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Taking Control of Employee Transition

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What do you do now? Your municipality’s valued employee: business manager, treasurer, department head, whatever the title may be, just gave their notice. There are two weeks, maybe a month, to figure out what is next. After going through a quick panic, you start developing a plan to fill the position. However, is there an individual in the organization ready and willing to take on the position’s responsibility? Let’s examine some of the benefits and challenges of planning for succession.

The cost of turnover can be high. There are always challenges with acquiring talent that often has nothing to do with recruiting. The municipality may provide incredible benefits to individuals today, but will those legacy costs be sustainable long-term? Governmental revenues appear to be relatively stagnated or in decline when considering annual inflation. Also, certain perceptions of a governmental employee, such as a lack of upward mobility or slow but steady compensation, can deter talent.

National experts state turnover can cost as much as 30% to 90% of the first year of salary and benefits. This high turnover cost creates an incentive for a municipality to ensure the correct individual is hired and retained. Those same experts also acknowledge that new hires who don’t “fit” into the culture created by leadership are three times more likely to exit quickly. A municipality’s culture and an employee’s “fit” within that culture can play a significant part in an employee’s success.

So how does a government retain talent and provide for future leadership, especially when succession will occur at some point? Start the conversation with your employees now, before the potential next employer does. Discuss where you see them now and where you see them in the future. Acknowledge the concerns of those individuals and embrace the tough conversations while avoiding any promises, especially those unlikely to happen. What does the employee view as needed to develop, and how can the municipality help? Does the municipality agree with the view? There can often be a difference between the employer’s and employee’s expectations, and resolution can make all the difference in retaining talented individuals.

Finally, create a plan for what steps will be taken if those key talented individuals decide to leave and how those gaps will be filled. What leadership and other skills are you looking for that will be beneficial today as well as into the future? Are you looking for a stopgap or a long-term solution? A single superstar employee could be great, but a team of hard-working, conscientious individuals can be just, or more, critical to success, especially if that superstar doesn’t stick around.

Our dedicated Governmental team provides day-to-day commitment from partner-level to staff. We aim to support governmental officials to bridge the gap between available resources and meet your municipality goals. We can help you lower costs, minimize disruptions to daily operations and maximize the potential of your precious financial resources.

Tim Bograkos, Director of Business Development - Maner Costerisan

Tim Bograkos

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