Tag Archives: EmployeeEngagement

Give Your Current Employees the Care and Attention They Need and Deserve

In real estate, you hear talk about whether we are in a “buyer’s” or a “seller’s” market. In a buyer’s market, there is excess inventory. This gives buyers the upper hand. In a seller’s market, it is the opposite. There are not enough homes, a situation that advantages those with something to sell.

It works very much the same in the field of talent acquisition and management. Sometimes, jobs are scarce. This gives organizations great leverage in candidate selection. Other times — today’s reality — it is the candidates who are in short supply. During times like these, organizations need to exert extra effort on identification and retention. They need to think strategically about who they want to employ, always remembering that nonprofits (in particular) need to build and maintain cohesive, capable, committed teams.

Recently, I have written about attracting talented people and hiring smarter. Today, I want to focus on retaining the talent we have.

It is well documented that turnover is the single greatest expense an organization will experience. And yet, most organizations simply do not work to keep the quality people they already have on board.

This is a shame and an unnecessary oversight. An employee who doesn’t leave does not need to be replaced. So, let’s talk about what we can do to ensure employee satisfaction and keep retention strategies top of mind across the organization.

Live to Work or Work to Live

Our post-pandemic world looks very different than what came before. Nowhere is this more evident than regarding employee expectations and concerns.

We recruit staff for clients throughout the United States. The first question most potential candidates ask is, “Is this job remote?” If we say no, the next question is often, “Could it be hybrid?” From there, expectations around in-person attendance become part of the negotiation. That is just one example of the need to meet candidates — and current employees — where they are.

Now, more than ever, organizations need to meet employees’ personal aspirations and priorities. Besides rewarding compensation, great nonprofits offer employees career development, recognition (public or private), and alignment of mission and values. It may seem obvious, but paying close attention to the employee raises employee satisfaction. It keeps your best players on board. Failure to do so risks losing them to the potential for career advancement and recognition at another organization.

The Value of Questions

A fundamental element in building a culture of retention is employee engagement. Managers should question, listen, and negotiate changes as needed. In large shops, you could use surveys. Then, follow-up with regular and frequent one-on-one discussions. Supervisors should use these engagement techniques to increase employee satisfaction and retention.

Here are examples of questions to help uncover what matters to employees…

  • Do you believe our organizational values are consistent with your own?
  • Are there organizational process barriers that prevent you from doing your best work?
  • Do you feel trusted to make meaningful decisions day to day?
  • Do you believe you are fairly compensated for your responsibilities?
  • Do you think leadership and management support you and address our shared responsibilities?
  • Do your responsibilities and work best suit your interests?
  • What can we do to enhance your satisfaction here?
  • What kinds of things do you want in the next stage of your career (e.g., the chance to learn something new; a title change; a different role)?
  • Would you recommend to any of your friends that they come work here?

When employees can respond to these kinds of questions, it helps them feel valued.

Management transparency and truthfulness enhances employee satisfaction. Diligence in following up on concerns and requests increases employee retention. But giving lip service to change is worse than not engaging with employees at all.

Retention is a Core Success Strategy

I am not suggesting that every request from every employee is valid. Yet, I do recommend continual engagement with your best people. In that way, you will learn what they want for themselves and for the organization.

You thought of your employees as high-quality, talented people when you hired them. If you still recognize their value, you ought to treasure them in a way that reflects that.

In this “seller’s market,” treat your employees with integrity. Reward them publicly, with acknowledgement of their value at a staff gathering or board meeting. And privately, in both regular interactions as well as in chance encounters at the proverbial water cooler.

Work diligently to earn and preserve your staff’s loyalty. Then, you will receive their best efforts and retain their services for years to come.