High turnover affecting New York local governments

Nearly 50 million Americans quit their jobs in 2021. The “Great Quit” isn’t just affecting private employers: Local governments are experiencing high turnover rates as they struggle to fill vacancies and to retain staff.

In the last episode of the Building stronger communities podcast, host Matt Horn discusses strategies for retaining local government employees, the importance of workplace culture, and how to select the best candidate for a vacancy.

Why are so many people quitting their jobs?

The local government workforce is generally one of the most stable parts of the economy.

“For the first time in as long as I can remember, we’re actually seeing quite a significant turnover at the local government level,” Horn said.

This phenomenon is partly explained by the emergence of a younger workforce. Many Millennials and GenZers are more loyal to their own career path and aspirations than to a specific employer.

Horn explained, “If they see an opportunity to grow or contribute in a new way to another employer, they’ll probably leave you behind.”

Related: Why Are So Many Americans Quitting Their Jobs?

Turnover is common, so why worry about it now?

The cost of staff turnover can be up to two to three times the salary of the replaced staff member.

It’s a high price for local governments to pay, and many leaders are asking the same question: how do you get employees to stay? For years, private sector employers have sought to establish a “people-centric culture” as a way to retain workers.

“If we want to have great people on our team, we need to create an environment that helps retain those people and makes them feel like they can grow and be supported as part of the team. organization,” said Horn.

Related: Across the United States, people are quitting their jobs to start their own businesses

What is a people-centric workplace culture and how do you achieve it?

Creating a people-centred work culture depends on leaders who have a strong sense of the core values ​​of their municipality.

Horn suggests conducting an employee survey to get a better idea of ​​where everyone stands.

“Ask questions like, ‘What do you enjoy most about working here? What keeps you coming back every day? What is the challenge? What goes against the grain, with who you are as a person? Here’s what we’ve defined as our core values, does that sound right to you? Can you live inside of that? Said Horn.

Changes in local government take time to materialize. Horn advises sticking with any changes you put in place for at least six months. Ride it to see what works and what doesn’t.

Related: What Do Potential Employees Look For When Researching Companies?

How to choose the best candidate for a vacancy?

Hiring the first candidate that comes along — versus the best candidate — can have a huge impact on local government operations.

“I tell you, especially in the public sector, when you hire someone who is not a good fit, the challenge of creating productive turnover is almost insurmountable,” Horn warned.

When posting a job, make sure your organization’s core values ​​are clearly displayed. Be honest about how your organization works throughout the interview process.

Make the selection process immersive: A simple tour of the office, a meeting with current staff, or a shadowing opportunity can be key to determining if a candidate is a good fit for your team.

The higher the position in the chain of command, the more crucial alignment of values ​​becomes. After all, people lead and shape core values, not just follow them.

“Be patient. If you hire the wrong candidate, the best-case scenario is that person will turn around. The worst-case scenario is that they will jostle inside the organization, creating problems and more cost on down the line,” Horn warned. “I know these positions need to be filled, I know every day they’re not being filled, it’s an extra cost. But believe me, there are costs to Avoid while waiting for the right candidate.

Related: The Biggest Resume Skill to Boost Your Career Suggested by Warren Buffet

You can listen to the full Building stronger communities episode “Workforce Fluctuations Impact Every Community” here.

Check this page for the latest episodes of Building stronger communities with Matt Horn, Director of Local Government Services at MRB Group.


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