Date of Award

9-3-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering Management

Department

Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Alfred E. Thal, Jr., PhD

Abstract

Employee retention, while always a concern in the workplace, has become a greater challenge for organizations in recent years. Today’s working class has displayed a propensity to change jobs more rapidly than previous generations, exacerbating not only turnover rates but also the costs associated with them (Frankel, 2016). This challenge is especially relevant to the United States Air Force, which has experienced difficulty retaining young officers in recent years. The problems resulting from this voluntary turnover are exceedingly impactful to the military command structure, as senior leaders must work their way up from the lowest ranks. As such, the Air Force stands to benefit largely from research exploring how to mitigate voluntary turnover of officers. This study addressed this issue by gathering data from young officers regarding their onboarding experience with the Air Force. Onboarding, which is the process of “helping new hires adjust to…their new jobs quickly and smoothly,” (Bauer, 2006) has garnered more attention in recent years, and is a topic that warrants more exploration in the military community. In order to better determine onboarding’s relationship with turnover, the onboarding experience was correlated with three key variables, each having research-supported connections to turnover: job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and job embeddedness. Results of this study indicated that both organizational commitment and job embeddedness were significantly correlated with higher quality onboarding. While the correlation with job satisfaction was not significantly supported, data did show connections worthy of future exploration. Implications, limitations, and recommendations for future research are all discussed, with the ultimate conclusion being that onboarding is a valuable tool that can help the U.S. Air Force to mitigate losses due to voluntary turnover.

AFIT Designator

AFIT-ENV-MS-19-S-053

DTIC Accession Number

DTIC Pending

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