How the Federal Government is Retaining Millennial Talent

by Charles Brooks, Featured Contributor

MILLENIALS will make up 50 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2020 and 75 percent of the global workforce by 2030. This means that organizations and government agencies will have to begin to re-think their old ways in order to attract and retain employees.

Recently, we covered the importance of changing the perception of government professions to attract millennials in this blog post. A few tips we outlined included showcasing innovation in government programs, and highlighting employee investment and appreciation through the extensive benefits programs and training that agencies offer.

But some agencies are going above and beyond. I believe other agencies can learn from their lead to accommodate and empower their millennials workers.

  • Talking the talk: It’s safe to say that millennials have a very different way of communicating compared to baby boomers and it’s important for organizations to recognize this and shift the way they communicate with constituents to meet everyone’s needs. This is exactly what agencies, especially customer contact centers, are doing. Rather than only providing phone communications to cater to the baby boomers, contact centers are developing multiple channels for customers to utilize including, text messaging, email, social media and online. This infographic states that 41 percent of consumers prefer online service rather than the telephone, so by evolving communication channels, contact centers are meeting the needs of the growing millennial population.
  • millennialGoing green: Millennials are focused on environmental sustainability and 55 percent want to see a change in their employer’s stance on sustainability. By becoming more green and environmental friendly, agencies can increase employee commitment, positively impacting employee satisfaction and retention. Agencies like the General Services Administration are already going green by implementing sustainability initiatives across many different buildings. These efficiency upgrades are expected to produce nearly $3 million in savings over the first year of operation. By becoming environmentally responsible through implementing an entire program or a simple recycling program, millennials will continue to be satisfied.
  • Government 2.0: Innovation is everywhere and technology is changing our everyday lives. Millennials are some of the top technology advocates because they grew up around technology and aren’t afraid to try the latest and greatest. They expect technology to play a big part in their work environment and believe it will make it more interesting and them productive. Government agencies are making great advances and beginning to use technology to impact processes and help employees. For example, they are embracing new trends like the cloud. In fact, 90 percent of federal agencies have adopted the cloud. They are also using it to help citizens by developing smart water meters to combat California drought and sensor-based technology to make cities smarter and more connected to that enhance efficiency.
  • Work is not a place anymore: Along the same lines as the technology, mobility and BYOD are changing the way we do business. Millennials like to be able to work from anywhere at any time and 50 percent of them would rather work from their smartphone even when working at their desk. BYOD and mobility are not going away and government agencies are developing mobility plans to give their employees the necessary tools to succeed. Since the launch of the Digital Government Strategy initiative, the government has invested $1.6 billion in mobilizing its workforce. Not only does mobility increase productivity, it can help agencies save $15.1 billion in real estate. Agencies see the importance of flexibility in the workplace and are making BYOD and mobility a top priority for the growing millennial population.

As mentioned in our previous blog, millennials want to make a difference in the world and they want to promote change. I believe this is one area government agencies can improve on. Agencies need to start highlighting how their work is positively impacting the world and begin to develop charitable giving programs and initiatives to keep millennials happy. Whether it is a day of volunteering or a donation drive, investing in giving back and showcasing how anyone can make a difference can be an easy way to keep younger talent happy and engaged.

Editor’s Note: This Article was originally published on Xerox Blogs and is featured here with permission.


Chuck Brooks
Chuck Brooks
Chuck Brooks is a globally recognized thought leader and evangelist for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies. LinkedIn named Chuck as one of “The Top 5 Tech People to Follow on LinkedIn”. He was named by Thompson Reuters as a “Top 50 Global Influencer in Risk, Compliance,” and by IFSEC as the “#2 Global Cybersecurity Influencer” in 2018. He is also a Cybersecurity Expert for “The Network” at the Washington Post, Visiting Editor at Homeland Security Today, and a Contributor to FORBES. In government, Chuck has received two senior Presidential appointments. Under President George W. Bush Chuck was appointed to The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the first Legislative Director of The Science & Technology Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security. He also was appointed as Special Assistant to the Director of Voice of America under President Reagan. He served as a top Advisor to the late Senator Arlen Specter on Capitol Hill covering security and technology issues on Capitol Hill. In local government, he also worked as an Auxiliary Police officer for Arlington, Virginia. In industry, Chuck has served in senior executive roles for General Dynamics as the Principal Market Growth Strategist for Cyber Systems, at Xerox as Vice President & Client Executive for Homeland Security, for Rapiscan and Vice President of R & D, for SRA as Vice President of Government Relations, and for Sutherland as Vice President of Marketing and Government Relations. In academia, Chuck is Adjunct Faculty at Georgetown University’s Applied Intelligence Program and graduate Cybersecurity Programs where he teaches courses on risk management, homeland security, and cybersecurity. He was an Adjunct Faculty Member at Johns Hopkins University where he taught a graduate course on homeland security for two years. He has an MA in International relations from the University of Chicago, a BA in Political Science from DePauw University, and a Certificate in International Law from The Hague Academy of International Law.

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