6 Ways to Retain the Most

6 Ways to Retain the Most Valuable Employees on Staff at Your Association

In the nonprofit sector, employees are likely looking for more than just good compensation. This means that your association needs to be mission-driven in order to attract and retain talent.

To create a retention strategy centered around your association’s missions, check out the following tips:

1. Think Strategically

Start by revisiting your goals and asking yourself how your staff fit in the big picture.

This should help you draft a strategic plan that defines how each department should contribute to the association’s mission.

You’ll need to review the plan every few years to keep it relevant as your priorities shift.

2. Work on Mission Awareness

Some people believe employees in the nonprofit sector are more aware of the mission because it’s what draws them in the first place.

However, you can’t rely on that. You have to assess the mission awareness and find ways to spread it in the day-to-day experience.

One easy way to assess awareness is to conduct surveys/interviews often. It can also help to gather teams/departments for “visioning” exercises. This way, they feel involved in the planning process.

3. Encourage a Culture of Creativity and Initiative-Taking

A high turnover rate in a nonprofit might indicate that employees were initially motivated for the mission but didn’t get an actual chance to leave an impact.

To tackle this lack of purpose, you should foster a supportive and creative work environment.

Here’s how:

  • Delegate tasks and decisions when possible.
  • Recognize efforts, even if they aren’t successful.
  • Give employees a chance to choose tasks/projects they enjoy.
  • Solicit feedback and accept suggestions.

4. Try Cross-Department Collaboration

Some departments in the association may get to do more mission-centered tasks than others. Maybe they get to see the real-life impact themselves, for instance.

The issue here is that employees who don’t believe their association is effectively achieving its goals are ten times more likely to want to quit.

In that case, job rotations or even cross-department collaborations can help more employees see the impact and feel connected to the mission.

5. Recognize Mission-Centered Efforts

Look for ways to tie your reward and recognition programs to the mission and values, especially in everyday tasks.

This way, you’ll show the staff that the association is genuinely keen on applying the mission.

6. Conduct Exit Interviews and Track Turnover Rates

Despite your best efforts, some employees will still slip through the cracks. The key is to learn from the experience and use it to drive a formal retention strategy.

Conduct exit interviews/surveys and look for patterns that explain what’s causing the disconnection.

It’s also a good idea to calculate the turnover rate and use it as a benchmark. As you implement retention strategies and work on mission awareness, you’ll want to gauge how effective your efforts are and adjust your approaches accordingly.

Keeping staff in a nonprofit association dedicated is hard but not impossible.

It all starts with a clear mission. You’ll then try to keep this mission top of mind when you’re setting job descriptions, assigning workloads, and creating recognition programs.

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