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By June 6, 2019No Comments

According to a new nonprofit industry survey, 51 percent of voluntary staff turnovers at nonprofits are because of a lack of upward mobility and/or career growth. The results of the Nonprofit Talent Retention Practices survey conducted by Nonprofit HR also found the average voluntary turnover percentage at nonprofits was 21 percent for respondents.

“It’s clear from the data that most nonprofits have some form of retention practices in place. However, with today’s tight job market, and low unemployment rate, social sector employers will need a thoroughly vetted retention strategy… in order to retain talent they want to keep.” said Lisa Brown Alexander, Nonprofit HR President and CEO and Co-Lead for the firm’s Knowledge Practice Area.

Benefits (48 percent), dissatisfaction with current organizational culture (26 percent), and family issues (25 percent) ranked as other top reasons for voluntary employee departures.

The Nonprofit HR data reflects other trends seen across the United States indicating that nonprofits are not immune to national trends affecting all employers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 3.5 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs every month. That equates to about 2.5 percent of the total workforce. One of the main reasons for these separations is the fact that often the only real way a worker can significantly increase their earnings in the current labor market is to quit their jobs.

And that is probably a smart move for the workforce.

“We’re seeing high worker confidence in their ability to strike out and find a better job opportunity elsewhere,” said Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at job site Glassdoor, in a recent interview with CNBC. “For many, it’s a smart move, as there’s a clear advantage to increasing your earning potential by switching jobs.”

The Nonprofit HR survey also indicates that nonprofits may not be doing all they can do to retain staff. The survey data shows that approximately 81 percent of respondents have no formal retention strategy at all. The data also show that more than half of survey respondents are not tracking retention metrics either.

“An effective tool that nonprofits have at their immediate disposal, but are not taking advantage of, is the ‘stay interview’. This qualitative talent retention tactic is a proven way to gain feedback on the employee experience which allows leadership teams to mitigate dissatisfaction, disengagement, and ultimately departure,” said Alicia R. Schoshinski, Nonprofit HR’s Knowledge Practice Area Co-Lead and Senior HR Business Partner.

Unemployment Benefits Can Still be Owed after a Voluntary Quit

Many employers believe that all employee quits disqualify someone from collecting unemployment benefits, which is not always true. Even separated employees who voluntarily quit can receive unemployment benefits from your organization in certain cases. That’s why it is always important to document all separations – even voluntary ones.

Careful reporting and documentation of voluntary quits is absolutely vital for effective control of unwarranted claims. It cannot be stressed enough that you should document the reasons why an individual says they have quit.

  • If you are unable to obtain a written resignation letter, you should document your conversation with the person about the reasons for leaving including the date and with whom they spoke.
  • If the individual does not provide much information other than quitting for “personal reasons,” it is okay to ask more questions to obtain additional details and information.
  • If you can get them to text or email you with their reasons for leaving, that communication can be saved and used as documentation.

For more information about proper documentation of voluntary quits, click here. 

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