What Is the Role of Personnel Management in Government?

Osmand Vitez

Personnel management in government is no different than personnel management in a private business. Its purpose is to find individuals who can be effective employees, offer opportunities for employees to learn skills and succeed, and create a valued workforce that extends beyond the public sector. In some cases, a train of thought may be that the government should be the model employer, presenting proper procedures for private business personnel management. At the bare minimum, the public sector should offer some options for individuals to work in an environment not based on profits. In short, these positions may be more about serving others than lucrative incomes.

Personnel management in government is often responsible for staffing positions with effective employees.
Personnel management in government is often responsible for staffing positions with effective employees.

Government agencies need individuals who can complete administrative tasks within an organizational setting. Like private businesses, each government agency is responsible for staffing positions with effective employees. Though personnel management in government may start with one agency responsible for finding potential candidates, each agency makes their own hiring decisions. This allows an agency to find the best-fitting candidates for positions, with decisions often based on the knowledge, skills, and abilities an individual brings to the job. Other characteristics — such as personality — may also be a consideration for certain positions.

The purpose of a job is not just to provide compensation for labor, though some employees may simply be content with this arrangement. Personnel management in government may also present certain jobs as an opportunity for an individual to succeed in a manner not possible elsewhere. For example, foreign aid agencies may present doctor or nursing positions to third-world countries as an opportunity to change the world. This creates intangible benefits that are often immeasurable when compared to a standard, private-sector job. These positions and others do not just present an opportunity to learn skills and enhance personal knowledge but also a sense of doing something more than collecting a paycheck.

Public sector employment needs to be about more than working a job in a government setting. Individuals working in the public sector should understand that personnel management in government is also about training these individuals to succeed elsewhere. For example, each government agency should work a normal day and present certain guidelines for acceptable work. Reasonable expectations — along with occasional compensation bonuses or increases — allow government employees to understand how other workplaces operate. Personnel management in government can then reorganize without fear that laid-off workers will be unable to succeed elsewhere if necessary.

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