by Chris McLean, on Nov 17, 2016 10:53:53 AM
When the transformation of government is brought up in conversation, the public
often fears that it will be a major change in political policy. Their misconception usually includes that governmental transformation is just about tax cuts, raises, undercutting unions or creating new labor laws, which is incorrect. It also isn’t about being a partisan issue - a Republican and Democratic talking point. Instead, transforming government is about identifying improvements within its operational processes to better serve the needs of its constituency all within the existing confines of law, policy, and ideals.
Just as we think of business transformation as a way to develop and modernize private companies, the same can be done for government institutions. Out-dated resources, ineffective processes and perplexing inefficient bureaucracy can often hurt progress in any organization. However, to solve such vast amounts of problems in government, agencies must adjust the way they work and re-think the way they deliver services to its people.
While transforming, organizations have certain key responsibilities to cover to be successful in their efforts. These are the top 5 best practices in which government agencies can use to help transform themselves to meet the standards of the 21st century:
1. Think of Itself as a Service Organization - It is imperative that government agencies rethink their role in order to become more efficient. In doing so, government agencies across the country and throughout state-lines need to identify themselves as a service based organization – much like a private sector service oriented company would. It would be wise for these agencies to embrace new innovation so they can better perform their services. A key part of transforming government organizations for the 21st century is shifting the idea of what type of organization it needs to be.
By thinking of itself as a service organization, the agency will always keep in mind the needs of its customers when developing long and short-term plans. Instead of trying to take a conservative approach to changing, these agencies will instead take risks – examining innovation to achieve a transformation and create a more positive relationship between the institution and the people that it serves. In doing so, the agency will transform their bottom line from helping itself to helping its customers.
2. Better Understand the Customer and Their Journey - In order to truly serve the people, any government agency or organization should take steps to better understand the people they are serving and what their needs are. There are many considerations to take in:
- who exactly the customer is,
- how they receive information about the service,
- how they communicate with the organization,
- as well as how they provide feedback regarding their experience.
Many organizations use out-dated processes to communicate with customers. For example, an organization may only serve a customer that has communicated through telephone or through a face-to-face visit. Once in line for a face-to-face visit, each customer possessing various and differing needs must follow the same exact process in order to fulfill their requests. This approach towards customers, assumes that every need is created equal. Instead of this mindset, a good organization should understand that its customers have diverse requests and the process to meet these requests should be just as diverse. Whether the agency is marketing itself, communicating with their customers, or serving their needs, a process should be right sized and efficient for each and every one of them.
For a government agency to be successful, understanding the “who, what, when, where and why” of their customer is not an option but a necessity. This in return will give the customer’s the confidence in the organization.
3. Define its Purpose, Mission and Vision - Having statements of a purpose, a mission and vision is not a unique exercise in the business world. Yet, defining these qualities is a vital part of keeping any organization successful. Government agencies can truly assess what course of action they need to take to fulfill short-term and long-term goals.
These agencies often lay out goals but lack the conviction of applying a complete plan to execute and achieve the desired mission and vision. Today, many government agencies take on projects that will update the organization, but without knowing if it will contribute to the organization’s purpose and vision for the future. The leadership often doesn’t truly assess if these projects have significant impact on the long-term strategy.
Government organizations have a responsibility to define a mission and exemplify what they wish to strive to do, for whom they wish to do it for. The exercise of defining the agencies purpose, mission and vision is a key component in keeping government organizations on the same page with their employees, customers and the elected officials while keeping the overall goals in mind. It helps the leadership to evaluate if their development projects are truly adding value to their future goals.
4. Rethink its Capabilities and Value Proposition - Each government agency has unique capabilities which allow it to perform their services. Understanding each capability will allow the organization to gain insight into the value it provides to their customers. Additionally, the organization can then start to gauge the effectiveness and efficiency of each capability they currently offer. In return, this will help the agency determine which future projects they want to pursue and what value would be provided.
By assessing the organization based on the capabilities – each of their strengths and shortcomings, it can start to understand where they may need a new process to better serve their customers. This exercise will also help the organization better define the unique value it needs to offer to its customers. Without knowing what capabilities it has, it wants, and the value it could provide to the public, government may never understand the improvements it needs to make to progress for the 21st Century.
5. Adopt New Age Technological Standards to Lead the Industry - What separates good companies from bad companies is its ability to adapt to ongoing changes. In specific, this means that as shifting consumer needs, new technologies, or popular media platforms are introduced, a good business will adopt to meet this change. In this technological age, new social media sites have ousted old advertising strategies that were once the foundation of marketing; new gadgets such as smart phones have evolved how consumers interact with businesses; new CRM software has allowed for businesses to better manage their relationships with their customers and keep track of valuable business data. Any new developments should be embraced and taken advantage of by governmental organizations.
To better connect with its customers, government agencies could use these new technologies as a tool for advancements. By embracing these latest and upcoming technologies, these organizations can become more resourceful in how the interact with the public which will ultimately build a better reputation and trust between them and the customers. Not only can new technologies improve internal business processes, it can extend its reach to customers they haven’t reached before.
These five best practices provide any organization with the framework to build a more successful strategy and culture. By focusing on its customers’ needs, any governmental agency can build a long term plan that can help it lead the way in the 21st century. It is important to encourage these techniques within government because it helps the agencies assess the strong and weak points it has while also dedicating the transformation to meet the desires of the constituents.
Accelare is currently helping many governmental and private organizations transform so they can succeed in the 21st century. These techniques are currently being practiced in developing strategies for these organizations to better meet the needs of their customers.
Download the Accelare "Customer Success Story" and read how Accelare helped the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles improve their customer experience and transform the agency.