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Factors Affecting Turnover of County Extension Agents in the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service John M. Mowbray, EdD Area Program Director.

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Presentation on theme: "Factors Affecting Turnover of County Extension Agents in the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service John M. Mowbray, EdD Area Program Director."— Presentation transcript:

1 Factors Affecting Turnover of County Extension Agents in the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service John M. Mowbray, EdD Area Program Director University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service

2 Questions That Prompted This Study What is the turnover rate in the Univ. of Ky. Cooperative Extension Service and is it consistent with what is happening in other states? What is the turnover rate in the Univ. of Ky. Cooperative Extension Service and is it consistent with what is happening in other states? Who is leaving the Univ. of Ky. Cooperative Extension Service? Who is leaving the Univ. of Ky. Cooperative Extension Service? Why are County Extension Agents leaving? Why are County Extension Agents leaving? Are there things the Univ. of Ky. can do to prevent, delay or speed up the turnover process? Are there things the Univ. of Ky. can do to prevent, delay or speed up the turnover process?

3 How did we define………….. Turnover – actually leaving the organization: no transfer or reassignment. Turnover – actually leaving the organization: no transfer or reassignment. County Extension Agent – Only the professional extension educator staff at the county level was included in this study – no assistants, paraprofessionals, specialists, administrators or other support staff. County Extension Agent – Only the professional extension educator staff at the county level was included in this study – no assistants, paraprofessionals, specialists, administrators or other support staff. University of Kentucky Cooperative University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service - Only Extension Agents from the University of Kentucky CES were included in this study. Kentucky State University personnel and “U.K. Extension” programs were not included. Extension Service - Only Extension Agents from the University of Kentucky CES were included in this study. Kentucky State University personnel and “U.K. Extension” programs were not included.

4 An earlier study of business and industry revealed: “ It is interesting to note that more than half (54%) of the primary reasons for leaving and nearly three fourths (74%) of the overall reasons for leaving are things which the employer may have been in a position to influence, but did not do so.” “ It is interesting to note that more than half (54%) of the primary reasons for leaving and nearly three fourths (74%) of the overall reasons for leaving are things which the employer may have been in a position to influence, but did not do so.” Ahr & Ahr, 2000 Ahr & Ahr, 2000

5 Mobley’s Simplified Theory of Causes and Correlates of Turnover acknowledges that multiple causes affect the turnover decision in an individual. Mobley’s Simplified Theory of Causes and Correlates of Turnover acknowledges that multiple causes affect the turnover decision in an individual.

6 Questions Guiding this Study 1. Describe the personal and professional characteristics of those who voluntarily left the position of County Extension Agent. 2. Determine the factors that contribute to voluntary turnover of County Extension Agents under the broad determinant categories of organizational, individual work-related and individual non-work related. 3. Identify patterns and themes related to turnover from an analysis of the data collected from the County Extension Agents who voluntarily left the Cooperative Extension Service.

7 This study focused on turnover factors that were categorized as: Organizational – factors which the organization alone can influence. (pay, opportunity for advancement, recognition, opportunity for in-service and training, benefits…) Individual Work-Related – factors related to perception and performance which directly or indirectly affect satisfaction with the job. (Is the job challenging, interesting, clarity of responsibilities, qualified for the job, values of the organization compared to personal values…) Individual Non-Work Related – factors that are personal or non-work related which influence the individual’s commitment to the job. (family obligations, location/distance from family and friends, opportunities for educational advancement, desire to spend more time with family…)

8 Who was included in this study? All 70 County Extension Agents who voluntarily left the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service between July 1, 1997 and April 30, All 70 County Extension Agents who voluntarily left the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service between July 1, 1997 and April 30, This excluded any forced resignations and retirements. This excluded any forced resignations and retirements. This also excluded any County Extension Agent who changed counties or moved to another position within the U.K. C.E.S. This also excluded any County Extension Agent who changed counties or moved to another position within the U.K. C.E.S.

9 Data Collection Information from agents was collected via mailed questionnaire. Information from agents was collected via mailed questionnaire. Parts of the instrument asked agents to rank on a Likert Scale each of 50 factors contributing to their decision to leave C.E.S. – then explain if ranked high. Parts of the instrument asked agents to rank on a Likert Scale each of 50 factors contributing to their decision to leave C.E.S. – then explain if ranked high. Agents were asked a series of open ended questions designed to collect: Agents were asked a series of open ended questions designed to collect: Information on their individual situation when they Information on their individual situation when they left Extension (marital status, #of children,…) left Extension (marital status, #of children,…) The main reason for leaving Extension The main reason for leaving Extension Changes that could have been made Changes that could have been made Any additional comment about why the left. Any additional comment about why the left.

10 Data Collection, cont. Personal and professional information was also accessed from Personnel Files in the College of Agriculture for those completing and returning the survey: Personal and professional information was also accessed from Personnel Files in the College of Agriculture for those completing and returning the survey: Educational Level Performance Ratings Educational Level Performance Ratings Date of Birth County Assignment Date of Birth County Assignment Degree Level Program Area Degree Level Program Area Marital Status Number of Years in Extension Marital Status Number of Years in Extension Race Salary Race Salary Gender Gender Also accessed the Univ. of Ky. Separation Sheets on those who completed the survey to determine their stated reason for leaving. Also accessed the Univ. of Ky. Separation Sheets on those who completed the survey to determine their stated reason for leaving.

11 Who Resigned? 34 Years Old 34 Years Old Female Female Caucasian Caucasian 5.25 Years Service 5.25 Years Service 4-H/Youth Development Agent 4-H/Youth Development Agent Native Kentuckian Native Kentuckian Working in Central Kentucky Region Working in Central Kentucky Region Bachelor of Science Degree in an Agricultural Related Bachelor of Science Degree in an Agricultural Related Field Field Performing at an “Exceeds Expectations” Level Performing at an “Exceeds Expectations” Level Married Married No Children No Children First Job out of College First Job out of College $30,365 Salary $30,365 Salary Contemplated Leaving for 10 months Contemplated Leaving for 10 months Went on to a Position in Private Business Went on to a Position in Private Business

12 Factors Affecting Turnover Organizational - 1. Insufficient pay 2. Amount of work expected 3. Lack of recognition for a job well done Note: Importance of these factors was determined by their selection by 25% or > of the agents

13 Factors Affecting Turnover, Cont. Individual Work-Related 1. Excessive night, weekend or overnight commitments 2. I had other priorities in my life 3. No matter how much I did it was never enough Note: Importance of these factors was determined by their selection by 25% or > of the agents.

14 Factors Affecting Turnover, Cont. Individual Non-Work Related Factors 1. Family obligations 2. A desire to spend more time with family 3. I received another job offer 4. I was attracted to more money elsewhere 5. My work conflicted with my personal responsibilities Note: Importance of these factors was determined by their selection by 25% or > of the agents.

15 Agent Response by Category Organizational Factors Insufficient Pay 36% Insufficient Pay 36% Amount of Work Expected 30% Amount of Work Expected 30% Lack of recognition for a job well done 27% Lack of recognition for a job well done 27% Individual Work-Related Factors Excessive night, weekend or overnight commitment 52% Excessive night, weekend or overnight commitment 52% I had other priorities in my life 50% I had other priorities in my life 50% No matter how much I did it was never enough 32% No matter how much I did it was never enough 32% Individual Non-Work Related Factors Family obligations 48% Family obligations 48% A desire to spend more time with family 45% A desire to spend more time with family 45% I received another job offer 45% I received another job offer 45% I was attracted by more money elsewhere 32% I was attracted by more money elsewhere 32% My work conflicted with my personal responsibilities 29% My work conflicted with my personal responsibilities 29%

16 What does this mean? Themes of Extension’s Themes of Extension’s (1) impact on family (1) impact on family (2) time commitment to the job, and (2) time commitment to the job, and (3) compensation (3) compensation were the most common themes expressed through the Likert scale questions in the survey were the most common themes expressed through the Likert scale questions in the survey

17 The major factors contributing to turnover transcend factor categories and were supported throughout Parts I through III of the study. The major factors contributing to turnover transcend factor categories and were supported throughout Parts I through III of the study. Agents apparently felt strongly enough about these factors that they used every opportunity to express that concern. Agents apparently felt strongly enough about these factors that they used every opportunity to express that concern.

18 Patterns and Themes from Analysis of Open-Ended Questions. Five themes emerged, four of which supported earlier findings in this study: 1. Experiencing Work Spillover Into Non-Work Areas of Agent Lives. 2. Dealing With Expectancy Gaps. 3. Struggling With Fairness of Compensation. 4. Experiencing Shadow Policy. and the new theme of: 5. Embracing Organizational Goodness Among Leavers.

19 Conclusions 1. The time required to perform the job functions of an Extension Agent was more than the agents wanted to commit to, at least at this stage of their life. Top four overall factors contributing to agent turnover: 1) Excessive night, weekend or overnight commitment 1) Excessive night, weekend or overnight commitment 2) I had other priorities in my life 2) I had other priorities in my life 3) Family obligations 3) Family obligations 4) A desire to spend more time with family. 4) A desire to spend more time with family. 2. Insufficient pay came in as the top organizational reason, 5 th overall, and 2 nd as main reason for leaving, and was referenced by agents repeatedly in terms of insufficient pay for the amount of work expected.

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21 Mean Age of all Agents : 34 Years F.C.S. Agents – 45.8Years 4-H/Y.D. Agents – 32.9 Years Agr./N.R. Agents – 31.2 Years

22 Native Kentuckians: 73% Native Kentuckians: 73% F.C.S. Agents – 90% F.C.S. Agents – 90% 4-H/Y.D. Agents – 70% 4-H/Y.D. Agents – 70% Agr./N.R. Agents – 63% Agr./N.R. Agents – 63%

23 Mean Service Time for Agts Who Left Extension – 5.25 Years ( Min – 0.4 Yrs/ Max. – 24.7 Yrs ) F.C.S. Agents – 6.9 Years F.C.S. Agents – 6.9 Years 4-H/Y.D. Agents – 5.1 Years 4-H/Y.D. Agents – 5.1 Years Agr./N.R. Agents Years Agr./N.R. Agents Years Mean Service Time for All U.K. Extension Agents – 16.5 Years

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26 68% of Agents were Married N umber of Children at Home was essentially the same 68% of Agents were Married N umber of Children at Home was essentially the same F.C.S. Agents - 90% Married for all programs even though F.C.S. Agents were senior F.C.S. Agents - 90% Married for all programs even though F.C.S. Agents were senior 4-H/Y.D. Agents – 61% Married to their co-worker groups by nearly 13 years. 4-H/Y.D. Agents – 61% Married to their co-worker groups by nearly 13 years. Agr./N.R. Agents – 64% Married Of those agents with children, average was 1.86 kids. Agr./N.R. Agents – 64% Married Of those agents with children, average was 1.86 kids.

27 Performance Rating of Former Agents Outstanding (80+)18% Exceeds Expectations (75-79)44% Meets Expectations (70-74)21% Needs Improvement (65-69) 9% Unacceptable (<65) 8% 62% of former agents were rated at “Exceeds Expectations” or higher. F.C.S. Agents had the highest ratings, but should be expected since most tenured. Female agents ratings averaged 74.5 as opposed to 71.3 for male agents.

28 Rating Trend of Former Agents Increasing37% Decreasing20% One Rating*(73+)20% One Rating**(<73) 6% No Change17% * A first-time Performance Rating of 73 is considered typical for an agent meeting performance standards. standards. ** A first-time rating of <73 is someone whose performance needs improvement in several areas.

29 All Agents Who Left– 47% All Agents Who Left – 61% All Agents Who Left– 47% All Agents Who Left – 61% F.C.S Agents – 30% F.C.S. Agents – 30% F.C.S Agents – 30% F.C.S. Agents – 30% 4-H/Y.D. Agents – 43% 4-H/Y.D. Agents – 61% 4-H/Y.D. Agents – 43% 4-H/Y.D. Agents – 61% Agr./N.R. Agents – 64% Agr./N.R. Agents – 91% Agr./N.R. Agents – 64% Agr./N.R. Agents – 91%

30 Mean Time Considered Leaving – Weeks Min time –( 0 weeks,/ Max time – 208 weeks) 4-H Agents considered leaving longer but not significantly longer, but 4-H Agents considered leaving longer but not significantly longer, but 4-H Agents were only agents who reported leaving with 0 weeks consideration. (3 agents) 4-H Agents were only agents who reported leaving with 0 weeks consideration. (3 agents)

31 Agents Not Currently Employed – 14% Agents Not Currently Employed – 14% Of those agents not employed - F.C.S. Agents – 66% 4-H/Y.D. Agents – 34% 4-H/Y.D. Agents – 34% Agr./N.R Agents – 0% Agr./N.R Agents – 0%

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34 Salary of Former Extension Agents $20,000-25,00011% $25,001-30,00055% $30,001-35,00016% $35,001-40,000 9% $40,001-45,000 7% $45,001 % Above 2% Mean Salary of Agents who left CES - $30,365 Mean Salary of All CES Agents - $37,010

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