Eight Things to do to Retain Security Cleared Professionals

Dec 14, 2021

Both employee recruitment and retention are essential to the success of your government contracts. Attracting, engaging, and recruiting security cleared professionals with a good hiring process has never been more critical. However, there’s no business success in recruiting new professionals if you can’t keep your current ones.

How often have you experienced having your best employees accept offers from other companies? And when that happens, do you wonder what the problem is? Perhaps you should be asking: what are those companies are doing right? Let us help you figure it out!

Also read: How to Recruit Cleared Candidates for your Government Contracts

Why are Cleared Professionals Important to Retain?

According to the Washington Post, about 5 million Americans had security clearances in 2013. Reportedly, this number has recently dwindled down to about 3.7 million, making security cleared professionals a very valuable asset for any organization. One of the most difficult aspects of recruiting security cleared professionals for government contracts is sourcing for cleared resumes, followed by solid outreach and hiring strategies. Retaining these candidates always poses a challenge, given the  low supply and tougher criteria to maintain a security clearance. With new government contracts and opportunities coming up every day, cleared professionals don’t think twice before switching their full scope polygraph jobs if their current one doesn’t suit them.

Eight Effective Strategies for Retaining Cleared Professionals

If the risk of losing top talent is high and you want to consider employee retention strategies, the following are eight key areas where proper action can help enhance your ability to hold onto cleared professionals and ensure employee job satisfaction:

1. Good Onboarding Program

A good onboarding program leads to 69% of employees staying at least 3 years. In a study, new employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58 percent more likely to be with the organization after three years.

2. Competitive Salary and Benefits

When employees feel that they are not appropriately compensated, it becomes one of the most common reasons for them to leave a contract. Benefits play a vital role in a compensation package and can be a great trade-off to make up for a less competitive salary. Employees value good benefits, and some of the good benefits include:

  • Comprehensive medical/dental/vision coverage
  • Paid Time off (PTO)
  • Retirement accounts
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Certification assistance program
  • Company-paid holidays including family members as well
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Relocation assistance

3. Additional Incentives

Offering additional incentives to cleared professionals can be a great gesture to show that you value them. These incentives can be structured for long-term association with the organization. As an example, you could set up a long-term incentive plan that vest after 3 years of continued employment and pays out for a year after that.

4. Employee Engagement

Highly engaged employees are 40% less likely to be looking for a job compared to actively disengaged employees. Engagement can be increased by building a culture of inclusivity. One of the best ways to do that is to involve employees in decision-making about various initiatives.

5. Training and Development

Cleared professionals who require constant updating of skills might leave if they have no options for strengthening their skills. Providing proper training and development opportunities generally decreases the desire to leave. The pace of technology advancement requires federal agencies to stay relevant by initiating technology innovation projects. This gives companies a reason to build a workforce that is well-trained in new skills and technologies and create a win a win situation for employees and the company. Clearance Jobs recently listed top certifications for cleared professionals as:

  • Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • DoD Approved 8570 Baseline Certifications (IAT/ IAM Level I/II/III certifications like Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), CASP+ CE, Network+ CE, Security+ CE, etc.)
  • Certified Scrum Master (CSM)
  • AWS certifications
  • GIAC Certifications
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  • VMware Certified Professional/ VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCP/VCAP)

6. Recognition and Rewards

Employee rewards and recognitions are effective elements of recruiting and retaining cleared professionals. There are many ways to acknowledge contributions and good performance, from providing a sincere “Thank You!” for a specific job well done to establish a good reward system. The following are some of the ways for recognizing good performance:

  • Cash Awards
  • Referral Bonuses
  • Quality Step Increases
  • Emphasis on Teamwork

To ensure employee retention, encouraging all your employees, not just star players, to contribute ideas and solutions is a must. Creating opportunities for collaboration, accommodating individuals’ work styles, and giving everyone the latitude to make decisions and course corrections can help promote teamwork.

7. Communication

Problems always exist in an organization and cannot be avoided, so what matters is the process to address them. Satisfaction rates tend to be higher when employees can openly communicate with management and discuss their problems or concerns. A culture of open communication can always encourage trust among middle and upper-level management.

8. Value Work-Life Balance

Employees who feel the strain of their job affects their personal lives are more likely to seek alternative employment. Giving employees the possibility to occasionally work remotely and being less rigid with work hours can help improve employee retention. Providing a work environment that is healthy and considerate of employees’ work and personal life responsibilities and obligations can help with employee retention. Five aspects of maintaining a proper work-life balance based on the Department of Commerce’s internal policies are:
  • Alternative work schedules
  • Dependent and Elder Care
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Telework
  • Grievances and Complaints

While staffing your government contracts with cleared professionals is the first step, the real work begins when you identify what is essential to improve your retention strategies. iQuasar has the expertise and background to help our clients pursue this goal. In addition to sourcing services and recruiting services, our experts deliver full cycle recruitment services to help you build and retain a great team.

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