Written by J.R. Martin, police communications shift manager for the Phoenix Police Department. He has worked in public safety communications for 15 years as a 9-1-1 operator, police dispatcher, communications training officer (CTO) and supervisor.
A career in public safety communications can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Telecommunicators are positioned to make a difference in their communities, but sacrifice a traditional nine-to-five lifestyle for that privilege. They are stationed at a console, secluded from the outside world. They are too often denied monetary bonuses, commissions or stock options as an incentive to deliver high performance. Upward mobility can be stifled because they are civilians operating in a larger public safety organization and managed by sworn personnel. Nevertheless, the dedicated professionals working in public safety communications are willing to endure it all for a median pay of $36,300 per year.
These occupational realities can have a cumulative effect on job satisfaction and enthusiasm for the nature of the work. To mitigate these effects, strong and effective leadership should be applied through positive employee engagement. Employee engagement is an enhanced connection between an employee, their work and the mission of the organization. Consider the benefits employee engagement has to offer:
- Engaged employees are two times as likely to stay in their jobs. This has a direct impact on turnover rates, training costs and reducing the loss of institutional knowledge.
- Engaged employees are two-and-a-half times more likely to feel like they can make a difference.
- Engaged employees produce higher levels of customer satisfaction.
- Engaged employees are more productive.
- An engaged workforce has fewer formal grievances.