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Creating public value: New Personnel Requirements Plan and innovative recruitment methods.

The innovation strategically aligns the Chamber of Commerce of Cosenza's (Camera di Commercio di Cosenza) personnel approach with its evolving goals and societal needs. It introduces a fully innovative, multidimensional recruitment process, impacting professional profiles, job announcements, selection processes, and communication strategies. This benefits the Chamber by enhancing recruitment efficiency and attracting qualified candidates, seemingly distant from institution but capable of contributing to innovate the Public Administration.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

In Italy, public employment relies on public competitions, with regulations mandating the adoption of programmatic documents on personnel needs by public entities before initiating selection procedures. The Ministry of Public Administration issues guidelines, known as "Linee guida dei fabbisogni del personale," directing entities to incorporate these guidelines into their employment strategies.
Recognizing the need for more than a basic regulatory framework, in 2020 the Chamber of Commerce of Cosenza embarked on an innovative personnel selection process. The comprehensive approach began with designing competency profiles and concluded with a retention strategy, aiming to align personnel strategy and competences with evolving organisational goals, societal needs, and stakeholder expectations.
Each step of the process was meticulously designed based on the national legal framework though seeking to embrace the Chamber’, future challenges, and broader societal shifts.
The primary goal was to attract and retain motivated personnel possessing a balanced mix of hard and soft skills, capable of adapting to rapid societal and business changes. Objectives included receiving targeted applications and guiding the application process through indirect levers. The construction of a personnel needs plan, mandated by law, played a crucial role. Another essential element was the construction of both the notice of competition and the evaluation committee. Moreover the communication campaign, particularly on social media, successfully attracted young candidates.
Test procedures, supported by platforms from partners Infocamere and Unioncamere, included assessments of soft skills and attitudes alongside technical skills, a first for a Public Administration in Italy. The system automatically provided the level of investigated skills , giving the commission the elements to assess the consistency between the candidate's profile and the sought-after profile.
Downstream of the selection process, the Chamber invested in the employee experience, especially for new hires, introducing them to staff, the political body, and various stakeholders in public occasions. Quality training activities were selected based on role-specific capacities and competencies.
Inspiration comes from the EPSO recruiting system and modern competency-based recruitment approaches.
The future of this innovation entails embedding procedures into regular recruitment practices and scaling through knowledge-sharing with interested administrations. The pivotal experience of the Chamber of Commerce has become a best practice within the chamber system, integrated into the Ministry of Public Administration's guidelines on new personnel needs. Ongoing activities within the project aim to continually enhance the employee experience for current and future hires.
Highly engaged, satisfied, professionals will enable the Chamber to deliver increasingly innovative services in line with stakeholders needs.

Innovation Description

What Makes Your Project Innovative?

The innovative selection process incorporates:

1. Detailed mapping of 115 processes for constructing professional profiles, each with 41 profiles, defining activities, knowledge, skills, and soft skills.
2.Innovative profiles ( the Digital Promoter, focusing on supporting SMEs' digital and green transition, the Specialists in territorial marketing and digital communication and the Specialist in employment services and placement).
3. Introduction of a cover letter requirement, a novelty for an italian Public Administration, allowing consideration of personal motivation.
4. A team of professionals, including a work psychologist, an unprecedented element in public selection, responsible for competitor evaluations.
5. Test procedures, using web-based platforms, introduced for the first time in Italian Public Administration, assessing candidates' soft skills and attitudes. The process aligns with guidelines from the 34th International Congress on Assessment Centers in Washington.

What is the current status of your innovation?

The experience of the Chamber has become a best practice within the Italian system of Chambers of Commerce and it has been included in the guidelines of the Ministry of Public Administration.
All new employees - hired in 2021- are still in the organisation and have already overcome a staff reorganisation, shifting from different services and still efficiently performing.

Since retention policies in Public Administrations are particularly discussed, especially in Italy, the Chamber is now investing in the employee experience of the whole personnel. The new hires have been introduced to the entire staff and the political body, as well as to various stakeholders, in various public occasions. Each year high-quality training activities are proposed to personnel based on the capacities and competencies of the roles covered. An employees’ shared space inspired by the philosophy of entrepreneur Adriano Olivetti is currently under construction in the Chamber building.

Innovation Development

Collaborations & Partnerships

Partners of the whole selection process were Infocamere and Unioncamere, both belonging to the Italian System of Chambers of Commerce. Infocamere contributed by developing 2 web platform , one for application collection, another for hard and soft skill evaluation, and provided IT support. Unioncamere played a crucial role in the mapping processes and in the construction of the Personnel Plan. Their expertise and technological support ensured a seamless and efficient recruitment process.

Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

The innovative approach ensured positive impacts on candidates, the Chamber, and the local business community, fostering a synergistic relationship among the various beneficiaries.
Potential candidates experienced a more attractive and streamlined application process, especially through a targeted and fast recruitment. Stakeholders benefited from enhanced personnel aligned with evolving organisational goals and able to provide specialised services.

Innovation Reflections

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

Results are evaluated on the quantity (more than 850) and caliber of candidates attracted through innovative job descriptions. Targeted recruitment strategies led to the successful hiring of highly skilled personnel. Remarkably, 85% of candidates admitted to the final step of the competition possessed a university degree, though it wasn’t a requirement, and all positions were filled by candidates with at least one master’s degree. The digital processes and competency-focused recruitment are going to enhance efficiency in public administration. The Chamber’s pioneering experience is now a best practice integrated into the Ministry of Public Administration’s guidelines for new personnel needs.

Challenges and Failures

The project faced some challenges during implementation: one was the need to align traditional professional classifications with unconventional roles. The competence of the management and the foresight of the political body allowed the organisation to optimally address its own needs and those of the stakeholders, facilitating the entire procedure.
The characteristics of the organisation's personnel enabled the smooth implementation of the entire process, as the absence of appeals or disputes in each phase proves.
It is essential to note the effort required to conduct the competition entirely in person during COVID. Here, the dedication and competence of the Chamber staff made it possible to carry out activities without any issues.

Conditions for Success

The success of the project relies on a supportive framework across various dimensions. Digital assessment platforms, integral to the project, required supporting infrastructure and services which were efficiently provided by partners. Policy and rules were crucial in shaping the procedures and ensuring alignment with the broader organisational strategy. The strategic decision to move beyond traditional personnel administration reflected visionary leadership. The involvement of key figures in the selection committee, highlighted the commitment to a holistic and innovative recruitment process. The human and financial resources strategic allocation facilitated the successful execution of the project within a reasonable timeframe (4 months).


The innovation's future involves embedding procedures into regular recruitment, scaling through knowledge-sharing with interested administrations. In fact, the pivotal experience of the Chamber of Commerce has become a best practice within the chamber system and has been included in the guidelines related to the new personnel needs of the Ministry of Public Administration (Search for Unioncamere - the assosiation of all italian chambers of commerce

Lessons Learned

Embracing a dynamic view of workforce planning, beyond mere administration, proved essential. Aligning personnel needs with the evolving organisational mission fosters adaptability.
Integrating hard and soft skills in job descriptions enhances recruitment efficacy.
Engaging qualified partners and evaluation commitee components expedited the whole procedure.
Strategic leadership is a linchpin. Departing from conventional norms requires visionary guidance.
Prioritising both technical proficiency and soft skills redefines the hiring landscape. This approach attracts versatile professionals and contributes to organisational resilience.
Developing proper retention strategies could be crucial in future years.

Anything Else?

The personnel plan, derived from a detailed mapping of the entity's processes, envisioned the innovative competencies required to navigate the chamber's future, resulting in precise and innovative profiles.
The innovation was evident during the phase where attempts at mobility from public administration employees failed to meet the evaluation commission's criteria, showcasing the uniqueness of the sought-after profiles.

Project Pitch


  • Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways

Innovation provided by:

Date Published:

9 April 2024

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