HKS Authors

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Throughout the world, public employees play a vital role in determining whether a city, region, or country is a good place to live, work, and raise a family. Quality of life – from ensuring pedestrian safety to national security – depends to a large extent on the skills and effectiveness of those who serve in the government workforce. This entry argues that governments can strengthen performance by adopting forward-looking, “strategic human resources management” (SHRM). There is an extensive literature devoted to proving that SHRM is the key to success for many leading organizations. In the private sector, this work includes numerous studies demonstrating the link between investing in employees and achieving better financial outcomes. A small but growing body of evidence shows that public and nonprofit organizations can also achieve significant gains in performance by treating their employees as a strategic resource.


Bilmes, Linda J., and Jeffrey Neal. "Public Employees as a Strategic Resource." Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance. W.W. Norton, 2017, 1-7.