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Restructuring Benefits and Compensation 115 16.1 Workforce Challenges. Programs related to "Restructuring Benefits and Compensation" are typically designed to address challenges associated with attracting and retaining qualified individuals who are likely to leave the organization for a competitor able to offer better benefits. These challenges should be carefully considered before selecting the program that would best fit the needs of your agency. For example, these are common challenges agencies face: Anti-Public Sector Sentiment. Some transportation agencies are facing anti-public sector sentiment in their local communities. Although these negative perceptions are not typically grounded by facts, they continue to guide people's decisions about employment in the public sector and are detrimental towards recruitment and retention efforts. As a result, agencies should continue to invalidate these misperceptions and accentuate the notion of public service (i.e., value/meaning of work), and benefits (e.g., job stability, employee leave, retirement packages) associated with a career in the industry. High Expectations of an Employer. Younger workers tend to differ from older workers in terms of their expectations when it comes to salary, tenure, responsibility, and work schedule. Organizations are challenged with younger workers who attempt to negotiate their salary based on their perceived skill level. Hiring a younger individual at their requested salary could lead to dissension, especially if the offer is discovered by lower-paid incumbents. Organizations must be savvy about where they set their compensation levels and provide justification for doing so. Many younger workers feel that changing jobs around every 5 years is an important part of building their skill set; however, older generations consider 5 years to be a very short tenure with an organization and an indication of poor commitment. Lastly, the younger workforce expects to have flexible schedules. This expectation can be difficult to meet in jobs that work around tight schedules. Organizations are struggling to find ways to alter legacy jobs to meet these expectations. Aggressive Wage Competition. Organizations struggle to offer a compensation package that rivals the private industry. Almost every participant indicated that their agency loses applicants, especially those needed to fill middle to upper management positions, to the private industry for higher salaries and superior benefits packages. Furthermore, some applicants accept positions with public organizations for their training programs, but once certified, will leave and find work in the private sector where they receive a higher salary. Many organizations have succumbed to this wage competition instead of developing more strategic methods of recruiting workers. Organizations focus on filling unskilled positions without having long-term development plans for these new employees, leaving organizations "bottom-heavy" and forcing them to lay off employees when business slows down. Managers begin to perceive this transient workforce as an industry norm and do not motivate new unskilled employees to enroll in training programs because of the risk of losing those employees once skilled. The issue is that a cycle emerges which results in a lack of skilled workers. Better Compensation and Responsibility. Participants indicated that employees are often willing to leave their current positions for better compensation and benefits. Specifically, organizations struggle with retaining employees who are in the middle of their careers (e.g., 5 to 10 years) because this is about the time when private sector competitors may begin to offer much more than the public sector can. Participants also suggested that the private sector tends to offer greater responsibilities to new hires because these private sector organizations are not as deeply rooted in seniority-based systems. 16.2 Industry Strategies. Researchers and program managers identify the following programmatic strategies when describing industry efforts in "Restructuring Benefits and Compensation" (see Exhibit 16-2). While these strategies represent the general direction of human resource (HR)