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March 26, 2019 3 min read

Putting people at the heart of public-sector transformations


Tackling Digital Transformation in government can be hugely complex. That is why it is critical to get the people component right.

Regardless of the sector and specialty, it is always a challenge to bring major change in a large, complex organisation. McKinsey research has found that 74% of private-sector transformation efforts fail to meet their objectives, while in the public sector, the failure rate is even higher, at 80%. In both sectors, people practices are a decisive factor, often making the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful strategy. Indeed, the five key success factors for government transformations all have a strong people component.

five key success factors for government transformations


Optimation’s Executive Director in Talent Supply Solutions, Craig McGrory, states:

“Both in private and public sectors, getting the right people at the right time is critical to realising the value that technology initiatives promise to deliver. We know this challenge can only get tougher in a highly competitive talent market where tools, techniques and styles of engagement are rapidly changing, and there are some unique factors in the public sector to be able to adapt and to succeed.”


Although there is a lot of evidence that shows processes and cultures in government can make people more resistant to change than business organisations, the positive impact that governments’ public-services aim gives them an advantage of mobilizing people to live their values and achieve social outcomes.

We approve McKinsey’s three essential practices for government leaders to think about people-driven change:

·        Take a frank look at your organization and the cultural challenges it faces.

·        Start at the top: build change-leadership skills and mind-sets in yourself and your senior team.

·        Nurture the right capabilities: most public-sector staff, from the transformation team to the front line, need new skills to succeed in major change efforts.

Successful transformations are championed by committed leaders, who take responsibility for the change. Another survey found that just 28% of public-sector managers were trained in supporting employees’ development, against with 41% of managers across all sectors.

Does your organisation make the most of capability development?

Beyond these broader steps in capability building, governments must also ensure that the teams tasked with managing the transformation are staffed with high-potential employees with clearly defined roles and responsibilities—and that the employees are trained effectively to deliver on those responsibilities. When governments get that right, they can double the success rate of large-scale change efforts.

All over the world, governments and public-sector agencies face an urgent call for ambitious, large-scale transformation in order to deliver better outcomes, improve communities’ experience of public services, and make constrained budgets go further. To achieve these results and get the digital transformation strategy right, governments need to focus on the 3 Ps: people, people, and people.

Optimation helps public sector agencies by removing the burden from government leaders by providing focused expertise and talent supply solutions that enable them to achieve targeted and measurable outcomes.

Because we work with demanding and highly complex organisations like the Ministry of Health and the Department of Corrections, we know that solving the people puzzle takes much more than a standard recruitment agency or body shopping approach. That’s why we deliver talent supply solutions through our specialist company Presto. Presto’s team brings over 100 combined years of experience and strong local and global talent networks, underpinned by robust end-to-end processes.

Our customers value our flexibility, adaptability and ability to scale. We can do everything from finding niche skills to tackle a specific technology problem or to augment your in-house team through to managing sustainable and cost-effective sourcing across large projects and transformation programmes. Working with Optimation and Presto, you will be able to make ‘point in time’ talent supply decisions based on your needs and the outcomes you seek.



For details on our full Talent Supply Solutions offering, please visit Presto or contact Craig McGrory.