Developing and Recruiting the Future Public Servant
If the public service of the future is to fulfil the many different roles suggested in this book and have the types of competencies and skills needed to acquit them, there will need to be a significant shift in terms of the development and recruitment of public servants. Recruitment has traditionally been on the basis of skills and abilities in relation to particular professional domains, or based upon the tasks historically seen to be part of the role. However, as this book has illustrated, the future public servant will need explicit skills and abilities that go beyond these narrow confines and a different range of skills and abilities will be required and developed within strategic workforce planning. In this chapter we consider the types of changes that will be needed in relation to the development and recruitment of public servants, presenting examples of successful initiatives and suggestions that are transforming organizational practice. We suggest that there needs to be a rethinking of not only the types of skills required from ‘hard’ to ‘soft’ (Dickinson et al. in Aust J Public Adm 74:23–32, 2015), but also the way that such skills should be identified and developed. In this chapter we first clarify the importance of public servant capabilities and historical limitations with developing them. We then present social learning theory, suggesting that a move towards focusing on how things are learnt, rather than what is learnt, might enable a change in the human resource practices chosen to support capability development. Specifically, we use four elements of social learning as a framework to suggest development and recruitment activities which would better support the development of future public servants.
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