Mathis & Jackson (2007) mentioned that a number of the agencies characteristics influence law enforcement in their decisions to stay with or leave their employers. They thus said it is important for companies to have a positive culture and distinctive culture, effective management and recognizable job security Mathis & Jackson (2007). According to Mathis & Jackson (2007) culture within an enforcement agency is very significant because it represents a pattern of shared values and beliefs of a workforce. In law enforcement agencies executives should build a truth telling culture and in turn they also get a frank feedback hence they can succeed in improving retention.
Job security is very important when encouraging the culture of employee retention. Mathis & Jackson (2007) commented that all the downsizing, layoffs, mergers and acquisitions have affected employee loyalty and retention. When employees are not assured of their job security, it becomes rather a challenging issue for them to remain in the same company when there a rise chances which present ideal job security. On the other hand Mathis & Jackson (2007) established that companies in which job continuity and security are high tend to have higher retention rates.
Mathis & Jackson (2007) also established that another important factor of ensuring that retention is focusing on job to person match as well as job design. This is very important especially in law enforcement agencies. It the law enforcement officers do not fit in to their jobs well they are likely to look for other employment hence retention is affected by the selection process (Mathis & Jackson, 2007). Employees also are keen to work in a safe work environment, in which risks of accidents and injuries have been addressed. This is an important factor in law enforcement agencies because being a risk job employees want to be assured of their security.
Carsen maintained that there are two ways to view employee retention; firstly retention can be viewed as a component of an overall employer- of- choice strategy and retention techniques (2005). He continues to say that trendy retention technique may be somewhat effective but they require constant manipulation and updating to keep them current (Carsen, 2005). A better approach as mentioned by Carsen (2005) is to “implement strategies that infuse the entire agency for example with a high retention mindset, creating a culture that employees cannot easily be enticed to leave” (p.10).
There are several characteristics of high retention culture, defined in terms of what employees want. These attributes can be applied in law enforcement agency in order to ensure that agency retains its most valuable officers. Firstly the law enforcement agency should have a clearly defined organizational direction and purpose (Carsen, 2005). The main purpose of this attribute is that officers will always want to work for an organization that has purpose and meaning. Carsen (2005) continues to say that “employees should be aligned with the mission of the company, in order to nurture a more dedicated and productive staff” (p. 10).
Another key attribute in employee retention is caring management. Carsen says that this attribute is all about the relationship (2005). This means that the quality of an employee relationship with his immediate supervisor is one of the greatest predictors of employee satisfaction and result to retention (Carsen, 2005). As result law enforcement agencies demand such type of management and mutual relationship between the officers and their supervisors.
Flexibility in scheduling and benefits is another key attribute in employee retention. Carsen (2005) indicated that “employees demand flexibility in their jobs because their lives demand it” (p. 11). In such cases most employees will remain within an agency or a company which guarantees flexibility. Also Carsen (2005) established that “schedule changes, fixed shifts, time offs for personal matters and other work life and family friendly initiatives are effective retention strategies” (p. 11). These strategies are applicable to law enforcement agencies and they can help the companies to retain their officers.
Open and straightforward communication is another key strategy that can be used in a law enforcement agency. Carsen (2005) indicated that “high retention workplaces provide a constant communication loop” (p. 11). Carsen also says that one should never be afraid to remind the employees the advantages for working for that particular agency (2005). The agency should go a step further to explore and use various communication methods for example focus groups, online databases, hotlines and attitude surveys. All managers should make good communication a priority and keep track of their progress in this area (Carsen, 2005).
Carsen (2005) in his research established that energetic and enthusiastic work environment plays an important role in employee retention. It is important to know if the employees enjoy their work. Carsen (2005) continues to say that “if one can make the work mentally engaging and physically energizing employees are more likely to stay” (p. 11). An effective performance appraisal is another important attribute in employee retention. Carsen (2005) maintains that “effective performance appraisals help align individual behaviors and performance with the organization’s goals” (p. 12). Stimulating and reinforcing behaviors that align with the company’s meaning and purpose creates a sense of belonging hence encouraging the culture of employee retention.
Rewards and recognition coupled with employee training and development play a significant role in the retention of employees. Carsen (2005) continues to say that using rewards and recognition people need to feel valued and appreciated. The major question which the management of the agency should ask is what it has been doing to effectively value its law enforcement officers (Carsen, 2005).
Training and development on the other hand is also important factor in ensuring employee retention. According to Carsen (2005) workers in a law enforcement agency will want an opportunity to develop their skills and enhance their company contributions (p. 12). Carsen (2005) also stated that “training and development give people a better control and ownership of their jobs and contribute to increased loyalty and retention” (p. 11).
Law enforcement agencies should consider paying their officers competitive wages. Carsen (2005) says that while decent is never sufficient on its own to keep employees around the company, it is a necessary baseline step for getting ones foot to retention door. Raising pay as mentioned by Carsen (2005) “will not automatically lower turnover, but paying too little and especially during periods of unemployment will contribute to it” (p. 12).
Carsen (2005) says that championing longevity is also a key attribute that will encourage the culture of retaining good employees. Carsen (2005) established that employees appreciate a company that honors long service. Signing bonuses may make sense in tight labor markets, smart organizations should also recognize and reward employees whose continued service is valued (Carsen, 2005).
Employee respect according to Carsen (2005) plays a significant role in employee retention. This means that individualized work sites, supportive relationships with peers and superiors and job specific training are some of the techniques employers can use to strengthen their relationship with employee.
Carsen (2005) says that retention bonuses can be used to promote employees. For example Carsen (2005) says that during mergers, acquisitions plant closures, financial difficulties- more companies are giving retention bonuses to key to employees to encouraged continued employment.
Employee empowerment can also play an important role of retention (Bell, Zemke & Zielinski, 2007). This is because many people in organizations are capable of doing so much than they have been asked to do. Bell, Zemke & Zielinski (2007) therefore said that the more ownership they assume for the responsibilities built into their job the more likely they are to stay with the company (p. 24).