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In this episode, Frank is speaking with Maria Damborg Hald from Microsoft. She has a wide range of experience with digitalization in the public sector, and in her previous roles she has, among other things, led a number of major IT implementation projects across government institutions.
The exciting conversation deep dives into the key concerns right now:
What do we do about the digital skills gap in general and what's proving successful for the public sector?
Both Frank and Maria share a passion for digitalization in the public sector, and you´ll understand why as their conversation progresses. The first key point to recognize, when discussing the public sector, is the diversity and vastness of it. It is as diverse as the private sector is.
You will find digital frontrunners who have restructured their service models based on the most recent technological developments, and you´ll also find others who are struggling to keep up with digital transformation.
In Maria's view, we do have a lot to be proud of in the public sector. Public leads in many ways, but there is also cause for concern. Many private corporations will recognize the chasm of speed, that Frank and Maria go on to discuss.
In the public sector, we are still capitalizing on tech investments made 10-15 years ago, and the question is, when do we need to re-invest to ensure that we stay on the forefront? Skilling is a big part of this issue and as Frank states, it can even become an opportunity, if we get it right.
What has changed?
Well, Microsoft has always been about skills, but they are picking up the pace on the cultural journey about having a growth mindset with leadership and employees. In essence, that means moving away from being specialists, who know it all, to being partners who contribute more as "learn-it-all's - who listen more than they talk.
Now, we are all facing a more complex digital environment that demands a constant beta mindset.
The time has passed from learning a skill and completing your education. The complexity of technology today demands life-long learning.
The thing about growth mindsets...
In Maria's view, the key to implementing and maintaining a growth mindset is skilling.
You want tailored programmes for senior leadership teams, as skilling plans and initiatives need to be anchored with the leadership to be effective.
Also, you want skilling to be widely available to everybody in the organization, and you want to provide the time and the opportunity to be learning, always.
Public leads the way in Talent Acquisition
The jobmarket for digital skills is burning hot. Everybody is poaching people from each other and salaries increase all the time. The fact is, that we are facing a demographical challenge and we all have to work together to make ends meet.
Basically, it is almost impossible to have a job in Denmark anywhere in the jobmarket without a basic tech skillset, and that clearly contributes to drive demand for digital skills.
We do have a potential to relieve some of the demand with process automation and other technology, but we will need to re-skill and up-skill to help close the digital skills gap, and we need new talent.
How do you acquire Talent?
Maria and Frank have both worked with public sector organizations that are hiring new talent in very ambitious ways. One of them is the Danish tax agency. What they did, was that they made skilling a key part of their value proposition as an employer.
They recently launched a new recruitment campaign that contained messaging around the importance that they put on skilling, and how they provide the time and opportunity to get certified and acquire new skills
Their senior leadership team have put very deliberate effort behind the uplift of skilling, and it has proven very attractive for new talent.
Maria points out another key success factor:
They have been targeting diverse backgrounds for digital roles, they really thought of it as a privilege to tear down silos and challenge bias.
Frank and Maria both have the same experience with this. When you hire the unusual profiles from non STEM backgrounds you find a blessing in disguise. These profiles bring fresh views and they have been some of the best recruitments that both can recall having made.
Central to all efforts is skilling though. Make it a central value proposition, include skilling as a strategic concern and make sure that all team members have access and time to keep learning.
The Know your Skills Quiz
How does a pro such as Maria do on the Quiz? You'll need to listen to learn some very surprising fun facts around these questions for instance:
- Which 2 countries in the EU had the highest number of citizens with basic IT Skills?
- How many in the public sector say that the lack of cloud skills is a barrier to their cloud journey?
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Maria heads the Public Sector team with Microsoft Denmark and works with the continued development and digitization of the public sector in Denmark.
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