How can we identify and unlock skill sets within public sector organisations?

Suzy Dean, CEO of EasySharePoint.

This post is by Suzy Dean, CEO of EasySharePoint.

There’s a wealth of talent within public sector organisations, but it’s often hard to find and identify relevant skill sets when they’re needed.

Everyone in the workplace has secrets. Not the deep, dark secrets we see in murder mysteries or TV dramas, but secrets of the more mundane kind.

These aren’t secrets we consciously keep, but instead things our colleagues just don’t know about us.  They’re the skills we’ve acquired over the course of our careers, but may not use as part of our day-to-day work.

Most of the time, this is because our current role focuses on a specific part of our skillset, rather than utilising all our talents. But often these skills can be of use to an entirely different part of the organisation.

The challenge comes in identifying and reacting to these opportunities. Given the size of most public sector organisations, it’s near impossible to know the past work experience and training of colleagues outside our immediate teams.

This is especially true given the raft of organisational changes to the public sector in recent years, where structural changes have not been matched by personnel changes, leaving some individuals working in roles far removed from the job they were originally hired for. This is particularly true of the NHS. Last year’s abolition of Primary Care Trusts is just one example of how roles and responsibilities have been shifted from one area of the NHS to another.

Managing and reacting to change is a vital part of the modern public sector. At EasySharePoint we believe that more often than not, the necessary skills for handling change already exist within an organisation. What’s needed is a system for keeping track of the wealth of talent and skills within organisations. 

This is where an internal communications platform can really come into its own – providing a way to draw out and highlight these hidden skill sets.

A key element in this is user profiles - allowing individuals to share their passions and skills. Once we have these, it’s easy for teams kicking off a new project or in need of a specialist skillset to find out who within the organisation can help them. Additionally, having the right tools in place to facilitate collaborative working is key, public bodies can be spread over a number of locations, so having communal discussion forums is vital to help share relevant information.

The practical benefits are obvious, if Ellen is putting together a team to oversee change management, if she can quickly and easily see that Clive form the 4th floor worked on change management in a previous role, it’s an obvious step to include him on the team. 

Such success stories also provide a great source of content for internal news feeds. These create a positive feedback loop, helping drive a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing.

How does your organisation keep track of skill sets? Let us know on Twitter - @easysharepoint - and check out the story of how Greater Manchester West Mental Health put SharePoint to work.