Employee Engagement and Retention: Practical Lessons for the Public Sector


This capstone paper is an analysis of the nature and perceived effectiveness of employee retention strategies at a division (the Division) of a state government agency, and the associated role of employee engagement. Employers across the spectrums of organizational type, size, and sector have been faced with increased employee turnover in recent years, and the situation is predicted to worsen. While there are tangible strategies that many employers pursue to improve their retention rates, research has also shown a significant impact on retention from intangible factors such as communication, recognition, and organizational commitment. I performed research first into major theories driving current employee retention efforts, common retention methodologies, and employee engagement issues. I then made an inquiry into employees’ perspectives on the Division’s retention efforts by conducting surveys of both current and former staff members. My surveys and interviews found a high degree of similarity in responses among staff levels in the Division regarding the relative importance of retention strategies, as well as a similarly negative impact on engagement from the Division’s actions toward staff. The results suggest that while the Division has adequately designed and communicated its retention efforts, it is facing much greater difficulty in actively engaging its employees. The Division is typical of the public sector in many ways, and thus the finding that it needs to focus more on the intangible aspects of engagement likely holds value for many public organizations.


Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Organizational Behavior and Theory | Strategic Management Policy

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