Employee engagement is top retention tool at nonprofits

June 20, 2014

Employee engagement is top retention tool at nonprofits

Creating deep passion and maintaining high employee engagement at a nonprofit can be one of the most important aspects of retaining top talent. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy while employees at any company need a competitive salary, workers who decide to join a nonprofit often want more than just a paycheck, and may leave if that doesn't occur. This is particularly true of millennial talent. Regardless of their disciplines or degrees, this generation seeks to find a greater purpose in their professional lives. In order for them to perform at their best, they must believe their job has a positive impact on society.

The conundrum is if young workers truly want to make a meaningful difference and aren't, they will leave the nonprofit for other employment. When the motivation is money, it's easier to stay in a job even if the work is boring, unrewarding or unfulfilling – provided promotions or raises are available. However, when employees want to make a positive influence on a cause and are not given the opportunity to do so they may be easily frustrated and move on.

Engagement begins with listening
That is why careful delegation of duties is so important at a nonprofit. Managers must make sure the right talents are put to work in the right place. However, the shared passion of employees means everyone should be given a voice. At a for-profit company, an employee's passion is more likely related to their position than to the organization itself. At a nonprofit, involvement with the organization can be the primary motivator behind seeking out the job. Any employee, regardless of position, might have wonderful ideas for how the organization can expand and grow, and it is up to the manager to tap into these insights.

While operations can be a hectic at a nonprofit, leaders should take the time to meet with all employees and ask about their vision of the organization. It's important to know where they see themselves in five years, but also where they see the nonprofit in five years. Even if their ideas are not put into practice, employee engagement begins by simply giving them the chance to participate. Nonprofits are most successful when their employees believe in the mission, so leaders must make sure that all workers feel they have an engaging and meaningful impact on the organization.

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

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