Resource Center

article / February 20, 2019

7 focus areas for millennial police recruitment

Dr. Jim DeLung is currently serving as the Director of Learning & Development for TheODPros. He received his PhD in Business Administration with special emphasis in Organizational Leadership at Northcentral University. His dissertation focused on factors for workplace satisfaction of millennial-aged police officers

1. Thrill and variety of police work

When asked why they have an interest in law enforcement, millennials consistently say that the job seems exciting, challenging, and ever changing.

Consider: Utilizing hi-speed, challenging events during recruitment and emphasizing the opportunity for lateral movement and diverse career arcs. To retain recruits, there needs to be ample opportunity for diverse work experience and and lateral movement.

2. Serving the community and helping people

Millennials have a broad history of community involvement, with many being active through school or other organizations that they've been a part of. When asking a potential recruit why they want to be a police officer, it's quite likely that you hear something about wanting to help people. Well, millennials mean it.

Consider: Leaning into the community service of law enforcement. Make this a focal point of the career and recruiting messaging.

3. Team environment

Millennials have been part of teams for their entire lives (school, work, sports, clubs, etc.). They like the close connection to their coworkers.

Consider: Showcase the team work that goes into the job. Make sure you're using team photos in recruiting materials and showcasing the cross-organizational teamwork that is a part of policing.

4. Legacy career

You know the saying about apples falling from trees. You'd be amazed at how many officers don't recruit their family members and friends.

Consider: Making it an agency-wide push to recruit those within their sphere of influence.

5. Pay and benefits

It's important to understand where you fit into the grand scheme of things regionally. Can't compete salary wise? Get creative.

Consider: Exploring PTO packages and other possible perks to compete with surrounding areas that can boast a higher salary. Try and organize partnerships with local organizations for special discounts or memberships.

6. Recognition for work

People want value and validation. Millennials are no different here. This is probably the easiest and cheapest to implement.

Consider: Give a little praise. It can go a long way – and it comes cheap!

7. Respect for input and new ideas

We respect millennials enough to recruit, hire and train them, but when will we respect them enough to retain them? Research indicates the people are more interested in how the decision was made more so than the why or the what.

Consider: Setting up better internal infrastructure and processes to review and acknowledge feedback. This is another where a little can go a long way. Simply taking the time to acknowledge and discuss input from new hires goes a long way for retention. Even if most ideas are not necessarily new or innovative, having the conversation and taking the time to explain the feasibility or infeasibility will pay dividends.