees thrive. This includes many things: ensuring employees are safe at work, giving them access to the tools and resources they need to do their jobs, prioritizing employee wellbeing, and communicating honestly, accurately, and frequently. Organizations are taking the necessary steps: 92% of companies took appropriate actions to make sure their employees were safe at work. Video communication from senior leaders nearly doubled. The number of flexible leave policies increased 95%. Now is the time to make employees your most important asset. Take care of their needs, help them stay connected in a time of physical disconnection, and show appreciation for their work and efforts, especially those on the front line. If you take care of your people, they will take care of your business.

This means we need to understand how employees are feeling and what they want from work.  Here the 4 culture trends for 2021 (as they existed before the pandemic):

Culture Trend #1: Employees are burning out.

47% of government employees say they are burned out. It’s no surprise why: government staff members have experienced shutdowns in recent years, and opportunities for growth aren’t typically a priority in this sector. 57% of government employees used to feel more optimistic about their careers, and 48% admit the things they used to tolerate now bother them. This discontent, combined with slow salary growth, capped earning potential, and a limited sense of control, is contributing to burnout in the government sector.

According to the 2020 O.C. Tanner Global Culture Report, 44% of government employees said that even if they wanted to change something at their organization, it wouldn't matter. 57% say they used to feel more optimistic about their career. A recent Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey highlighted that only one in three Millennials believes creativity and innovation are rewarded in their organizations.

What government agencies can do: You may not be able to increase salaries or change pay grades, but you can help your people feel empowered. If possible, create opportunities for your employees to provide suggestions and feedback about how to improve. Create positive everyday experiences at work, so employees feel optimistic about how they’re contributing. Find ways to connect the work employees do to the greater good, and be intentional about recognizing their accomplishments. Creating a great workplace culture can help reduce employee burnout and remind employees why they chose to work for a government agency.

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