Working at a nonprofit often means working in a challenging environment. The employees who work directly with clients regularly have stressful days, and many times aren’t paid more than a manager at a retail store. There also tends to be some amount of tunnel vision for administrators, as they focus on fundraisers and programs to help others, but don’t focus on the employees that are necessary to run those programs.
These factors, in addition to several others, add up to a higher employee turnover rate among nonprofits, growing from 16 to 19 percent in the past few years according to the 2016 Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey. This is a costly percentage for nonprofits to cover, as replacing an employee can cost up to four times their salary.
In order to stop this revolving door of employment in their nonprofit organizations, some CEOs are stepping up to rectify the problems that lead to the turnover they’ve come to expect. Here are some tips you can take in order to reduce nonprofit employee turnover.
Improve Work-Life Balance
Beyond trying to compensate employees monetarily for all the hard work they do, which isn’t always possible, it is important to try and compensate in other fashions. One way to do this is by creating a better work-life balance. That means adding wellness programs that can benefit both the body, such as walking clubs or yoga, and the mind, such as book clubs or meditation classes. Offering these classes during work hours gives employees an opportunity to feel healthier and less stressed during the work day, which can make them happier working there in the long run.
Listen to Concerns
This is the most obvious response to employee turnover: Listen to your employee’s concerns and respond to them. Talk to employees at varying levels of the organization and find out their grievances, as it’s likely that many more hold the same ideas. By creating a more personal connection with employees, you are already taking a step in the right direction, and by responding to these concerns to the best of your ability, you can increase overall job satisfaction.
Many employees leave because of personal temporary reasons, such as they aren’t making enough money for their current situation, they want to go back to school, or maybe there is just something going on in their life currently that is impeding work. Whatever the case may be, you should always encourage them to come back and work for you again. That way, once they get out of that situation or finish with school, they can return to the organization with renewed gusto.
Make the Most of Your Benefits
Nonprofits simply don’t have the ability to dole out as many benefits as major corporations, so you have to get creative with how you use them. Instead of hiring for positions outside of the organization, hire from within. It will save you money, the employee will already know the basis of the organization, and employees will work harder to stay with you, knowing that there are opportunities for growth.
Don’t Make Employees Feel at Risk
Budget cuts have a very unfortunate, yet very real effect on nonprofits. A decreasing budget often leads to staffing cuts, which is always difficult. However, the important thing is not to make the employees feel at risk. Making a general plan for staffing cuts creates an incredibly stressful environment as employees are trying to do an already difficult job with the thought of impending unemployment hanging over their head, which can lead to more voluntary turnover. Do the best you can to keep calm, and still improve the work environment as much as possible.
Using these tips, you can decrease employee turnover by improving the work environment, making it a place at which they’ll be proud to stay.
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