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Nonprofit Series: How To Reduce Employee Turnover


Hi and welcome to the Nonprofit series, where I will be addressing topics of particular interest to all sorts of nonprofit organizations such as how to select a board, how to engage volunteers, how to reduce turnover and how to understand your mission.

Today we are discussing how to reduce employee turnover. Forbes lists 6 major reasons employees leave (read the article here), and I’d like to focus on two of those today. Reason #3 No Empathy, and #4 No Motivation. To build empathy and positive motivation in your employees, it is essential to understand them and do what you can to personalize their work. Here’s how.

Listen to (and solicit) their goals in a monthly conversation. What do they personally want out of their work? How do the different duties in their jobs affect them? What can you do to positively impact their experience of their work? Is there anything specific they need from you? These questions build empathy, trust and loyalty particularly when part of a regular conversation over time. Make it a point to sit down with your employees once a month and understand how they are experiencing their work.

Identify what motivates them, and give them more of it. As described in the Forbes article, money and benefits are not as effective a motivator as you might think. What makes your employee come alive (what is their source of intrinsic motivation)? What do they love to do in their job? Scaling up those motivation sources and scaling down whatever takes away from motivation can make a big difference.

Take the time to understand them. Invest in team building, and devote time to relationship building with them. Integrating tools like the StrengthsFinder has been found to increase employee engagement, a key indicator in reducing turnover, by 8%. However you choose to do so, taking a personal interest in them, their preferences and desires.

Do you have any tips for increasing employee engagement? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! Join us next week for how to solicit and engage volunteers.


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