Employee retention tips for nonprofit organizations

Employee retention tips for nonprofit organizations

Anyone managing a team during the Great Resignation knows that turnover is increasingly common. There are many reasons for it, with some common ones being:

Low pay and benefits. Nonprofits are usually at a disadvantage when it comes to salary and benefits. Funding and grant requirements can make it hard to invest in these aspects when a fixed percentage of funds needs to be allocated to programs (vs. administrative costs).

Burnout. The WHO defines burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Signs of burnout in employees include low engagement, a short temper, tardiness, or a dip in performance.

Little or no flexibility. Strict work hours or an in-person policy may turn away employees who have to juggle family life and feel constrained by long commutes, the cost of childcare and office life. Especially now that more companies offer remote or hybrid arrangements.

Limited growth or unclear responsibilities. While there may be some leeway in an employee’s job duties, a clear scope of work that tells them what to expect and what’s expected of their role makes it easier for them to perform their job. Similarly, a clear path forward, with room for growth and advancement opportunities, helps your employee see a future within the organization.

The thing is, hiring new staff is expensive. It can cost an average of $4,000 to hire and onboard a new employee. In addition to dealing with the monetary costs of recruiting and onboarding new employees, your team will have the added burden of managing the process, which Toggl estimates to be around 52 days.

So how do you increase retention and foster a fulfilled, engaged environment for your nonprofit staff? Here are 5 strategies you’ll want to keep in mind.

5 ways to increase nonprofit employee retention

Study the job market

A lot goes into play when coming up with salaries at a nonprofit. Grants, donors and government funding may limit the amount you can allocate to your employees’ paychecks.

Still, you can find a middle ground and pay fair wages to those furthering your mission. So study nonprofit and corporate roles similar to the one you’re hiring for to get an accurate view of the current market and start there.

You may also leverage your nonprofit’s unique offers to provide added incentives like childcare, pet-friendly workspaces, meals, or outdoor activities. Think about it — if they’re passionate about the missions, these extra perks will be attractive without adding too many costs.

Focus on recruitment

Retention begins by finding the right fit. Not everyone believes that they need to be deeply passionate about the work they do to do it right. However, when it comes to nonprofit work, you’ll want to bring people on board who believe in your mission and purpose and whose values align with the organization’s. Otherwise, they may discover later that the role is not fulfilling or engaging enough and leave.

Develop an onboarding plan

Your onboarding process is the first step for your new employee’s success in your nonprofit. It makes them feel welcome and gives them the tools to start on the right foot.

Create a welcome pack that includes a welcome letter, financial forms and information (like tax forms, bank details, authorized signatures, etc.), the employee handbook, policies and compliance (especially important in sectors like healthcare and financial), the company knowledge base, your employee’s job description, and tech requirements (like a company-supplied laptop, login credentials, company email account, and any software they need).

Next, introduce them to their team, managers, and direct reports. And craft a role-specific training plan so they can dive into their job feeling prepared.

Outline a path for growth

One of the biggest reasons for turnover is increased demands without the appropriate recognition. Employees like to know that there is room for growth, promotions, and more significant responsibilities.

Similarly, a sense of stagnancy may also frustrate and turn away great employees. So plan to have these conversations once you know there’s a role to fill. And speak to your employee about their aspirations and how they might align with the organization’s possibilities.

Provide professional development

Continuous learning is one of the best benefits you can offer your employees. Organizations, in general, benefit from fostering a culture of learning because it breeds grounds for innovation and progress and keeps your staff interested and on the path to continuous improvement. It also increases satisfaction and boosts human capital in your nonprofit.

As a nonprofit, you may be able to partner with local organizations to offer professional training at reduced costs. So leverage these possibilities to reap the benefits of well-trained staff and encourage them to stay longer.

Retention begins with company culture

Anyone who feels stagnant, frustrated, stunted or under-appreciated is bound to quit their job. Some may stay out of a sense of duty or financial constraints, which puts your nonprofit on shaky grounds.

Instead, you want employees to stay because they feel satisfied and fulfilled in their roles. And your company culture is paramount to achieving these feelings. A workplace that welcomes employees, gives them clear direction and has equitable policies/practices, compensates them fairly for their efforts, creates a sense of inclusion and belonging, and provides room for growth is a healthy environment where staff can thrive and fulfill the nonprofit’s mission to their highest ability.

Book a consultation now to learn more about what your organization can do to serve your employees better and help them reach their full potential.

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