Like many government agencies, your team may be dealing with a worker shortage as older workers retire. In the past, company loyalty was a given as employees stayed with organizations for a longer period. However, as millennials and Gen Z begin to take over a larger portion of the workforce, companies have become multi-generational. It's crucial to understand what younger generations want in their careers.
First, let's uncover what millennials and Gen Z seek in careers. While you may not be able to offer everything on the checklist for younger workers, offering a combination of the following activities can help you attract Gen Z and millennial talent and retain younger employees in the process:
On the whole, the public sector is better at keeping employees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median tenure for public sector work was 6.7 years, far higher than the private sector's median tenure of 3.7 years. It is worth noting that the average age of employees in careers like public administration is 45.8, which means that the average employee skews older.
If you are looking to appeal to a younger workforce, here are some strategies to help:
While flexibility and the public sector are often mismatched, you'd be surprised by what you can offer:
Do your diversity initiatives feel like they are checking a box? Do you have women and people of color on your website but not in your office? Once these employees start, do they feel included? You want to ask these questions as you focus on diversity and inclusion.
Did you know that 56% of employees wouldn't consider working at a company with values they disagreed with? More than ever, employees are looking at what companies care about and stand for. Silence on challenging issues also speaks volumes. Employees want to know that they are contributing to organizations that stand for something they agree with.
Public sector organizations can focus on why their agencies were built in the first place. What does this organization bring to the community? Here are some other strategies you can try:
In a recent McKinsey study, many employees shared that a lack of career advancement made them want to leave their jobs. In the private sector, there is often a clear path for upward mobility, be it a raise or title change. Companies must ensure that every employee knows what's available to them.
Last but not least, employees want more recognition for their work. When was the last time you thanked an employee for handling a tough call or filing their papers correctly? While these are normal things to do, when employees handle these tasks, it makes your life easier. You don't have to say "good job" every day, but it's important to say thank you consistently.
If your organization is in the process of attracting younger workers, it may feel overwhelming. Younger workers are expecting a lot from employers, after all. So, why are companies doing this? Understaffing in the public sector is a huge issue. We need teachers, police officers, firefighters and other public service workers. Without these roles filled with happy, healthy workers, our cities, counties, states and countries suffer.
If these investments intimidate you, take it one step at a time. You don't need to make 15 adjustments at once. Instead, pick one, implement it and see if it works for you. Before you know it, you'll be attracting new generations of workers and retaining the best talent around.
CPS HR Consulting is a self-supporting public agency providing a full range of integrated HR solutions to government and nonprofit clients across the country. Our strategic approach to increasing the effectiveness of human resources results in improved organizational performance for our clients. We have a deep expertise and unmatched perspective in guiding our clients in the areas of organizational strategy, recruitment and selection, classification and compensation, and training and development.