Utilizing employee engagement to reduce turnover

February 10, 2014

Utilizing employee engagement to reduce turnover

For many passionate employees, the transition out of the corporate world and into the nonprofit sector provides an avenue to a more meaningful career. For nonprofits to find the right candidate, it is important to highlight the non-financial perks of working for the organization.

Understanding why individuals choose the nonprofit sector
Workers realize that many of their corporate skills are very applicable at a nonprofit organization and they see transition as an opportunity to put their talents to use for a grander cause. The same as with fundraising efforts, it's important that organizations highlight the impact their mission has on the surrounding community. While discussions of advancement and competitive pay may arise, prospective employees are often looking for more than a job opportunity when they interview with a nonprofit.

Employees often find greater job satisfaction with a nonprofit. When they are able to perform their work with a mission in mind they feel more engaged in the company. Improving employee engagement is a growing trend among all employers, and nonprofits have a unique ability to motivate employees through the nature of the work they perform each day.

Working to improve employee retention
It's integral for nonprofits to attract talent that are motivated by the organization's mission. Because pay will not always be competitive and nonprofit jobs come with stress, it requires a certain candidate to be successful in the organization. Turnover is expensive, so finding the best fit the first time can save money down the road. According to "Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey," a study by Nonprofit HR Solutions, staff retention remains a challenge for for nonprofit organizations.

The 2013 study found only 10 percent of surveyed organizations have a formal retention strategy in place. Successful retention requires reviews that gauge the happiness of employees and utilize feedback to create an environment that fosters long-term employment. Engagement has many aspects and organizations can begin with simple tactics such as more social events.

However, utilizing the benefits beyond just a paycheck will remain a key technique. More than 32 percent of nonprofits said that competitive pay was the biggest challenge to employee retention. For cash-strapped nonprofits, increasing salaries can be out of reach. Other solutions to make the work enjoyable and less stressful are necessary. Ensure that employees have the proper resources to complete their tasks and encourage them to be open with management when they feel overwhelmed.

Content presented by First Nonprofit Companies, the leading provider of state unemployment insurance solutions for 501(c)(3) nonprofit employers.


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We first started using First Nonprofit’s Unemployment Savings Program when we were a small startup nonprofit.  We didn’t have an HR department and needed expertise in the event that an unemployment claim was made.  We knew we were eligible to be a reimbursing employer, but weren’t sure how to navigate that process.  They made it easy to set things up, plan for, and then manage claims when they came at a very reasonable cost. The amount of time and stress they’ve saved us dealing with all this has been worth way more than the cost.  We’ve now grown to a large nonprofit and do have an HR department but have no plans to stop using their services.  I highly recommend them to every nonprofit I come into contact with!


Throughout our membership in the Unemployment Savings Program, First Nonprofit understood our demands, community dynamics, and the importance of seamless services; that allowed us to serve our constituents better.

Prevent Blindness America, Chicago, IL

Because INCS advocates for the operating conditions that allow charter public schools to provide high quality public education, partnering with First Nonprofit was an easy decision. First Nonprofit’s unemployment programs provide our member schools two operating elements crucial to their ability to provide high quality public education: savings and budget certainty. Capable, committed teachers are the key to student success. By participating in the unemployment insurance savings plan, charter public schools gain peace of mind and are able to invest more money in their teachers.

Illinois Network of Charter Schools, Chicago, IL

It has been our sincere pleasure to maintain a strong, vibrant business partnership with First Nonprofit. We greatly admire their strong industry knowledge, technical expertise, constant professionalism, knowledgeable and dedicated staff. They are always extremely responsive, personable and provide us with the necessary guidance and recommendations on a numerous variety of employment scenarios.

Thresholds, Chicago, IL

NYCON members who use First Nonprofit’s programs enjoy enduring savings and improved efficiency. Our association knows that success, because from the beginning, we achieved the same great benefits. Great savings, seamless technology, and responsive service. NYCON highly recommends First Nonprofit’s remarkable unemployment solutions.

New York Council of Nonprofits, Albany, NY

Visually Impaired Preschool Services has been a client of First Non-Profit since it was first offered as a benefit of VisionServe Alliance. We completed a thorough evaluation of cash savings to our agency before taking advantage of this wonderful benefit and it has been a very wise decision. Our experience with the processes from accounting to claims have been professional, expeditious and easy.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

Luckily for us, our interactions regarding any issues with staffing has been very minimal! I can say that all other interactions with regards to billing, 941 reporting, etc. have been extremely pleasant, accommodating and easy to work with. Kim Ghanayem is always prompt, professional and friendly. Thank you so much!

Neurologic Music Therapy Services of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ

First Nonprofit has been easy to work with and makes the administrative process easier and smoother. We enjoy working with you.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY