Following up on a report on the federal government's trouble in retaining new hires, a sequel to it suggests ways federal agencies can boost retention.
With the cost of replacing workers reported to be 50 to 200 percent of that worker's annual salary and with dissatisfaction reportedly rampant after the recession among private-sector as well as federal workers, it makes sense to beef up your retention efforts.
The report was produced by the Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen Hamilton.
In an interview with Federal News Radio, Booz Allen Senior Executive Advisor Ron Sanders notes that overall, attrition at federal agencies is lower than in the private sector, but three groups are most likely to leave: new hires, those nearing retirement and those in mission-critical roles. It's safe to say that top cyber security experts, which are vital in every agency, are among those with key skills and plenty of other job prospects.
Sanders says that though direct managers may have little control over pay, staffing levels and promotion prospects of federal employees, there are other intangibles at work-namely the worker's connection to the agency mission and relationships with the boss and coworkers-that can balance and even trump dissatisfaction with those aspects.
The report offers some good advice. It breaks work down into four aspects and offers suggestions such as these:
Teamwork, supervision and leadership
Agency mission and employee skills match
Performance management and work/life balance
Employee development and support
In the radio interview, Sanders reiterated the need to recognize top performers, a topic our Don Tennant has stressed, and to "ride hard" those poor performers who aren't pulling their own weight.
With the federal wage freeze looming, it might seem that retention bonuses might be the answer. But as The Washington Post points out, money can't buy love.
Although the pay freeze might hasten the exit of some workers, more money isn't always the answer. Instead, issues of teamwork, supervision and leadership have "the biggest impact on employee job satisfaction and retention," the report says.