Attracting and Retaining Employees in Minnesota Local Governments

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Attracting and Retaining Employees in Minnesota Local Governments

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Local governments in Minnesota and across the U.S. will soon face significant challenges attracting and retaining employees due to the impending mass retirement of the Baby Boomer generation. This transformation of the workforce will be felt in both the public and private sectors heightening the need for local governments to better compete for and attract top talent. In April 2018, the League of Minnesota Cities (the League), an organization promoting excellence in local government through expert analysis and trusted guidance, enlisted graduate students from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs to research this issue. This Minnesota-focused report examines what workers desire in a workplace compared to how current local Minnesota government employees perceive their workplace. From data produced by a literature review, interviews with employees and human resources staff, and a broadly distributed electronic survey to Minnesota city employees, the report identifies key findings and recommendations to assist local Minnesota governments in overcoming this imminent challenge. Key findings found both alignment and misalignment with what potential employees desire in a workplace and what is currently offered by Minnesota local governments. Alignment findings, or what Minnesota city employees are most satisfied with, include making a difference in their community, variety in job duties, work/life balance, benefits and stability. Misalignment, or what may be missing from local government culture, was found in the areas of growth and development opportunities, promotion and advancement opportunities, day-to-day flexibility and opportunities to have a voice in work.


Capstone paper for the fulfillment of the Master of Public Affairs degree.

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Ali, Kamal; Desrude, Jennifer; Merrifield, Angela; Rebar, jeannette. (2018). Attracting and Retaining Employees in Minnesota Local Governments. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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