Pressmaster/Shutterstock.com

Is Government Ready for Millennials?

Agencies should be building a culture that attracts young workers.

The popular HR website TLNT (aka ‘talent’) posted a blog last week by Ed Frauenheim that should be required reading for every federal manager. The title says it all: “Motivating Millennials: It’s About Pay, a Fair Say, and Solid Management.”

Government needs to reconsider more than the hiring process to succeed in recruiting and retaining well-qualified millennials. Once these young workers are on the payroll, they will want a work environment where they can build their careers.

The research supporting the blog was produced by the Great Place to Work Institute, the company responsible for Fortune’s annual list of “100 Best Companies to Work For.” The analysis is based on responses to the Trust Index employee survey. Researchers compared the responses for the 10 companies millennials (under age 35) rated as the best places to work with the 10 that had the lowest scores. The companies are all vying for a place on the list so they are presumably good places to work.

Among the reasons the top companies were rated highest were:

  • I feel I receive a fair share of the profits made by this organization
  • People here are paid fairly for the work they do
  • Management involves people in decisions that affect their jobs or work environment
  • Management does a good job of assigning and coordinating people
  • Managers avoid playing favorites
  • People look forward to coming to work here
  • Everyone has an opportunity to get special recognition
  • Management delivers on its promises
  • Promotions go to those who best deserve them
  • Management keeps me informed about important issues and changes

Aside from the first issue, the reasons are directly relevant to government agencies. In these companies pay and recognition are clearly important to employees. The first statement confirms employees want to benefit from their work efforts.

The statements largely define how employees are supervised. Each reflects the way supervisors handle certain people-management practices. The behaviors are not influenced by policy or system requirements; they are culturally driven. The questions are also closely aligned with the items used by Gallup and other firms that conduct engagement studies.

The questions in the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey are not the same, but several are very similar. To highlight a prominent discrepancy, the areas where FEVS scores are the lowest—pay, performance management and recognition—are high on this list.

It would be useful for agencies to ask younger workers whether they agree with the Trust Index statements.

Government does offer advantages. The majority of millennials claim that making the world a better place is a priority—they want to make a difference. Recent graduates are attracted by government’s potential to address society’s problems, but surveys show they see government as failing to have much impact.

Since the typical millennial graduates heavily in debt, the student loan repayment program can be important in recruiting. Perhaps surprisingly, salary increases in the first few years, with the automatic annual promotions, are more generous than in the private sector. But the rapid promotions and increases are not widely known; the low starting salaries are.

Government is not going to compete successfully on money. Management style is critical. Every survey of millennials is somewhat different but there are common threads:

  • Millennials are continuous learners. Opportunities to develop their skills are important. They want to enhance their employability. They may be attracted by tuition reimbursement, but leading companies also provide this benefit. Cutting training budgets may have saved money, but it undercut recruiting.
  • They grew up using the Internet for research and are confident they can find needed job-related information.
  • They look to managers as coaches and mentors, not sources of expertise. They are not accustomed to close supervision. They want both autonomy and frequent feedback.
  • They want to work for organizations that support and encourage innovation. A recent report from the Partnership for Public Service, however, shows support for innovation has declined and “only about half feel they are encouraged to do so.”
  • They value the opportunity to move around organizations—not just for promotions, but also horizontally for the new experience and to learn new skills. They are not accustomed to boredom.
  • They look for a relaxed, less formal work environment and fun at work. They are accustomed to frequent, informal feedback and communication. Workplace culture is a high priority.

Agencies should follow the lead of companies and bring together young workers to discuss ways to improve the work experience.

The blog did not compare millennials with older workers, but other surveys, including the FEVS, indicate employees at all levels have similar views. Maybe what’s different today is that millennials are not hesitant to express their dissatisfaction. It’s not clear government is ready to listen.

(Image via Pressmaster/Shutterstock.com)

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.