In this guide, we’ll discuss eight ways to improve employee loyalty at your company.

Staff Retention: 9 Winning Ways to Improve Employee Loyalty

Most, if not all, nonprofits struggle to retain talent, especially in today’s challenging job market and remote work environment.

Improving employee retention requires an intentional and multifaceted approach. To be successful, your plan must encompass multiple employee touchpoints and a focus on employee engagement strategies.

Employees who feel valued, appreciated, and recognized by their organizations and direct managers are happier with their current situations and more likely to envision a future with their organizations.

The following tips can help boost employee engagement and increase retention:

  1. Redirect your compensation efforts
  2. Focus on career advancement
  3. Provide opportunities for skill development
  4. Understand the pressures on employees
  5. Commit to transparency and clear communication
  6. Emphasize your calling
  7. Celebrate employee success
  8. Invest in employee engagement software
  9. Create a corporate giving program

Improving employee retention is essential for the long-term health and success of your organization. After all, according to Gallup, the cost of replacing an employee can be one-half to two times that employee’s annual salary. Attract top talent and keep them invested in their roles with these key tips.

1. Redirect your compensation efforts

Offering competitive salaries is a challenge for most nonprofits. Frequently, overhead costs must be kept to a minimum, and salary budgets are limited by funding. While replacing employees is costly, many nonprofits simply do not have the resources available to provide increases to pay or pay ranges. Exploring other avenues to address compensation gaps is important.

One approach is to view compensation from a total rewards perspective. Focus on the indirect components of compensation, emphasizing the overall value of the package provided to employees. Indirect compensation includes perks, recognition programs, mental and physical wellness benefits, culture, management styles, and much more.

It is also important to address any inequities in your compensation structure as part of greater diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

2. Focus on career advancement

Another common reason employees leave an organization is a lack of advancement. Often, individuals seek positions elsewhere without fully understanding the developmental paths available with their current employer.

Employees need to feel that they have the ability to move and progress within a company. Meet with your employees to understand their goals and interests. It’s imperative for leadership to communicate about the organization’s plans, how individuals may fit into that plan, and future opportunities that will be provided.

Formalized policies and practices regarding pathways to advancement and promotions are important to retention. A policy of filling open positions from within and laying out a clear process is evidence of commitment to employee growth and development.

3. Provide opportunities for skill development

Furthermore, it’s important to consider various ways of providing opportunities for development. Not all movement needs to be vertical. Lateral moves within an organization can be equally valuable. They allow employees to:

  • Gain greater insight into the organization
  • Develop new areas of expertise
  • Open new doors

Formal training programs are always an option, but they can be expensive and require a significant commitment of time. Leveraging internal expertise to develop new skills and competencies can be an effective and economical way to provide opportunities to develop new skills.

Some common initiatives include lunch and learns, peer mentoring, and preceptorships. This cross-pollination connects people across your organization, building rapport, trust, and camaraderie that deepens their connection to the organization.

4. Understand the pressures on employees

Employees experience stress both in and outside of work. Regardless of the source, the resulting mental fatigue impacts work performance. Society is becoming more in tune and comfortable with discussing and addressing mental illness and stress. Top employers show similar understanding by instituting benefits that help employees better cope.

Examples of employer-provided support include:

  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Generous paid time off
  • Access to mental health services
  • Educational programs that address common life stressors

Providing resources to support personal and family challenges shows your employees that you value them as people. These benefits and programs evidence an organizational commitment to stand by employees through both significant, life-altering events as well as everyday obligations that may cause chronic stress.

5. Commit to transparency and clear communication

Employees need to know how and why decisions are made. Do not allow the rumor mill or employee imaginations to tell your story. Frequent, honest communication undermines the spread of inaccurate information, allows for understanding, and builds trust between leadership and staff.

Communication should be two-way, not just from leadership down. Build a culture where employees not only expect managers to ask for their input but feel comfortable offering their opinions. Find out what your employees think about important topics, including what they like and dislike about working at your organization.

Common mechanisms for gathering employee perceptions and ideas include:

  • Town halls
  • Climate surveys
  • Team meetings
  • One-on-one sessions
  • Stay interviews
  • Exit interviews

Welcome feedback in a positive fashion, as negative responses will only stifle future participation.

Once you have this information, do not sit on it. If you are going to ask for feedback, it is crucial that you take action. If action is not possible, circle back to employees to explain the decision-making process.

6. Emphasize your calling

Typically, the employees that a nonprofit attracts are passionate about the organization’s mission and have a strong desire to serve. Capitalize on this connection to keep your employees excited about being part of your team.

Integrate your values and mission into everything you do – your culture, policies, and initiatives. When your mission is central to serving your constituents it is also critical to how you treat your employees. A consistent reminder of the good that comes from their efforts will inspire and have an impact on employees’ long-term commitment to your organization.

7. Celebrate employee successes

Besides incorporating a total rewards approach to your organization, you should also focus on ways to acknowledge and celebrate your employees’ successes. This should be done on a standard basis to ensure that anyone on your team can give kudos. Some simple ways you can start showing employee appreciation include:

  • Encouraging positive ad hoc feedback during one-on-ones. For direct reports, one-on-one meetings with managers can encourage them to feel more comfortable with communicating and receiving feedback. Facilitate this relationship-building by encouraging middle managers to give kudos to directs. Of course, middle managers should only deliver positive feedback when their directs have earned it, but even recognition for little things can go a long way in making employees feel valued.
  • Promoting peer-to-peer recognition. Create a culture of recognition at your company by making it easy for employees to acknowledge each other for their performance. According to eCardWidget, one effective way to do this is by designing employee recognition eCards that they can personalize. In addition to expressing appreciation, these cards can come in handy for birthdays and personal accomplishments as well.
  • Formalizing recognition with awards. If you see remarkable improvement or performance from an employee, consider formally congratulating them with a superlative award. For instance, you might give a “Biggest Innovator” award to a team member who transformed your team’s workflow for the better, or a “Stewardship Superstar” award to an employee who has built great donor relationships.
  • Instituting rewards for hitting goals. Motivating your team members to achieve goals is a lot easier with a prize for them to cross the finish line. Consider offering goal-based rewards on a monthly or quarterly basis to incentivize high performance and engagement with company-wide initiatives. For example, if your nonprofit reaches its fundraising goal by a specified date, you might reward employees with tickets to a concert.

Each nonprofit is different, so your recognition mechanisms will likely vary depending on your budget, goals, and size. However, these methods are tried-and-true and can do wonders for your staff retention efforts.

8. Invest in employee engagement software

While your personal relationship with employees is a crucial part of boosting their engagement, you shouldn’t take on new initiatives empty-handed. There are many software solutions on the market that can help you take your employee engagement strategies to the next level. Consider investing in the following types of software:

  • Human Resource Management Systems. This software can help you manage employee onboarding, benefits, performance reviews, and feedback systems so you can actively monitor your employees’ well-being.
  • Learning Management Systems (LMS). Offering professional development opportunities shows your investment in your team’s growth, which incentivizes them to stay with your nonprofit in the long term. LMSs provide online training, class management, and progress tracking to facilitate your team’s development.
  • Employee appreciation software. There are many types of software that fall under this category. For instance, eCard software can facilitate ad-hoc recognition, especially between peers. Also, rewards software allows you to assign points to staff members for achieving certain goals and track their progress.
  • Remote work software. Remote work has boomed in popularity because it provides flexibility for your employees and reduces burnout. Plus, most remote work software, such as video conferencing solutions, collaborative document editing platforms, and workflow managers, are user-friendly and cost-effective.

While these solutions are great starting points for your engagement software rollout, they’re far from the only ones available. To pick the best fit for your nonprofit, gauge your current employee engagement tactics and determine whether they could be optimized with software. Then, research the options available and book free demos to see which best fits your needs and budget. Finally, once you’ve picked your ideal product, ensure your team receives robust training so you can hit the ground running with your new platform!

9. Create a corporate giving program

Did you know that 65% of people want to work for companies that prioritize social good? When you create a corporate giving program, you not only help worthy causes but also prove to your employees that your company takes active measures to live up to its values.

There are so many ways to engage your employees through corporate giving, including:

  • Matching gifts. Matching gifts are one of the most popular forms of corporate giving. Companies that offer matching gifts will double—or sometimes even triple—the donations their employees make to their favorite causes. With the help of a matching gift database, your employees can determine their matching gift eligibility and submit matching gift requests to your company. To manage these requests, implement corporate social responsibility (CSR) software. Solutions with matching gift auto-submission capabilities make the process even easier for your employees, so we recommend looking for a CLMA-certified platform to manage your programs.
  • Volunteer grants. Instead of matching donations, companies leveraging volunteer grants contribute to organizations based on the number of hours their employees volunteer with them. For even greater impact, ask your employees which nonprofits they typically volunteer with, and organize a team volunteer outing to support that organization.
  • Fundraising matches. Fundraising matches are similar to matching gifts, but they match the amount of money employees raise through their individual fundraising efforts. For example, an employee may participate in a walkathon for a breast cancer awareness organization and collect pledges for every mile they walk. Then, that employee can report to their company how much money they’ve raised, and the company will contribute that same amount to the nonprofit.
  • Automatic payroll deductions. It doesn’t get much easier to engage employees through corporate giving than with automatic payroll deductions. Employees can simply indicate which nonprofit they’d like to donate to and how much they’d like to contribute each month. Then, your payroll system can automatically set aside those funds and distribute them to your employees’ favorite causes.
  • Annual grant stipends. The concept of annual grant stipends is simple. Companies give their employees a set amount of funds each year for them to contribute to their nonprofits of choice. This type of corporate giving is less common, but it’s an easy way to engage employees in your company’s philanthropic efforts.

When employees feel that they’re not only working for their employer but working with their employer to make the world a better place, they’re more likely to be engaged in their work and stick around.

Wrapping Up

In closing, putting together a retention strategy that addresses your organization’s unique needs can be challenging. It can be helpful to seek guidance from professional HR consultants to identify best practices and help implement change. Whether you decide to seek external assistance or develop your plan in-house, the above tips will point you in the right direction for developing a winning retention plan for your organization.