Employee Retention During Low Nonprofit Unemployment—A Mandatory Focus
Most individuals would be happy to experience a sound economy. Hopefully that sign is a positive one for the nonprofit sector. It is important that everything is in sync, so individuals feel good about giving their time, talent and treasure to organizations of their choice. The challenge of a sound economy is the fact that unemployment might be low. When low nonprofit employment occurs, it hurts when employees resign, because it may take longer than usual to fill positions if you are fortunate enough to do so. Many employees use low unemployment as a leverage within their current jobs. Since the cost of replacing employees is very high, employers must brace themselves for the current new reality.
Forbes points out that the unemployment rate has been staggeringly low throughout the past year. With such a low unemployment rate, workers have options. Employees can quickly bounce from job to job, raising your turnover rate and impacting your bottom line. How can you keep retention high during this time of unemployment in order to avoid trying to find qualified applicants or losing your top talent? According to Forbes, our ways to increase employee retention is to onboard new hires in a sound and productive manner; develop a relationship of mutual respect, as some people quit their bosses, not the job themselves; engage employees; and offer unique opportunities within your organization.
Another Forbes article emphasizes that studies show that around 40% of workers plan to look for a new job within the next six months. There are financial costs to losing employees. Five ways to invest in healthy employee relationships and retain your valued employees are to share responsibility for employee growth, show respect for employees by appreciating them, incorporate revenue sharing or some type of benefit sharing if possible, offer rewards such as company recognition with notes of thanks, and allow for relaxation time by being generous with time off. The energy employees bring to their jobs is far more important regarding the value of their work than the number of hours they work.
This Recruiter article shared a 2015 Gallup Poll that revealed a whopping two thirds of employees are dissatisfied with their jobs. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, make the following strategic actions: celebrate your teams wins, offer creative perks, provide employees with new responsibilities to keep things interesting, keep people informed, plus offer raises and bonuses. Never underestimate the importance of employee happiness. It is imperative that your employees see that you care as a leader.
Kaye/Bassman International notes that great employees are the key to organizational success and constant performance. It is evident that when a middle manager leaves an organization it costs the company up to 100% of their salary to replace them.
Nonprofit HR notes that employee engagement is more important than ever. In the “Top 10 Workplace Trends for 2014” research, 48% of Millennials say they conduct job search activities at work and 73% of workers have no problem looking for new employment before leaving their current employer. Thus, employers must look at organizational culture, compensation, benefits and improved employee engagement to keep employees. A good retention strategy is also a good recruitment strategy. If you establish an organizational reputation as an employer who values their people, you will find that top talent will come to you and save you money on finding them.
In my experience, one key factor to good happiness is your direct report. Unfortunately, I have had poor managers who have not empowered their employees but attempted to use the stick repeatedly instead of the carrot. I have tried as a leader to use the proverb, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” You can make up for some of your organizational shortcomings by being a caring and devoted supervisor.
Care about your employees, know what makes each person tick and seek to get their best performance each day if possible. Motivate them for the mission and take steps to provide proper onboarding, orientation, training and continuous opportunities for their growth and development. Realize that each employee has a realistic life cycle with your organization. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Respect your employees and hopefully they will respect you and seek a long employment tenure with your organization. That fact has never been more important.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.