3 reasons employees leave: Retention tips from a new nonprofit HR toolkit

Published on: Jul 17, 2017

A new White House administration means inevitable funding and legal changes for many nonprofit employers. While organizations can’t always control what is changing, or when, they can equip their staffers with tools to stay on top of regulatory shifts that could impact day-to-day operations, while safeguarding themselves from costly legal penalties.


By maintaining up-to-date employee handbooks, tracking key filing deadlines at both the state and federal level, and understanding which new laws apply to them, nonprofits can streamline their HR procedures—saving time and money.

To help nonprofits stay savvy to the latest HR best practices while maintaining compliance, the Unemployment Services Trust (UST) published the 2017 Nonprofit HR Toolkit. Featuring 10 up-to-date guides for nonprofit human resources, this toolkit provides checklists for ensuring compliance, updated data on state and federal minimum wage laws, and practical analysis of the leading variables that influence employee turnover in the nonprofit sector, including hiring strategies, leadership techniques, and training opportunities.

One of the eBooks included, 6 Reasons Nonprofit Employees Quit, highlights the trends that may be tempting your top-performing staff members to keep one foot out the door, as well as tips for retaining them. Some of the leading causes of nonprofit turnover discussed:

  1. You’re hiring the wrong people. Just because a job candidate is a perfect match on paper, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the right fit for your team. Defining and promoting your organizational culture will attract like-minded individuals with similar goals. When recruiting new talent, be explicit about how their role will advance mission objectives, so both of you know whether the work will matter to them.

  2. Employees are stressed out. Stress has a direct statistical correlation to higher rates of turnover, and nearly two-thirds of nonprofit employees say they experience moderate to extreme levels of stress on the job. Look for ways to gather feedback on stress levels, and come up with ways to ameliorate it. That could mean helping spread the workload, finding ways to streamline processes, or simply acknowledging hard work.

  3. Your leaders aren’t leading. Employees want to be heard, and feel that their opinions and personal growth matters. Shifting from “annual” to “regular” conversations between employees and supervisors will help managers better understand and address staff needs before it’s too late. Nonprofit supervisors should set goals for employees that tie to the mission, check in on progress, and solicit feedback on a regular basis.

To learn about the other factors that might be pushing your employees toward the “help wanted” ads, download the UST’s free, just-for-nonprofits 2017 HR Toolkit today.

Jennifer Smith is Marketing Manager at the Unemployment Services Trust, which provides nonprofits with workforce solutions that reduce costs and strengthen missions.

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