How to Manage Staff Turnover in Your Nonprofit Organization

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Building a long-term relationship is a key driver of success for your nonprofit organization.

So why do so many nonprofits continue to let their staff walk away in pursuit of more money, more flexible schedules or other professional perks and opportunities?

When experienced people walk out the door, you lose their relationships with donors and volunteers, as well as the investment you made to bring them on board.

Are you doing everything you can to retain high-performing staff and reduce turnover?

When high turnover rates loom, managers should examine ways to increase retention. Be open with your employees in exploring ways you can provide better support, flexible scheduling, the opportunity for growth, and hopefully, remuneration.

Reduce the impact of staff turnover

Staff changes are inevitable, but the related negative effects are not.

What can you do to ensure the turnover impact on your nonprofit organization is minimal?

Follow these suggestions to make sure employee turnover does not hold you back from success.

Open communication

Always be open and transparent with your staff about new hires and employees leaving.

Be honest about the reasons, both good and bad. People will eventually find out the truth; it’s better they hear it from you.

Have policies and procedures in place when staff quit and/or retire to make sure everyone is treated equally and fairly. (Of course, there are different procedures and considerations for terminations.)

Being secretive about staff leaving or new hires will ultimately hurt staff morale and come back to bite you.

Choose user-friendly systems

The time it takes to get new staff up-to-speed on your fundraising solution should be a deciding factor when choosing your system.

New staff should be able to use the system with ease, and a fundraising solution that requires significant training may not be the right one for you.

Staff may come and go, but you must always rest assured that operations will continue as usual.

Use your exit interview as an opportunity

When an employee leaves your nonprofit organization, it is good practice to ask about the reasons behind their decision. And don’t rely on the manager’s report – sometimes employees don’t share the true reason with their manager.

When conducting the exit interview, reassure employees that their comments will remain confidential and will only be used to improve the workplace. Show them their voice will be heard.

If you have a Human Resources (HR) department, they should handle the interview. If, like many nonprofits, your organization is too small for a HR department, then appoint someone with a non-biased opinion to conduct the exit interview.

With a clear picture about why someone has left your nonprofit organization, you can ensure that the same thing won’t happen in the future.

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