Poll Results – It’s the Mission Baby

The tally is in for last week’s poll and we have a clear winner…..MISSION.

When asked why do they work for the gov’t, GovLoop members voted:
73.7% Mission
0.0% Co-Workers
15.8% Benefits
5.3% Money
5.3% Google Turned Me Down

Personally, this resonates with everything I’ve heard from my colleagues and read in surveys. People come to work to the government because of the mission. They want to give back to their country and they want to help solve the biggest problems facing out nation.

The problem is how often do we feel connected to the mission in our daily work. I think the federal government is missing a huge opportunity for recruiting and retaining when it fails to sell the mission of the government. When it does sell the mission, it is often done with cheesy 80s recruitment videos that just don’t work (although non-profits such as Partnership for Public Service have made some good videos).

In comparison, look at how well the military markets the mission. The TV and print ads for the Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force are light years ahead of anything I’ve seen recruiting for civilian agencies. After Katrina when FEMA needed to staff up, it easily could have made a great ad asking for people to sign up to help after the biggest natural disaster in our history.

The mission factor does not end with recruitment. There is no better way to motivate staff than show them how their work connects with the mission and impacts lives. For example, send a contracting officer to the field where they can see how their acquisition affects the lives of citizens. Document improvements when upgrades are made. For example, collect feedback from citizens on how the new technology to process immigration benefits allowed their family to come to the U.S. six months earlier than expected.

What do you think? Do you feel connected with your agency’s mission? What activities does the agency do to make you feel connected?

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