As Washington DC nonprofit advisors, we work with many nonprofit organizations in and around the Eastern seaboard on a variety of topics. This includes both financial and organizational management.
One topic that we’ve been watching carefully lately is the topic of employee engagement. Employee engagement leads directly to employee retention, an important aspect of a stable, long-term leadership and development team at any nonprofit organization.
According to the Journal of Accountancy, the number one concern among CPA firms is retaining staff. Turnover rates exceeded 13% in 2015, the last year of the survey, a high percentage caused in part by the strengthening economy. Job seekers can find new opportunities more easily than in past years, which leads to lower retention rates for organizations.
Employee turnover is costly. Every time an employee leaves, nonprofits must spend time and money to recruit, hire, train, and onboard new employees.
Focusing your time and effort on improving employee retention is more than a human resource imperative. As Washington DC nonprofit advisors, we will tell you that it is also an important aspect of nonprofit financial management, helping to keep your costs low and improve the productivity of your organization.
Focus on Employee Engagement
The biggest tip for improving employee retention is to focus on employee engagement. Millennials, the biggest employee cohort currently working in the American market, has a low tolerance for boredom. Because of this, they tend to job hop not out of a sense of disloyalty but disconnection. When boredom strikes, they leave before giving it a chance to dissipate.
You can offset this tendency by encouraging employee and job engagement. Prevent boredom by providing plenty of opportunities for employee growth. Challenge all employees, not just millennials, to take on new responsibilities and projects. Find work that offers expression, insight, and leadership roles so people feel motivated by their work.
What Sets Your Workplace Apart?
Another way in which you can encourage employee engagement is to focus on the positive strengths that your workplace offers. What sets your workplace apart from others?
For nonprofits, the general atmosphere is one usually of positive, mission-driven alignment. The workplace is fueled by a sense of dedication to the mission and motivated by the thought of doing good while making money. Both are powerful concepts that motivate, inspire, and engage people in their work.
Retention Begins with the Hiring Process
Improving employee retention rates begins by improving your hiring process. Ensuring the right people are in the right jobs is the first step.
Evaluate your current hiring process. How are you finding potential employees? What do you look for during the screening process?
This may be a great time to update job descriptions, evaluate new hiring methods, and examine your nonprofits corporate brand. Social media, for example, is a powerful method these days of finding new employees and shoring up your organization’s brand. A strong brand presence brings interested people to your doorstep, so you do not have to work as hard during the hiring process; people are eager to work at your organization.
More Than Workers
Remember that employees are more than workers. As Washington DC nonprofit consultants, we often encounter workplaces that treat lower level employees as commodities rather than individuals.
Your workers are more than cogs in a wheel. They are valuable members of the community and culture that makes up your nonprofit. The more you can embrace their unique strengths and offer the flexibility and challenges that people crave, the greater the improvement in employee retention.
Beck & Company
Beck & Company is an independent certified accounting firm specializing in nonprofit organizations. Since 1987, we have helped many nonprofits in the Washington D.C. area and along the Eastern seaboard with their accounting and financial management needs. We provide audit, tax, accounting, and consulting service that addresses all aspects of a small to mid-sized nonprofit organization’s business. Contact us or call 703-834-0776 x8001.