How Public Housing Authorities Can Cope – and Thrive – During the Great Resignation
The Great Resignation has hit the public sector just as hard as most industries. Burnout is widespread, and vaccine mandates have resulted in some agencies losing key people at a critical time. Even before the pandemic-driven wave of people quitting and retiring early, it was already tough enough to attract the right people for positions in public housing and other agencies. But the need for public housing grows every day, and along with it comes an increased focus on hiring and retention.
Public Housing Authority (PHA) budgets are flush with money to add new hires. As the pace of hiring picks up, it will be more critical than ever for PHAs to be savvy about how they share their mission and culture as ways to attract applicants, especially those of Millennial age, who are driven by a sense of purpose. of how your agency helps the community goes a long way toward getting the attention of people who might want to be part of it. Taking a bit of time to post on Facebook or LinkedIn could pay off later.
Agencies are also focusing on keeping the employees they already have, bracing for the resignations to continue. According to a recent survey from the MissionSquare Research Institute, state and local government employees want higher salary and better benefits (52%), nearly half (47%) are experiencing burnout, and more than one-third (36%) desire a better work-life balance. Many are looking to leave government employment altogether. In the PHA space, departures of IT and financial staff are particularly painful as they leave behind gaps that can be difficult to fill.
But public agencies should not just let people walk out the door without a word. You may feel powerless, but a Gallup report indicates that over half of employees say their manager could have done something to prevent them from leaving. Experts say taking the time to connect and be empathetic with employees pays dividends in keeping up their morale (and keeping them on the team). Being flexible with work schedules, where possible, is another way to help stressed employees who might otherwise be looking for a position outside government that can be done remotely.
The PHA staffing situation is causing a lot of worry. There is some good news, though: your PHA software vendor can help fill in the gaps and alleviate some of the pain of staffing shortages and onboarding. Depending on the offering, the vendor will offer tools like Learning Management courses and a support portal with on-demand videos to help with onboarding new hires. Some vendors offer live webinars on a regular basis that are good for new hires and for training existing people who are filling new roles. A good vendor will also offer on-demand services for special roles such as “accountant-on-call” to fill gaps in financial administration.
There is no question: Staffing issues are among the most urgent concerns facing PHAs today. But as you’re looking for creative solutions, be sure to check with your housing software vendor. They should have resources to lessen the pain.