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Recruiting and Retaining Gen-X Officers

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 51 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2003 Pages: 94-97
Troy Mineard
Date Published
July 2003
4 pages
This article suggests recruiting and retention policies for police agencies in dealing with potential applicants and employees conditioned by the work ethic of the members of Generation X (born in the 1960's and 1970's).
Compared with the previous generation ("Baby Boomers"), Generation X is more likely to challenge and question authority figures, including employers; to expect their work to be an expression of their interests, knowledge, and skills; to influence the decisions that affect their work and careers; and to expect that their work demands will not unduly obstruct a fulfilling family life and leisure-time interests. The work expectations and behavioral patterns of the members of Generation X require that police departments' personnel polices be modified in the interests of recruitment and retention of employees. This involves the provision of a stable shift pattern for employees rather than the "jumping" of shifts in a rotation that disrupts the employee's life; the structuring of organizational decisionmaking to involve employee input; the matching of job tasks and training to the interests, education, and skills of employees; and allowing employees to live outside of their departmental jurisdiction should they so choose. If police agencies are willing to make accommodations that enhance the work and off-duty experiences of employees, they can expect that the work commitment and attitudes of employees will be strengthened and retention increased.