How High Can Attrition Go?

A report published this month by the Partnership for Public Service (PPS) highlights a significant concern about attrition in the federal government.  Although attrition has decreased to 5.85 percent in fiscal year 2009 from 7.6 percent in fiscal year 2008, the report focuses on who is leaving and their significance to individual agencies.  The study states that the three main groups that are walking away from their jobs include new hires, employees eligible for retirement, and those in mission-critical roles.  The report also uncovered that from fiscal 2006 to fiscal 2008, 24.2 percent of newly hired employees in the government left their jobs within two years.

Attrition in the Federal Government can have an increased negative effect on both the cost to the agency as well as the loss of knowledge that the individual takes with them when they leave.  By 2015, over 48 percent of federal employees will be eligible to retire.  This includes more than 67 percent of federal supervisors.  When this group exits the workforce, they will be taking valuable and crucial knowledge along with them.  Agencies must begin now to start recruiting top talent, training them, and allowing them to work side by side with those that can pass on important skills and know-how to the next leaders.  In addition, agencies must ensure that new talent they are bringing on-board are satisfied with their work environment.

Authors and leadership experts, Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles wrote the book, Gung Ho! to generate importance on how to create committed and motivated people.  They found that there are three requirements for turning on the people in any organization.  First, people need to have worthwhile work.  People need a higher purpose and shared values that guide all plans, decision, and actions. Second, they need to be in control of achieving the goal.  When people know why they are working and where they are going, they want to bring their brains to work.  Being responsible demands people’s best!  Finally, to continue to generate energy, people need to cheer each other on, catch each other doing things right, and accentuate the positive. 

Learn 8 more ways you can create a positive and motivating work environment that can lead to long-term commitment and low turnover.

If you would like to read more on the study conducted by PPS, you can access the report here.

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