Thread: Turn over
01-25-2004, 02:30 PM #1
I was wondering if other agencies have a problem with turn over. Our center seems to always be short staffed. The offer good pay and benifits, and top of the line equipment. But it tends to be a very stressful job and a high percent of people thet do not make it through the training program.
What do other centers do to screen possible employees?
01-27-2004, 11:34 AM #2
- Join Date
- Jan 2003
One of the best methods to reduce turnover is to make people understand up front what the job is. To this end we require applicants to sit a shift in dispatch prior to hiring. We've washed out a few candidates that way who otherwise looked good on paper. We also give each new employee a pre-hire sheet that speaks to the issue of shift and holiday work and the necessity of having a reliable means of getting to work regardless of weather. We still have turnover. Turnover in itself is not always bad. Because few people dream of becoming a dispatcher when they grow up, we are always losing folks to the uniformed services. That is a universal issue that will only be cracked by improved retirement systems and changes in perception. However, in the interim, most people who have an eye on becoming a firefighter or police officer tend to be reliable employees during their term. Bascially, our turnover occurs during the first three years employment. After that, we are pretty stable. More than a dozen employees are here since the center's inception in 1986.
01-28-2004, 10:01 AM #3
Applicants are required to do a sit in at dispatch. I have also noticed that once someone makes it past a year and half there is a better chance that they are going to stay for a while. The longest an employee has been here is 6 years and she is a temperary, for full time it is 5 years.
01-29-2004, 03:48 PM #4
- Join Date
- May 2002
- St Louis, Mo
I have been a pulic safety dispatcher for seven years now and spent a good part of that time at a center with a 98% turnover ratio. The turnover was attributed to poor training standards, poor management in fact management by intimidation and a very poor hiring and screening process. Having been to two other centers since then I have found many of the same problems exist at all dispatch centers. The hiring process is a sure fire way to cut down your turnover rate. Better testing and interview questions will eliminate the weak from the strong. A pleasant work environment is essential to keep someone. If you are in a room with disgruntled people for 12 hours you wont want to stay very long. The management and supervisory staff need to treat people as people not like a dog off the street. Also make the work environment comfortable. Have chairs that are not going to leave you crippled after 12 hours. Have a radio or tv to look at or listen to on the down time.
Just my opinion on why it happens and how to prevent it from happening.
01-30-2004, 05:50 AM #5
I am a Sheriff's Office dispatcher/Vol FF in a county of 40,000. I work night shift (11-7). It gets hard sometimes sitting in this room when nothing is going on. The only thing that keeps me going is access to the internet and taking some classes on-line since there is not much on TV.
A little freedom, as long as you get your job done, always helps.
01-30-2004, 04:08 PM #6
As others have stated hiring qualified candidates solves alot of problems. Often people don't expect this profession to encompass all that it does when they start. The national turn over rate average is now 3 years.. down from 5. Things such as pay and benefits are important, but oddly enough are not considered the most important. People in this job want the respect that's due them. They want up-to-date technology. They want a clean and safe work environment. They want a administration that understands there needs and wants, and someone that WANTS to be in charge of communications, not some Joe or Jane Blow who is stuck in Communications because someone doesn't like him/her. They don't want to be treated like the red headed step children many Telecommunicators/911 Centers are treated like. Simple enough to implement, but not enough take the time to do any of these.
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