Laying the Groundwork for the Next Generation of Public Sector Employees

A significant portion of public sector employees is retiring during this time of budget challenges and significant workloads during a pandemic. Public Sector employment used to be attractive because it was steady work for a reasonable paycheck and where an employee could count on a good pension after working for the same organization for their career. Public sector employers competed with other local, state, and federal agencies for loyal employees to the sector. This has become less and less true over the years. Now is an inflection point for the public sector, and to meet challenges in recruiting, an assertive approach is needed.

Review the Total Compensation Package

To understand where your compensation package may fall short, a review of the private sector surveys is in order. Members with access can view various Employers Council wage and benefit surveys in different industries and broken down by regional locations. While the job titles may not match, reviewing different areas will let you know of similarities in the public and private sectors.

Consider the amount of money put towards salaries and benefits. Do you have the right mix?  It may be that salaries that were once reasonable are no longer enough due to the expense of living in your area. What can be done to help with this?  Some resort communities have offered affordable housing as an example. Young workers may not expect or desire rich retirement benefits in the place of better pay now. The right mix is essential.

Understand Your Recruiting Strengths

More and more, employees want to know that they make a difference. Public sector employees serve the communities where they live. Their work makes a difference to the people in the community where they work. This seems to be such an underlying assumption that it’s not discussed or touted in cities, counties, states, and other organizations. Too often, the news candidates hear about the public sector are complaints about the failures. When in the recruiting process, time and attention need to be paid to counteracting this. Building a brand is an important step in creating a municipality or agency where candidates want to work.

Be prepared to have a one or two minute video showcasing your employees and operations, including the work environment and geographic attributes in your locale. YouTube has videos to help you make the perfect video for your organization.

Brand Your Organization

A brand is not a logo or a slogan. It is how people in the organization treat the public and one another. Defining and building your brand take time. There are public entities who have done this work, and you or your HR professional network know who these entities are. Talk to them. They likely have a strong vision, which they used to articulate a mission and the values they would follow to that mission.

Implementing the mission, vision, and values includes the handbook and work processes. Do you have a very, very long employee handbook with numbered policies that are hard to follow?  Younger workers have little patience with this. Do you have involved and complicated processes and procedures that no longer make sense to any employee who must follow them?  Consider LEAN training to get out of your rut.

The more employees are involved in creating your brand, the easier it is to instill across the workplace. The easier it is to instill, the more the brand can be lived by those working for you. This, in turn, sparks interest in candidates who want to work for an employer where employees want to work. This will help you hire the next generation of workers. Contact Employers Council with questions.