Schedule a 27-minute call

Employee Retention: Are People Looking for Greener Pastures?

retention Nov 10, 2021

The pandemic opened the door to new ways to do work with flexible work schedules, work at home options, and new ways to get work done. Today more job opportunities are available and employers are on the hunt for qualified candidates. Paired with potential opportunity, many workers also believe there is something else out there for them that can give them more of what they need and desire. It’s the perfect conditions for employee turnover.

Some surveys are showing that between 40 and 95% of workers are considering a move. It’s not just young workers looking for their next career move, but those between 30 and 45 years old have a 20% increase in resignation rates over what occurred in 2020.

One of my clients recently revealed that it would take a set of very unusual circumstances to get her to come back to the office more than once a week. She has gone from an hour commute to zero. That is a precious intangible benefit for many who do the kind of work that can be done remotely.

Even if people aren’t able to work remotely, expectations for a flexible work environment are on the rise. Job stress is increasing as many organizations are understaffed and people are feeling overwhelmed and tired. 

What does that mean for you? How is it impacting your team? What do your people need?

One or two resignations can have a big impact on a nonprofit or small business. If you don’t stay in touch with these changing needs you risk an increase in turnover. Not because you don’t have a great workplace. Not because you aren’t a great leader. It’s because felt needs have significantly changed. 

While this sounds like a new story, it’s really an expanding story. Traditionally, three reasons why employees leave consistently rise to the top and they are still in play in our current environment:

Manager / Work Environment

You’ve heard, “people don’t leave their jobs, they leave their managers.” Now more than ever people need to know their leaders care about them in tangible ways. Leaders who create meaningful connections in a hybrid work environment, make time to show they care, or manage overwhelming workloads are the ones that create a work environment that fosters people’s willingness to stay even when things get tough. 

Career Opportunities

What people tend to want is the opportunity to do what they love every day at work in a role that has the potential for them to do new things that build skills and advance their career. Today that means your team members want to be doing more of what they love, without the commute, minus the burnout while adding in some life flexibility. The pandemic showed a new way to do work and if you want to retain your people it’s worth looking at what “doing the work” will look like going forward.

Pay and Benefits

It’s interesting that even in today’s environment, pay is typically not the #1 reason people leave their job. Working with great people and having great opportunities encourages people to stay >> if the pay is enough. This is good news for nonprofits who run on limited resources and offer salaries that are often less than market averages. Think of ways to keep salaries “enough” and add some intangible benefits that enhance the pay to make the job worth it.

Now is the time to step back and ask what you can do before you lose some of the talented people on your team to opportunities that will nurture their needs better than their role does today.

What can you do?

Research and trends can be helpful as a guide, yet what will retain your people and increase their engagement in your mission is unique to the team. So start by finding out what is important to the people on your team. To gain these insights … 

  1. Conduct exit interviews and track reasons people leave
  2. Provide intentional feedback loops to hear what people are concerned about (or thrilled about).
  3. Ask questions regularly in your 1:1 meetings with team members to know what’s working for them and what’s not
  4. Get creative and brainstorm ways that you can address what you are learning about their engagement and job satisfaction

Tune into future blogs in this series where we will explore a framework to boost retention and find practical ways to hold on to the talent and knowledge offered by your team. Need to get a retention strategy in place sooner? Set up a FREE 30 minute strategy session and we can get started today.

Stay Connected

Get resources, motivation, and leadership support 
delivered straight to your inbox.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.