Key Ways To Retain Public Sector Workers
February 24, 2021

Many public sector organisations suffer from high staff turnover. Pay freezes make it almost impossible to compete with the private sector. Worker attitudes and priorities are rapidly evolving. Brexit and the pandemic continue to cause uncertainty.

With this taken into consideration, you might be worried about losing key employees.

Let’s look at some reasons why the best talent is hard to keep. By the end of this blog, you will have a better understanding of the ways in which your organisation can retain workers.


Know what your employees want from a job

Recent studies have shown that younger workers, particularly Generation-Z and Millenials, want more than just a paycheck from a job.

One survey found 56% of workers would leave their current role if employers stopped offering further training opportunities. This US study found that 86% of millennials would take a pay-cut for a job that aligned with their values.

Help your employees to achieve what they want from a job. You might not be able to offer them a sizable pay rise, but can provide the opportunity to make a real difference.


Know how your organisation is perceived

Nowadays, most people search for jobs online. So it’s important to monitor what people say about your organisation on the internet.

The internet is a great way to learn what employees—past and present—say about their jobs. Surveying them yourself is one thing, but most won’t be 100% forthcoming with their criticisms. The anonymity of the internet removes this fear, and employees can speak candidly about their experience.

Use Glassdoor to see if your employees have left comments/reviews on what it’s like to work at your organisation. Can you do anything to make their job better?


Grow and nurture your employees

With young, talented workers wanting clear career progression from jobs, your organisation needs to help them realise their ambitions.

You can do this by promoting from within and training employees into senior positions where possible. Also, consider training programs and certifications for all employees.

Investing money, trust and time into your staff shows that you care about their growth, and not just that of the organisation.


Offer flexibility

The way we work is changing — remote work is booming and employees expect some fluidity from their jobs.

Is it possible for you to offer remote working options? Are you able to provide flexible working hours?

Flexibility is an area that the public sector often lags behind in when compared to private companies. Work-life balance is important when assessing a job, so you’ll want to find the right balance for your organisation.


Pay fairly

We’ve learnt that today’s workers want more than just remuneration, but that isn’t to say they aren’t bothered about money. We all want a wage that reflects our skills and experience. Public sector workers, while they may be slightly more lenient, also want a fair wage.

Austerity measures introduced in 2010 saw annual pay rises halted for many public sector workers, and 2021 brings more of the same. This news is a huge blow for organisations trying to retain employees.

If possible, consider offering a pay rise or a performance-based bonus scheme to your employees.


Be open with your workers

It’s vital to have regular conversations with employees at all levels.

Is your organisation transparent with its staff? Do you keep them informed about any changes that affect them? Do you tell them they’re valued?

And, of course, conversations are a two-way street. Employees need to feel heard, understood and appreciated, especially nowadays.

Does your organisation allow employees to speak honestly about their concerns? Do you take their ideas on-board and give credit when implemented? You could consider an anonymous ‘Suggestions Box’ if your staff are wary to come forwards.

These are all small adjustments that any organisation can make to empower their employees.


Employ wisely

One proactive approach to improving employee retention lies in the recruitment process.

Employee retention begins from the moment you advertise the job role. Putting extra effort into finding the perfect candidate boosts your chances of keeping that employee.

Ensure your job adverts are well-written and polished to maximise the number of applicants, because 81% of candidates are put off by poorly-written job descriptions.

Be upfront about the opportunities you offer. If an interviewee wants a senior position within 2 years, but you can’t see one becoming available — are they still the best option for the job?


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The recruitment experts at JGP recognise that 2021 will be a challenging year for all public sector organisations.
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