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Retaining Nonprofit Employees Without Offering Higher Salaries

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Retaining Nonprofit Employees Without Offering Higher Salaries

Your nonprofit organization aims to make the world a better, more enriched place – and that is truly inspiring.

Because of high turnover rates, however, organizations are struggling to balance daily workloads with a changing staff. Nonprofit organizations are the third largest employer in the U.S., but struggle to provide a competitive salary, often in understaffed offices facing mountains of paperwork.

It’s important to address your organization’s current climate and implement ways to keep your employees motivated, passionate, and driven to smash goals – without increasing salary.

To better understand how to retain your nonprofit employees, let’s quickly look at some reasons why they might be looking into other career opportunities.

Why Are Nonprofit Employees Leaving Organizations?

As you may have already guessed, unmet salary demands play a role in your employee’s decisions. Other factors that affect nonprofit employee job satisfaction are:

  • Minimal Vacation Time / Days Off
  • Overworked, Underpaid
  • Lack of Recognition
  • Burnout

While the first three situations can be addressed in a variety of ways (telecommuting, intern hiring, office celebrations), burnout can negatively affect productivity AND office culture. An employee no longer motivated can bring down overall office morale, which can be detrimental to your nonprofit organization – especially if your organization focuses on serious emotional matters.

With the right strategies in place, your nonprofit organization can retain employees and keep them passionate about the inspiring work they accomplish. Let’s take a look at a few small ways to make big leaps in retaining your employees.

How To Retain Nonprofit Employees On A Minimal Budget

Offer Telecommuting Opportunities

Many organizations have already begun to offer work-from-home opportunities for employees, even if only one day out of the week.

A day away from the office creates a more relaxed and (more importantly) trusted relationship between you and your employee – and this prevents potential burnout! Taking advantage of telecommuting opportunities maintains work performance, satisfies employees, and offers an incentive to remain within your organization – at no cost to you!

Casual Dress Code

Perhaps your office requires that all employees perform duties in-office for various reasons. No problem!

With a little tinkering of your office’s rules, you can create an atmosphere that is both casual and professional. Casual dress codes in nonprofit organizations can relieve some stress associated with increasing workloads, paperwork, client work, and subject matter.

If your organization consistently meets with clients, government officials, or anybody requiring professional attire, consider loosening the dress code to business casual on days when meetings are light.

Losing the tie and heels won’t lose your organization that big grant, but it might help retain an employee considering other options. Casual dress codes are often code themselves for “not a stuffy office”, which translates to more open dialogues, improved relationships, and an overall better work atmosphere.

Personal Touches

Quick question: would you stay happily employed in an organization that failed to recognize your professional achievements, devotion to the organization, or even your birthday?

Probably not.

Getting to know your employees is not just good office etiquette, it can be the difference between staying within your organization or finding a new job.

Get to know your employees. Are they married? Did they just celebrate an anniversary? What are their personal achievements?

Relationships with management are incredibly important for all nonprofit organizations. After all, half of employees quit their position because of a “bad boss”, according to a 2015 Gallop poll. 

Some managers are reluctant to engage with their teams personally due to legal concerns. You can remain both compliant with nonprofit federal regulations and a stellar boss by incorporating small gestures of thoughtfulness.

Employee recognition is an important part of employee life cycle management and encourages positive workflow. Celebrate milestones and accomplishments with your employees – whether it be with an office party, a plaque, certificate, or other small gesture. This way, your employees know that you respect and appreciate both their work and life accomplishments – and that’s huge.

When considering how to retain your nonprofit employees, consider them individually.

What might each need to remain satisfied and inspired to accomplish goals?

These insights will give your organization a much needed head’s up to keep respected employees when financial circumstances don’t allow for pay increases.

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