Nonprofits Respond to Tight Job Market by Focusing on Employee Retention


by Becky Falvey, SHRM-SCP, HR Elements, LLC

Having trouble finding and securing the right talent? So is everyone else. This may be even truer for non-profits, where leaders are hiring for job requirements AND a connection to the organization’s mission. With turnover costly and disruptive, and recruiting more difficult than ever, employee retention is the most effective strategy in today’s ultra-tight labor market.

Retaining your workforce doesn’t have to be a mystery. In a recent Gallup study, employees said what they need most from managers:

  • Job clarity and priorities
  • Ongoing feedback and communication
  • Opportunities to learn and grow
  • Accountability

Despite this, Gallup reports some disheartening statistics:

  • 30% of employees strongly agree that their manager involves them in goal setting
  • 27% strongly agree the feedback they receive helps them do their work better
  • 22% strongly agree their performance is managed in a way that motivates them
  • 19% strongly agree that they talked to their manager about steps to reach their goals

Goal setting wraps around all 4 employee wants. It establishes priorities and expectations, provides a framework for feedback, sets up growth and learning opportunities, and is a natural catalyst for accountability.

To be effective, the goal setting process should be:

Collaborative. Managers work with senior leaders and HR to identify reasonable performance objectives. Employees provide input on personal development and career interests, so that these elements can be incorporated.

Communicated. Managers and employees meet frequently throughout the period, discussing successes, needs, and concerns from both parties.

Connected. Managers and employees clearly see how their goals tie-in to those of others around them, as well as the goals and objectives of the organization. HR ensures tie-in to organizational practices and processes.

Focus on goal setting to deliver the kind of employee experience that increases retention. Win the war on talent by staying out of the fight!

HR Elements provides as needed HR solutions designed for small to mid-sized companies that can’t justify a full-time HR manager or who need additional HR support.