3 lessons from Canada’s public service approach to creating a digital workforce

The Canadian federal government is attempting to implement a strategy to incorporate a more digitally-inclined workforce, and there are lessons to be learned for other organizations trying to do the same.

A whitepaper by Wendy Cukier, the director of the Diversity Institute at Ryerson University, published in collaboration with Amazon Web Services, outlines the struggles the government has faced so far and are likely to face in the future.

And many of those struggles can be direct learning opportunities for companies that are looking to facilitate more digitally-oriented workforces.

Develop a culture that promotes inclusiveness and support

The most efficient manner to build a staff that is ready for the digital revolution is to facilitate the retraining of your current staff; as opposed to relying solely on new hires.

To do so, one must break the status quo, according to Cukier. Of the many areas that could be revamped, she singles out policies relating to child-care, flexible work, hierarchies, and harassment.

Once a culture of support and inclusiveness has been established, the workforce you already have is likely to feel more comfortable and motivated as they move into the new digital landscape that must be embraced to succeed in today’s business climate.

Update your human resources and the hiring practices they use

Once you have allowed your current staff to develop their digital skills through a digital-friendly culture, another big step you should be taking is modernizing how your HR department operates and the hiring practices they use.

No longer are operations like analytics, user experience, and artificial intelligence a job for “code warriors”, as Cukier states.

And you must embrace hiring practices that bring in individuals ready to handle what is now becoming more and more common practice in business.

Cukier believes that by approaching hiring with an eye on diversity, you will open your options up vastly, allowing you to find the workforce that matches up with your modern needs.

Revamp your approach to training

While this would seem like an obvious suggestion, it is still absolutely crucial.

Not only must you change what you are teaching your employees, but how you are doing it, according to Cukier. In her whitepaper, she calls it “hybrid training.”

Which she says consists of, first and foremost, ensuring that your leadership is digitally savvy. Without that, you will struggle to modernize your workforce as a whole.

And then, working from the top down, you should put into place training programs that assess your current staff in relation to how their skills match up with the digital age, and then “upskilling” them as is deemed necessary.

So just like upselling, take what you already have and see what can be further leveraged from that base point.

Contrary to what some may believe, Cukier believes that is easier to build off a base of the “soft skills” and knowledge of the industry and then add the technical skills that are required, rather than the other way around.







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Buckley Smith
Buckley Smithhttps://www.itbusiness.ca
Staff writer for IT World Canada. Covering the world of technology as it applies to business. Buckley is an avid sports fan who loves travel, food, and music. Can be contacted at [email protected] or 416-290-2000.

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