Investing in our greatest asset: our people - Rabia Siddique


It’s election time in Australia!

Criticism of government agencies in relation to their investment in seminars, training, mentoring and the professional development of their employees almost always guarantees a prominent voice in the media, especially at this time.

Grateful that we live in a democracy, I welcome scrutiny of public spending and measures to ensure transparency and accountability across all sectors.

This scrutiny of government expenditure and programs to develop staff is at its loudest during the lead up to elections.

Determining the value of programs against a range of key indicators is critical, but is there really any value in the pre-election ritual of using public sector workers as a convenient knocking board?

A more helpful approach is a goal of continuous improvement for the delivery of programs to grow our people — our greatest asset.

As a modern sophisticated society which needs to compete on a global stage a mature position is needed on how we invest in professional development for the people who deliver our public services.

Our rapidly changing, increasingly socially, culturally and economically diverse society requires innovative thinking. We cannot expect to solve tomorrow’s problems with yesterday’s solutions.

Investing in people by way of sourcing the most relevant mentors, coaches and trainers can and must drive the innovation that ultimately delivers wider benefits to our community.

Clear guidelines around why, who for and how these programs are delivered is essential, but we cannot stop investing in our people.

As a public servant in Australia and abroad for over two decades, myself and my colleagues achieved personal, professional and managerial growth as a result of our employer’s investment in professional development workshops.

Our ability to achieve better and higher outcomes was partly shaped by the different perspectives, thought leadership and expertise of the external providers we were exposed to.

Enlightened managers and leaders know that our people are our greatest resource.

Nurturing talent and treating people with dignity and respect almost always results in the ten-fold reward of greater productivity, professionalism, loyalty and excellence.

We rely on government sector employees to educate our children, protect and care for our community and keep our essential services operating.

Helping these employees to realise their full potential and the organisations they serve to become more innovative, agile and effective is a privilege and worthwhile.

Politics may be politics, but isn’t it time to show greater maturity? The tendency to use those who serve our community as pawns for political posturing is unwarranted.

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