Catch and Retain: Improving Recruiting and Retention at Government Agencies

Recruitment and retention of employees have long been primary concerns for organizations in both the public and private sectors. Finding and keeping the best, most qualified people for every position is one of the most effective ways to ensure that results always exceed expectations. The top employees will go above and beyond what is expected to contribute to larger mission goals and help an organization to grow and flourish.

However, effectively doing so can sometimes be a struggle. In a recent survey, 45.8% of recruiters said that lack of candidates is the number-one complaint they hear from their clients when hiring. This limited hiring pool makes recruiting the best candidates difficult. Unfortunately, many recruiters simply don’t know where to look for better hiring prospects.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Beyond finding the right candidates to hire, recruiters are likely to run into even more problems. About 22 percent of new employees leave their jobs in the first 45 days. Recruiting in the public sector is often more successful, as it is boosted by the military, but a recent report has indicated that military recruitment is expected to enter a decline in the near future.

So with employee recruiting and retention remaining a crucial differentiator, but with organizations struggling to achieve optimum results in either area, it is important to be aware of best practices that can boost your results.

Start By Widening the Hiring Pool

If lack of candidates is the main obstacle to hiring, how do you overcome it? One of the first questions to ask is whether you are looking in the right place. In the search for the best candidates, employers will often limit themselves by adding on a few too many unnecessary requirements in the early stages of hiring. The effect of this is that you may miss out on excellent, qualified candidates before even reaching the interview stage of the process. Widening the kinds of candidates that you are considering is one of the best ways to find those diamonds among the rough.

Furthermore, it is important to look into avenues that you may not have previously considered. 94% of professional recruiters now network on social media for talent acquisition and management. But hiring on social media does not mean simply posting an opportunity on LinkedIn — 59% of employees say a company’s social media presence was part of the reason they chose their workplace — and government agencies have the opportunity to engage citizens on social media, as well as scout for potential employees.

Recruitment software can help you to gain insight into the kinds of candidates you should be looking at, as well as an easy way to reach them and manage hires.

Speed Up the Hiring Process

According to the same recruitment report, the client taking too long to make an offer was one of the most common reasons for job offer rejections. On average, recruiters take 42 days to fill a new position. Government agencies often face the added disadvantage of a stricter vetting process and more stringent hiring practices, which can add time to the process. This is another area where deploying recruitment software can provide significant benefits. Superior software options ,may be able to automate certain processes and provide you with more tools to get the job done quicker.

Emphasize the “Why” Behind Working in the Public Sector

We are moving forward with a workforce in which the majority is a generation with shifting goals and motivations. Younger employees, particularly millennials, are looking for meaning behind their professions. 9 out of 10 millennials believe that a company’s success should be measured by more than just their net profit. The public sector has a real advantage over many other areas, as it can provide an opportunity for employees to serve, make a difference, and feel as though they are actually doing something. Emphasizing this message in marketing and recruiting campaigns can be an effective way of reaching this growing section of the workforce.

Improve Onboarding and Engagement Practices for Employees

In a similar vein, younger generations are also looking to be embraced by the culture of their place of work: 80% of millennial new hires question how they will fit into the culture of the company recruiting them. Onboarding and a continuing focus on employee engagement is crucial in making sure that government employees are content and more likely to stay with the agency for a long time.
And it doesn’t stop at onboarding. According to the latest Gallup report on state and local government workers' engagement, a median of only 29% feel engaged at work, and 17% of public workers are "actively disengaged." In order to boost engagement from onboarding onwards, proper training, open channels of communication, and regular one-on-one face time are all essential.

Using the Right Recruitment Software is Paramount

A lot of these tasks can be accomplished more effectively through the use of recruitment software. Replacing legacy recruitment systems with new, mobile-friendly cloud software can free up time to focus on the more important parts of your job, rather than wasting time on administrative tasks. They can help you to reach more candidates through easy-to-read data tools, speed up the hiring process through advanced automation, and boost engagement through a 360-degree view of each recruit.

Any organization is only as effective as the people of which it is comprised. The very best recruits are out there, but the tricky thing is to find them — and then keep them. Recruitment and retention of the best employees will produce measurable results in both the short and the long term, so it is up to government agencies to make sure that they are deploying only the best technology and techniques to do just that.

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