Michael Ashford is the vice president of strategic partnerships of Granicus.
It's time to stop denying that an inevitable change is needed in government recruiting. That change is mobile technology, and if accepted and adopted, it will be the catalyst to attracting much-needed young government workers and top IT/tech talent.
In fact, according to Mika Cross, a presidential management council fellow for workplace transformation strategy, the highest-rated places to work in the federal government are also, coincidentally, high adopters of mobility practice.
You may be wondering why, exactly, is there so much demand for young recruits in government? To begin with, there is a strong concern about the generational mix making up the government today. According to the Office of Personnel Management, about 45 percent of the federal workforce was more than 50 years old in 2013, and by September 2015, it is estimated that nearly 25 percent of all federal employees will be eligible to retire.
Additionally, an increasingly innovative and fast-paced world lends itself to the young and talented minds who grew up with technology at their fingertips -- those who will be charged with continuing to create this type of environment. Without a strong group of young talent coming down the pike, the future of our government is threatened.
The bottom line is, if you are not working on integrating mobile technology into your government recruiting strategy, you could be losing out on a lot of young and top talent.
Here are some ways mobile technology will help recruit top talent and why your organization needs to get on board:
Up-to-date technology used by recruiters will impress new recruits. Government recruiting has become much more competitive over the years. However, that competition hasn’t come from within government organizations, but rather the private sector. As government organizations have continually lagged behind the exciting and innovative advances of the private sector, top talent the government really needs is being lost.
Something simple but markedly influential is the technology in the hands of a government recruiter. If premier candidates are walking around a fair or meeting with a recruiter and see that an out-of-date phone or device is being used, they are much more likely to walk away or lose interest.
You don’t need to invest in the latest and greatest technologies, which could look like an overzealous purchase to taxpayers. Simply investing in standard devices that don’t feel ancient to young recruits -- or adopting bring your own device policies -- can make you look more relevant. These devices can even save money by allowing recruiters to be more efficient and travel less by working more effectively from remote locations.
Mobile operations allow for telecommuting with a more flexible schedule. Cost savings are significant when it comes to a mobile workforce -- working from home one day a week can equate to millions of dollars in savings.
Work-life balance is very important to the youth of today, and mobile technology can enable government the chance to offer this to their employees and recruits. By offering a more flexible work schedule, top talent will be much more drawn to the possibility of working for government.
It also expands the talent pool by removing the restrictions of working only with top talent within a single geographic location. Mobile technology allows everyone to get and stay connected 24/7 without actually being together in person.
Young graduates don’t accept organizations that don’t accept mobile technology. The younger generation grew up with mobile phones and tablets at their disposal. They know it, they trust it, they believe in it. Therefore, it’s not surprising they are apprehensive of working somewhere that hasn’t adopted it.
Today’s top talent expects to push the envelope with innovation and creativity. They want to make a meaningful difference and believe they can do that with the right resources. Embracing mobile technology will allow government to provide the resources young talent desires and compete with the private sector in attracting the upcoming generation of recruits, rather than pushing them further away.
Mobile technology is a way of life for new graduates and today’s top IT talent. Civic-minded entrepreneurs have already started the app revolution, which is allowing government and citizens to more closely engage and communicate. Without the ability to use this type of technology, it is obvious to top talent they will not have the type of support or technology they need to truly make a difference.
There is no denying mobile technology must be adopted into government operations, or else competition from the private sector will eat up all the top talent. The time is now to make changes that will have a positive effect on government recruiting.