Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Turnover Intentions and Work Motivations of Millennial Employees in Federal Service

Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Turnover Intentions and Work Motivations of Millennial Employees in Federal Service

Article excerpt

Generational transformations are one of the significant changes that will shape public service in the near future (Perry & Buckwalter, 2010; Svara, 2010). ft has been estimated that the federal government will need to hire more than 200,000 individuals to replace the aging and retiring workforce (Government Business Council [GBC], 2012). How the next generation of federal workers is to be attracted has emerged as a critical concern for human resource professionals in federal agencies. An increasing number of scholarly articles, as well as briefs and editorials by journalists and consultants, provide advice and strategies on making government work more inviting for the members of the Millennial generation, those bom after 1980 who are now in the process of building their careers (Archuleta, 2014; GBC, 2012; Maciag, 2013; Svara, 2010; Textor, 2008). While undoubtedly important, encouraging talented and skilled young individuals to enter public service could only be effective if they want to remain and thrive in their government positions. Research on Millennial has emphasized their preferences for unconfined careers, work-life balance, and extrinsic over intrinsic rewards (Greenberg & Weber, 2009; Howe & Strauss, 1993, 2000; Taylor & Keeter, 2010). Millennial workers are also found to be far more likely than older workers to consider changing careers and employers (Ng. Schweitzer, & Lyons, 2010; Taylor & Keeter, 2010). While Millennial commonly display an interest in public service, it has been shown that "few have entered the federal workforce, or report planning to do so, in the near future" (GBC, 2012, p.l). What are the turnover intentions of Millennials already in government service? We do not yet have any clear answers to this question.

Broader research from the field of public administration has shown that individuals with greater public service motivation (PSM) values are more likely to work for the government due to the public service opportunities these careers provide (Perry, Hondeghem, & Wise, 2010). Does this mean that Millennial workers in the federal agencies will resemble older workers in terms of their work motivation and turnover intentions, or will there be differences between them and their older counterparts along the lines identified in the broader literature on Millennials? This study explores the answers to these research questions by comparing the turnover intentions and work motivations of Millennials with the older generation of workers in U.S. federal agencies, using the 2011 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. Public administration researchers have long been investigating several determinants of turnover and turnover intention at the individual and organization levels (Bertelli, 2006; Bright, 2008; Caillier, 2013; Cho & Lewis, 2012; Meier & Hicklin, 2008; Moynihan & Landuyt, 2008; Pitts, Marvel, & Fernandez, 2011). Among demographic factors, age and generational differences are found to influence turnover decisions. Younger employees, on average, have higher quit rates because they typically have more flexibility in terms of career choice and financial or familial obligations (Kellough & Osuna, 1995; Lewis, 1991). Generational differences are also claimed to have a separate effect on work preferences (Bright, 2010) and, potentially, on individual decisions to leave work (Stark, 2007). Some scholars argue that defining events in the formative years of individuals, and the social context in which a generational group develops, creates a "generational personality" (Howe & Strauss, 1993; Lancaster & Stillman, 2002). The generational personality is believed to shape individuals' feelings toward authority, work values, and goals and aspirations for their work life (Smola & Sutton, 2002). The popular literature providing advice on managing Millennial employees in the workplace is based on this premise--that they are different from older generations, in terms of their work values and motivations, and failure to address these differences may lead to turmoil in the workplace, lower job satisfaction, and even lower employee productivity (Jurkiewicz, 2000; Lancaster & Stillman, 2002; Meier & Hicklin, 2008; Smola & Sutton, 2002). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.