Organizational and individual factors related to retention of county extension agents employed by Texas Cooperative Extension

Date

2005-02-17

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Publisher

Texas A&M University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the organizational and individual factors related to job retention of Texas county Extension agents and learn why agents choose to stay employed by Texas Cooperative Extension. The population for the study included 419 Texas county Extension agents employed for at least three years. The response rate for the web-based questionnaire was 87% or 364 respondents. The Likerttype scale instrument consisted of thirty-eight questions divided into four sections: eleven organizational factors; ten individual work related factors; five individual non-work related; and twelve demographic questions. Each section had one open-ended question for the respondents to comment. Employee turnover is costly to any organization as costs can be as high as over 100% of the employee?s annual salary. Retention of employees is important, not only, for economic reasons but to provide a quality product or service without interruption of services during an employee?s vacancy. Of the respondents, 58% of the county Extension agents have been employed for more than eleven years and 35% have worked for over twenty years. 89% of the county Extension agents have served in more than one county during their tenure and of those 298, 56% have served in more than three counties. The four, most important retention factors identified by county Extension agents were: interesting work; variety of work/scheduling; opportunity to contribute to my community; and personal satisfaction. There was a very strong relationship between recognition from supervisor and the understanding/fairness of supervisor as a reason why county Extension agents choose to stay employed by Texas Cooperative Extension. The recommendations from the study should be considered by Extension administration to put into practice to decrease employee turnover and increase retention among Texas county Extension agent.

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