MissionSquare Research: Public Sector Employees Suggest Ways to Retain Staff Amid Pandemic, Departures

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A MissionSquare Research Institute survey has found that 78 percent of state and local government employees said they have felt the strain of additional workload due to the increase in the number of people leaving their agencies voluntarily since the start of the pandemic.

Greenwald Research surveyed 1,100 local and state government workers between November and December 2021 and respondents said they believe employers could help reduce employee stress by providing salary increases, recruiting more personnel or reducing workload and offering emotional support, MissionSquare said in a March 10 news release.

According to the report, respondents reported feeling stressed, fatigued and anxious about the COVID-19 pandemic while at work and 76 percent of public employees said the health crisis has impacted the nature of their jobs.

“The double whammy of COVID-19 and the Great Resignation clearly is putting additional strain on an already beleaguered public sector workforce,” said Rivka Liss-Levinson, senior research manager at MissionSquare Research Institute and the report’s lead author.

“However, employees feel their employers can take concrete actions to help with recruitment and retention – from bumping up salaries and offering bonuses to recognizing employees for the important public services they are delivering. We hope this research helps state and local leaders understand the full scope of employee sentiment to help craft solutions that will address the looming public workforce crisis,” Liss-Levinson added.

The survey also showed that nearly 60 percent of respondents were most likely to report that they value serving their community during the pandemic and 63 percent agreed that policies implemented by their employers during the health crisis have been fair to all staff.

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