This post is submitted by Joyce Maroney, Executive Director of the Workforce Institute at Kronos. National Public Service Recognition Week is May 5-11. How do you show appreciation for public workers?
Did you know there is an annual event celebrating the contributions of public service workers? Public Service Recognition Week was created in 1985 by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (the HR arm of the federal government) to honor public service workers at all levels of government, from local to federal. And helping government workers feel great about their jobs has probably never been more important. In a 2017 Politico article entitled “America’s government is getting old”, the federal government workforce is cited as having “grown significantly older than the American workforce overall. Today, just 17 percent of federal workers are under 35 years old. (In the private sector, almost 40 percent are.) And more than a quarter of federal employees are now older than 55.”
As they seek to replace retiring workers and encourage younger workers to consider careers in the public sector, leaders are grappling with the same recruiting and retention challenges as their private sector peers – low unemployment means candidates and employees have more choices. While there are lots of benefits to working for government organizations (they still have pensions!), many of these jobs are physically and emotionally grueling.
So who signs up for these jobs? In a post he wrote for us last year, our board member Neil Reichenberg said, ” Through research that we have done at IPMA-HR, we have found that the top factors driving employee engagement in the public sector are: serving the public with integrity, feeling a sense of accomplishment, and making a difference by working for government. Indeed, for many people, it is the mission of government that drives them to a career in public service. “
That’s right, public sector workers want to serve. The key to finding them and retaining them is to help them do so. How? We asked a couple of public sector HR leaders with over 80 years of service between them what works. My interviews with them are available below and I encourage you to have listen. Continue reading past these podcasts for several bonus features.
Our Workforce Institute board member Neil Reichenberg shares his thoughts about ways to attract and retain public service workers in this podcast:
On twitter, you’ll find a host of heroes nominated by their peers on the @KronosInc handle tagged #PSRW.
Below, you’ll find videos that highlight our support (and the admiration of the children of Kronos) for our public service heroes.