Designing incentives for Marine Corps cyber workforce retention
Hernandez, Lucas F.
Johnson, Derek K.
Albright, Thomas L.
Salem, Anita M.
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There is a pervasive national shortage of qualified cyber personnel, both in the Marine Corps and the nation at large. To retain quality cyber personnel, the Marine Corps must identify those factors that cause cyber personnel to separate from active service and explore specific incentives to retain them. This research used Grounded Theory and Design Thinking to explore these challenges. Key findings show the importance of tailoring retention policies across three areas: monetary rewards (money and benefits), non-monetary rewards (duty station preference, geographic stability, educational opportunities), personal needs (development of transferrable skills and external career opportunities, internal career progression, alignment with personal interests and goals, access to technology), and organizational elements (allowance for community uniqueness, engagement of stakeholders in process development, and a healthy command climate with limited bureaucracy). These findings were incorporated into a Design Thinking process that resulted in three prototype solutions to cyber retention. This study demonstrates how the unique characteristics of cyber personnel require tailored incentive packages and improved personnel policies in order to foster employees’ intrinsic motivations to achieve success. The results focus on the Marine Corps, but the underlying motivations should resonate with cyber personnel in any organization.
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