Date of Conferral







Barbara Turner


Employee turnover continues to be an issue in federal organizations, including the Social Security Administration (SSA). While issues such as retiring baby boomers and budget constraints are beyond the control of any agency, retaining employees is critical to maintain essential services. The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to explore SSA employee's lived experiences of job satisfaction and employee turnover to uncover motivators and satisfaction strategies. The conceptual framework for the study was based on Maslow's human needs and Herzberg's two-factor theory. Data were collected from 20 SSA frontline employees using 6 open-ended interview questions. The data were analyzed using a modification of van Kaam's method of analysis of phenomenological data and NVivo 11 Pro. Study results revealed that time, stress, pay and benefits, public service, and interoffice relationships were the prime intrinsic and extrinsic factors participants perceived as directly related to their job satisfaction. They highly valued job enrichment programs, cohesive teams, and pay and benefits, which override daily stressors inherent to the public demands strategies for the agency. Conducting the study in depressed socioeconomic areas might also provide significant insights, particularly since stress and workload were essential dissatisfiers. SSA provides critical services to many vulnerable groups. Strategies that employees perceive as motivating enhance the quality of services and benefits to eligible American citizens, many of whom rely on these services for quality of life, thereby reducing the burden of local communities to support these individuals if SSA services fail.