A multilevel workforce study on drivers of turnover and training needs in state health departments: Do leadership and staff agree?

Jonathon P. Leider, Fátima Coronado, Kyle Bogaert, Katie Sellers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives: To characterize agreement between senior governmental public health staff and their subordinates concerning drivers for staff turnover, and skill importance and ability. Design: Data were combined from 2 national surveys conducted in 2017; one was a nationally representative, individual-level survey of public health workers, and one was an individual-level survey of their leadership. Setting: State health agencies. Participants: Respondents who held scientific, nonsupervisory positions at state health agency central offices (n = 3606) were matched with leadership (n = 193) who provided programmatic area oversight. Main Outcome Measures: Drivers of turnover and training needs are the primary outcomes examined in this article. Results: Leaders and their staff agreed on the main 2 drivers of turnover (low salary and lack of opportunities for advancement), but discordance was observed for other major drivers of turnover. Substantial discordance was observed between leaders and their staff in terms of perceived staff proficiency with selected skills. Conclusions: This multilevel assessment of workplace perceptions offers evidence around training needs and drivers of turnover in state health agencies. Although staff and leaders agree on some major drivers of turnover, other potential reasons for leaving cited by staff, and the difference in perceptions of skills, can help target job satisfaction, training, and retention efforts in state health agencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-37
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.


  • Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey
  • drivers of turnover
  • governmental public health
  • multilevel research
  • public health workforce
  • training needs

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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