Getting the right people: how to recruit and retain qualified staff.

Author:Reichenberg, Neil
Position:Management & Careers

Recruiting and retaining qualified staff remains the most important workforce issue for the second consecutive year, according to the findings of the 2016 Workforce Trends survey conducted by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence. The survey, which is based on survey responses from the members of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) and the National Association of State Personnel Executives (NASPE), also found that jobs in finance are among those that state and local governments have the most difficult time filling.


To address the recruiting and retention challenges, public-sector employers need to look at improving their branding and hiring processes (which have been criticized as being slower and not as flexible as the private sector), developing a robust program for bringing employees on board, improving employee engagement, and ensuring that growing and developing employees is an organizational priority.

In 2016, IPMA-HR undertook a cross-generational survey that looked at similarities and differences among baby boomers, generation X, and millennials that were working for ten public-sector organizations. (1) The responses were almost equally divided among the three generations, who identified the following the top motivators for seeking public-sector employment:

* Good benefits

* Job security

* Pension

* Work-life balance

* Making a difference in people's lives

A little more than half of respondents (55 percent) indicated that they had a somewhat favorable view of working for government, while 32 percent had a very favorable view. Only 13 percent had either a somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable view of working in the public sector.

Referrals from friends, colleagues, or family members were the most common way for respondents to learn about their jobs, underscoring the fact that your employees can be your best recruiters. Websites of public-sector organizations and general job search websites were the next most common methods for learning about public-sector jobs. When asked to select the top three features that their current public-sector organization should emphasize to attract new employees from their same generational cohort, survey respondents most often chose the following:

* Known for retaining employees long term

* Positions with upward mobility or visibility to showcase their skills

* Offers competitive compensation packages

Medical benefits, pension, and job security were features that attracted them to the public sector.

More than 40 percent of the survey respondents found the government application process to be more cumbersome than the one used in the private sector...

To continue reading