Solving the 21st Century Staffing Woes

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No matter the size, the location, or what a business is trying to sell to the public staffing will always be a problem or a topic of discussion that is on the table for owners, managers and human resource departments. In a past article written by Ms. Biswal there is very strong match between employee turnover and retention. With employees being great assets in any organization the question that always lures is, what is the gain or what is the lost by a company that invest in their employees compared to the companies that don’t. The following will discuss the battle between retention and turnover, how recruitment changed in the 21st century and the actions of a current company and their retention steps.

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When there is an increase in employee turnover an organization suffers a financial loss. The investment an organization puts into just one employee when it comes to training or buying the appropriate equipment to conduct their daily tasks and most importantly the time. Employee turnover can be caused by many reasons such as personal reasons, better opportunity, lack of flexibility, lack of job security, and extreme work pressure and stress just to name a few. Majority of personal reasons for an employee to quit are based on an employee relationship with co-workers and management creating that stressful work environment that no one wants. In today’s society job security means a lot for an employee and for an organization to lead with the perception that any employee is recyclable does not entice others to apply for employment. Employees want security and room to grow (Biswal, S. 2013).

In the Employee Retention versus Turnover article a successful retention rate for an organization can be described in three different levels; first level, middle level and higher level. The first level consisted of the importance of recruitment, having support for supervisors from the higher echelon of the company such as the human resource department and owners. Making the place enjoyable, benefits throughout the year such as bonuses and perks, followed up by an appreciative wage for each employee. The level is used for retention purposes to get potential employees in the door wanting to work for an organization. The middle level is geared towards after an employee is hired and how an organization can implement those recruitment strategies. Giving employees support with his family, training for growth, making the daily work enjoyable, challenging is the job security for each employee ensuring that they complete their duties to the best of their abilities. The higher level for successful employee retention is there to reinforce the first two levels are being followed and that the retention strategies are being carried throughout the employee’s career from day one to retirement (Biswal, S. 2013).

Out with the old and in with the new is the challenges human resource departments are facing trying to staff organizations, what work environment culture should they migrate to and how to implement it. As stated in the IHRIM article “Companies attract those who find their culture desirable”. In the 21st century a lot of companies are facing the question, what it take to be cool and still professional? To help companies with staffing and stop the turnover rates from increasing they have to understand the branding they are using and how to use that branding to promote the right culture. In the 21st century potential employees come with a lot of talent, but recruiting and retaining overtime becomes a financial hassle because of the training and time put in to one person. According to IHRIM the workforce pool will decrease in the next coming years so to win the battle between retention and turnover organizations must learn to adapt to employees, customers and competitors. Become flexible allowing the HR department and managers to make decisions that doesn’t always follow the company’s game plan but gets the same result. In the 21st century employees are seeking organizations where they enjoy coming to work, where they have a role in the company goals, stay for a career they are developing as a professional, and embrace that the organization cares about them (Henson, R. 2003).

All the issues surrounding companies and how to keep their organizations staffed with the new age of employees puts a damper on society as a whole resulting in more than just a single organization involvement but also the department of labor. In the past to keep a company staffed they would post adds in the new papers, in this new world order staffing has to be online over the internet. According to the DOL the employees of the 21st century don’t have a laundry list of demands but would like to be treated fairly, so they created three categories of what potential employees are seeking in today’s society workforce. The three categories that the DOL has created to help solve the 21st century staffing woes are, rising economic security over a lifetime meaning that even if the government shuts down, or there is another recession employees have security that they have a job and will be able to provide for themselves and their families. A work and family balance employment, an employer that understands that employees have lives and not just work. Lastly the third category is ensuring that the work place is safe and fair resulting in no hazards from equipment or towards health, discrimination and healthy career advancement opportunities (United States Department of Labor, n.d.).

With the 21st century pool of employees seeking jobs and organizations seeking ways to recruit, obtain and retain these employees lets a take a look into a company that has been around for years and what adjustments have they made to win the retention versus turnover battle. The Cobb County Sheriff Office has been around for decades and has always had deputies, then the 21st century comes and staffing, retention are their biggest issue besides criminals. The Sheriff Office offers each deputy a lucrative benefit package including 457 retirement, 401K, medical, vision, life insurance and dental. Great package to have for any employee but the changes that were made in the 21st century has Cobb County Sheriff Office losing the retention versus turnover battle (Government, C. C. 2017).

There are two pension plans that a deputy could fall under, one is the traditional pension plan and the other is the hybrid pension plan. If you were hired before the year 2010, you would fall under the traditional plan. This plan offers you to retire under the rule of 80, which means your age plus the amount of years you have worked needs to equal 80 before you are eligible to retire. The pension under this plan is calculated by the amount you put in the Sheriff Office will match it by 2.5% times the number of years you work. For, example if a deputy works 30 years under the traditional pension plan the max he can make as a deputy is $68,000, his pension would be around $40,000 a year after he retires for the rest of his life. On the other hand you have the hybrid pension plan where I and many others fall under; these are all the employees that were hired after 2010 and will fall under the hybrid pension plan. Now when the word hybrid is mentioned most people think, some type of saving. Well yes that is exactly what is happening, but not for the deputies, for the Sheriff Office. The hybrid pension plan only matches 1% and there is a mandatory of 30 years to work before a deputy can retire. Now take in consideration the same number from the above scenario, a deputy on the hybrid plan will only make around $20,000 a year for a pension when it comes time to retire. With these two plans the deputies are forced to work longer under the hybrid plan while taking the same risk and performing the same job as the deputies under the traditional plan, but at the end of their service are paid less. This is forcing the Sheriff Office to have a high turnover rate, the deputies on shift to work longer and harder, which in the end could result in a person losing their life if decision are made by deputies be tired and overworked (Government, C. C. 2017).

The unfortunate thing about Cobb County Sheriff Office and their benefit package is that they lose a lot of employees during the hiring process or after they are hired. The turnaround rate for Cobb County Sheriff office is very unfair to the county, because it is something that can be fixed and the Sheriff Office is doing nothing about it. Less law enforcement officers on the streets result in more crime being committed and no suspects to be caught to take responsibility. From my experience this has been happening for multiple years and a way to alter the issue instead of fix the benefit package Cobb County Sheriff Office put in a contract stimulation for all the new hired deputies. For every new hired deputy after they complete the academy or mandate they are required to work for the county for a minimum of two years. If not and they choose to leave before their years are complete they are required to pay the amount it cost the Sheriff Office to send them to the academy, which ranges from $5000 to $10000. With this two year stipulation in place it allows the Sheriff Office to keep that revolving door of hiring employees active (Government, C. C. 2017).

In my opinion to fix Cobb County’s retention problem a differentiation strategy can be used. The differentiation strategy is defined as, “Focus on product or service development that is unique from those of its competitors” (Saint-Leger, 2017). This strategy will put Cobb County ahead of their competition and create employee loyalty to stay long term until retirement instead of trying to branch out and look for new employment (Saint-Leger, 2017). The way Cobb County can use this strategy is by comparing their benefit packages with their competitors, also expressing their concern to their deputies, giving them the opportunity to voice their opinions and what they want and what would make them stay until retirement. After gathering this information priority should be putting all employees on an even playing field when it come to benefits and offer more incentives when it comes to advancing and having training. The purchase of new weapons for each deputy or officer is a must. The result pf implanting these changes will be the employees wanting stay until retirement, wanting to attend training, most importantly getting the word out of everything their sheriff office has to offer, enticing others to join the agency or come from other agencies. Where there’s an upside there is always a downside. As Cobb County seek to implement the differentiation strategy they have to be aware of the word getting around to their competitors because if deputies or officers feel that Cobb County is better than their agency, they might leave or demand more from their agency. There is also the cost demand, Cobb County as to ensure that they are financially able to contribute more to health care, offer more training, purchase more weapons, tools, cars to be used and most importantly pay increases where they are expected (Saint-Leger, 2017).

In closure the fight between turnover and retention seems as if it will never be won. With employees wanting job security, flexibility, less stress, and more pay puts organizations in between a rock and a hard place having to decide what is more important employees or profit. Some organizations are afraid that if they invest in an employee with training and benefits there is still a possibility they still might leave. For example, The Cobb County Sheriff Office offer training and benefits but puts a two year stimulation on every deputy to satisfy their time and training. The new staffing process for organizations is now web-based casting a wide net for potential employees. Maybe this is not the right retention strategy for every business, there will never be clear winner for an organization in the battle of retention versus turnover. So a compromise with benefits, incentives, training, flexibility and wages is the only solution. In my opinion flexibility, advancement and family are the three keys to solving the 21st century staffing woes. There are some people in the world that believe that wages are not that important when it comes to happiness in employment. Depending on the job the pay will always be there but like anything in the world and the way society is headed, everyone wants to feel wanted, in life, relationships and employment.

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