Five Tips for Not-for-Profits in a Tight Labor Market

It's a tough time for any organization looking to hire right now. The unemployment rate in July was at its lowest level since 1969, and all signs indicate that the trend will continue. Baby boomers will also continue to retire, leaving a massive void in the workforce.

A low unemployment rate and high number of open positions up the ante in the talent marketplace. Not-for-profit organizations may want to go on the defensive to ensure they keep their top talent. The old adage, “take care of your own” has real world financial implications: it's much cheaper to retain your existing talent pool rather than enter the highly competitive labor market to find replacements. An inverted compensation curve awaits, and it is not pretty. The following tips may help not-for-profit organizations protect their valuable workforce and increase their employees' job satisfaction in the process.

Tip 1: Take a Look at Pay

One of the key factors in whether an employee starts to look for another job comes down to compensation. A recent Glassdoor survey found that nearly 45 percent of job seekers are looking for better compensation than their current position offers.

Not-for-profit organizations that pay the market rate or better still, more than the market rate, have a greater chance of keeping their key positions from turning over. Organizations that do not know what the market rate is for their top positions should consider getting a compensation review done. With the competition in the market, a less-than-market-rate salary is going to be a big risk factor in workforce continuity. If your organization isn't adapting, it could give your employees a reason to find an organization willing to offer them the pay they seek.

Tip 2: Enhance Your Benefits

Not-for-profits may not have a level playing field when it comes to compensation for a variety of reasons. One of the provisions it can control is its benefits schedule. Consider your holistic offering to employees. Do you offer flexible work schedules? How about additional benefits beyond the standard retirement and health care coverage, such as long-term care insurance for aging parents, and deferred compensation programs for high potential employees? There are a number of steps your organization can take to sweeten the pot when it comes to your benefits offering.

Tip 3: Focus on Development

Another top reason your employees may leave comes down to growth opportunities. Younger employees in particular are looking for a job that enhances their skill set and grows with them. Internal coaching programs can be a cost-effective approach to developing and nurturing the talent of current employees. It won't just be millennials and Generation Z'ers who appreciate the development initiatives — older employees, too, may be looking for opportunities to grow their skills.

Tip 4: Include Everyone in the Mission

One of the biggest advantages not-for-profit organizations can offer is a defined mission. Employees often choose to work at not-for-profits because they want to do work that matters, not just personally but to the community at large. Be sure to communicate with your organization about its impact on the community, its strategy for the future and the opportunities that may be coming its way. Employees who understand their role in the process and how their organization benefits the community it serves, may be less likely to move on. 

Tip 5: Sweat the Small Stuff

When it comes to retention, the "small stuff" matters. Birthdays, service anniversaries, individual achievements and milestones — many employees want to be seen as more than their job title. Simple "thank-yous" and praises for employee efforts can go a long way in making employees feel valued by the organization and their team members.

Bottom Line: Get Moving

In a tight labor market, making mindful changes to your retention strategies is critical. If your organization does not consider how to keep its talent, it might lose some of its staff to an organization that has incorporated some of these tips into its recruitment and retention efforts.

Additionally, investments and strategic adjustments to retention now could pay dividends down the line. They may make your organization more appealing to the next generation of employees, as well as employees testing the waters for new opportunities. For more information, please contact us.

Published on September 19, 2018