Loving and leaving public health: Predictors of intentions to quit among state health agency workers

Rivka Liss-Levinson, Kiran Bharthapudi, Jonathon P. Leider, Katie Sellers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Context: State health agencies play a critical role in protecting and promoting the health and well-being of the people they serve. To be effective, they must maintain a highly skilled, diverse workforce of sufficient size and with proper training. Objective: The goal of this study was to examine demographics, job and workplace environment characteristics, job satisfaction, and reasons for initially joining the public health workforce as predictors of an employee's intentions to leave an organization within the next year. Design: This study used a cross-sectional design. Respondents were selected on the basis of a stratified sampling approach, with 5 geographic (paired Health and Human Services [HHS] regions) as the primary strata. Balanced repeated replication was used as a resampling method for variance estimation. A logistic regression model was used to examine the correlates of intentions to leave one's organization within the next year. The independent variables included several measures of satisfaction, perceptions about the workplace environment, initial reasons for joining public health, gender, age, education, salary, supervisory status, program area, and paired HHS region. Setting and Participants: The sample for this study consisted of 10 246 permanently employed state health agency central office employees who responded to the Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey (PH WINS). Main Outcome Measure: Considering leaving one's organization within the next year. Results: Being a person of color, living in the West (HHS regions 9 and 10), and shorter tenure in one's current position were all associated with higher odds of intentions to leave an organization within the next year. Conversely, greater employee engagement, organizational support, job satisfaction, organization satisfaction, and pay satisfaction were all significant predictors of lower intentions to leave one's organization within the next year. Conclusions: Results from this study suggest several variables related to demographics, job characteristics, workplace environment, and job satisfaction that are predictive of intentions to leave. Future researchers and state health agencies should explore how these findings can be used to help with retention of employees in the state health agency workforce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S91-S101
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
Volume21
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Intentions to quit
  • Job satisfaction
  • Public health workforce
  • State health agencies
  • Turnover

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