Flexibility is the theme of this issue. Public sector HR has many strengths,
but in the past being flexible has not been one of them. Bureaucracy and a lack
of progress has dogged many organisations, making them slow to react to change.
But all the articles in this issue show that, increasingly, HR professionals
are introducing innovative schemes to tackle some of the major challenges
facing the sector. For instance, in the face of current demographic trends,
recruiting young people is tough. Our feature on local government schemes to
recruit more young staff shows that councils across the country are doing
radical work to change their practices and rethink recruitment advertising.
And flexible working itself can be a boost to recruitment, with more and
more staff putting work-life balance at the top of their wish list. We look at
some cutting edge policies, in which employers are revising their flexible
working practices to respond to the changing needs by offering not just
part-time work and sabbaticals, but hours that staff choose for themselves, and
online shopping time.
We also explore four big ideas helping the NHS tackle its recruitment crisis
– recruiting returners, looking overseas, using online techniques and taking on
the unemployed. And finally, we see how HR departments can prepare to handle a
civic emergency and develop the leadership skills of staff at the same time.
Both features show that flexibility is a way of thinking, as well as a way of