The Real CSI
Retention of Key Employees in the Crime Lab
This case involves a forensic crime lab system that created a two-tiered staffing model as a cost-savings effort while undergoing expansion. An entry-level technician position was created to provide support for the more highly skilled forensic scientist position. After one year the model was deemed a failure: employees left the organization and projected savings were lost. Follow-up interviews revealed that unrealistic expectations of the job, salaries uncompetitive with the private sector and the lack of upward mobility discouraged new employees. A national survey of crime lab directors revealed interventions that help increase scientist retention, including the use of realistic job previews, shadow and internship programs, upgrading positions and salary structure, and linking with universities to create new training programs. The case challenges students to identify creative ways to retain technical staff during dynamic employment cycles.
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