Knowledge management is needed to ensure that important knowledge is kept and maintained within the NSO. The objective is to ensure that knowledge is distributed and accessible at the right place, at the right moment to the right people (e.g. whenever people move to new areas of work or for introducing newly recruited staff). This requires exchange of knowledge and training and careful management. Activities towards this goal are flexible and low cost mapping and monitoring of competencies, cooperation and exchange of knowledge. Lack of motivation, communication and resources are possible barriers.
Work environment and mobility
The work environment includes the physical and social environment in the workplace. New technological developments increase the possibilities to organise flexible work arrangements, less restricted by time and place. Remote work, working from home arrangements and working at flexible hours becomes possible and more common. It may no longer be necessary to come to office every day, but to work from home – or somewhere else. A good and healthy work environment is an important ‘job-satisfier’. This means that it is an important factor for attracting and retaining staff. These developments in work environment also bring new challenges, for instance for the manager, but also concerning working conditions and implementation of proper technologies.
Mobility of employees has a number of benefits. Firstly, it is a good motivation factor for people to give the opportunity of career paths. Secondly, mobility helps to ensure the flexibility of staff – employees will be better prepared to occupy different positions. This is an important prerequisite to react to a changing environment and supports better problem solving. This is especially important when statistical production methods change, or if NSOs are forced to reduce staff. Mobility may also help to create networks across units of the NSO and give employees a better understanding of overall issues of the NSO. To improve mobility, top management commitment and less bureaucracy is required together with delegation of tasks and responsibilities. Increasing mobility requires a clear strategy and rewards. Increased work load and cultural opposition are possible barriers.
Training and skills development
Training and skills development comprises a broad range of activities and arrangements, including formal and informal training, job-rotation, traditional class-room courses, internal vs external training, cooperation with e.g. universities, competence mapping, (personal) training plans (development plans), special (introductory) training for newly recruited people, mentoring and the use of new organisations or technologies in training, such as E-learning. One other important issue is the question of the cost/benefits of training and how to measure and evaluate the outcome of training activities.
The importance of training is stressed by a growing gap between existing competences and skills and those competences and skills that are required to meet future challenges and ensure a successful modernisation of official statistics. A framework of skills/capabilities begins with a gap analysis and a description of how to close the gap. Lack of resources is a major barrier.
To stay updated competences of employees need to be assessed and trained regularly. This is sometimes referred to as competence management, other times as development plans. The key issue is that the management regularly assess the skills and knowledge of the employees in a systematic way and follow-up on this.
E-Learning offers possibilities of training that are less restricted by space and time and which can be used for both general training or more specific purposes or for specific groups of staff, for training in regional offices. It also has potential for use across countries since the same E-learning course could be offered to different countries and hence be available for much more people than would be possible in a traditional class room training. E-learning can be developed at relative low costs compared to traditional training, but there is also evidence that it may be less efficient and that it should be followed up closely or complemented with face-to-face activities.