According to public service labor experts, offering flexibility is key to hiring and retaining public servants in a post-pandemic work environment.
Around the country, local governments and states are struggling to hire and retain talent in the post-pandemic world. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 1 million public service government jobs are open in the U.S. — the vast majority in state and local agencies. Maryland is no exception, with counties and the State challenged to tackle post-COVID workplace issues like multi-generational preference differences and hybrid working environments.
Public policy reporting outlet Route-Fifty recently reported that:
Across the country, employers face a crisis in recruiting top talent, and the public sector is typically at a disadvantage because of a pay gap with the private sector.
Flexibility fills vacancies
Route-Fifty strongly cautions that government employers must remain flexible in the post-pandemic world in order to improve hiring and retention:
Now, government employers at all levels are considering ending hybrid work plans and alternate schedules launched during the pandemic. This move may make the public sector workforce crisis worse.
Wise public agencies should think carefully before discarding their COVID-era work plans. After all, flexible work options not only improve recruitment and hiring success, but they boost employee productivity, satisfaction and empowerment, reduce attrition and absenteeism, save money, and expand the talent pool, according to a Global Workplace Analytics study.
According to the article, job seekers frequently cite flexible work schedules as a top priority:
In fact, candidates in all sectors ask about remote or hybrid work options even before relocation assistance. This option is especially important to younger workers who are replacing large numbers of retiring baby boomers.
Conversely, not offering hybrid and flexible workplaces and schedules can take twice as long to recruit for public service positions, especially in local government.