Date of Conferral





Human Services


Barbara Benoliel


AbstractLow employee satisfaction and retention have been identified as major challenges in the American mental health workforce. High turnover rates and the growing demand for direct care workers necessitates further research regarding satisfaction and retention. The purpose of this generic qualitative study was to determine how direct care workers employed by mental health organizations describe what motivates their satisfaction and retention during the COVID-19 pandemic. Herzberg’s theory of job satisfaction was the theoretical framework. Research questions explored job satisfaction and retention among a group of 8 direct care workers. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect participants’ perceptions of their work experiences. Data were analyzed using thematic inductive analysis. Findings from the analysis indicate the importance of intrinsic motivation and the role of extrinsic recognition as key in direct care worker retention. Implications for social change include providing an understanding of job satisfaction and retention of direct care workers to organizational leadership, managers, and trainers in various mental health settings.