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What you need to know about the recruitment, satisfaction and retention of Millennial-aged police officers

12 Mar 2017 12:07 PM | International Public Safety Association (Administrator)

By Dr. Jim DeLung

Millennial-aged police officers are quickly gaining a large percentage of police employment positions (Szoltysik, 2014). They expect high workplace satisfaction (Herbison & Boseman, 2009) and this generation of sworn police officers are the future of policing. Police organizations could benefit by identifying factors for Millennial-aged police officers for maximum workplace satisfaction.

Millennials classified

Contemporary generational literature identified employees born since 1980 as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y (Barford & Hester, 2011; Crumpacker & Crumpacker, 2007; Howe & Struass in Balda & Mora, 2011). Research in the private sector has shown the impact of generational differences from a workplace satisfaction viewpoint, which directly correlated to business practices reflecting organizational success and failure (De Muese & Mlodzik, 2010; Greengard, 2011; Hira, 2007).

Current public-sector research discovered leaders have a responsibility to Millennial employees to provide satisfactory workplace environments, as current practices are not retaining the best talent (Kane, 2011). This generation, those born since 1980, is willing and able to fulfill the duties of public service (Della Volpe, 2010); however policy makers need to identify increasingly beneficial workplace environments for greater employee effectiveness.

The rigid, policy-laden, pseudo militaristic, culture of policing must adjust to the newest generation (White & Escobar, 2008) and improve the current low satisfaction often found in Millennial-aged employees (Eldridge, 2012; Wasilewski, 2011).

Policing culture and Millennials

Research has been conducted on the perceptions of workplace satisfaction for Millennial-aged employees, but policing offers a vastly different work culture to study. Workplace satisfaction contains internal and external factors for individuals. According to Frederic Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory for employee satisfaction, internal factors such as personal growth and happiness are known as motivators and external factors such as policies and pay are hygiene factors (Guha, 2010). Proper identification of how factors satisfy employees is important for leaders to provide motivating work environments.

Lublin (2010) suggested the real problem may not be the generation, but the possibility current management does not manage or lead Millennials for prominence. Current police culture appears to be old practices disguised as best practices and it is postulated a more satisfying workplace environment could be found for Millennial-aged officers.

Johnson (2011) reported that employers should examine their current work climate and identify methods of satisfaction that allow Millennials to perform best. Workplace environments such as permission to think and work outside the traditional constraints of the current organizational culture are most effective (Behrens, 2009).

Therefore, here are four questions all agencies need to answer (and how to answer):

1. What specific factors draw Millennial to work as police officers?

2. What specific workplace factors increase job satisfaction for Millennial-aged police officers?

3. What specific workplace factors decrease workplace satisfaction for Millennial-aged police officers?

4. What specific workplace factors promote workplace retention for Millennial-aged police officers?

Author: "Hellofa motivator!" - Dr. Jim DeLung is currently serving with pride as the CEO of DeLung International at, a professional leadership and organizational development firm. As a successful private entrepreneur and public-sector leader, Dr. DeLung utilizes his education and experience for effective leadership and inspiration to organizations through interactive, adult-oriented training programs. More information available at 

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