“Large organizations can provide careers. Agencies of
our size can provide only provide jobs.”
This sentiment, heard in various flavours, from
non-profit leaders highlights a critical myth that
holds organizations back from retaining top talent.
Non-profit organizations in Canada, like small businesses, tend
to be relatively flat. Indeed, many non-profits and charities employ
less that 20 staff. With limited upward mobility, there is a percep-tion
that jobs within the sector are a good starting or temporary
stopping ground, places to spend up to a few years, but not desti-nations
that provide fulsome, satisfying careers.
This myth that small, flat organizations cannot provide rich
and robust careers is damaging and costly. It normalizes turnover
instead of challenging leadership to focus on the one sure-fire way
to retain staff, better career management.
Many believe that loyalty and retention hinges on compensa-tion
and title. However, according to Gallup Research, employees
who get the opportunity to continually develop are twice as likely
to say they will spend their career with their organization. New
Canadian research conducted by Challenge Factory in 2017 found
that up to 78 per cent of employees working in small organiza-tions
would remain with their current employer if they could see
a future for their career. Yet managers, unaware of what employees
are really looking for, believe they cannot provide what is needed
to ensure long-term engagement.
It seems there is a bit of a stand-off. Leaders are looking for
evidence that their staff might stay with them for the long-term,
while employees are listening for cues that the organization under-stands
how to help them grow and develop. In the absence of
good, meaningful, future-focused career conversations, each party
is likely to assume the other is not interested in long-term mutual
success. Employers cut back on developing staff (why help them
grow if that’s going to cause them to leave?) and staff start looking
elsewhere (why stay if I have no future here?).
Retain and Gain
EMPLOYEE RETENTION IN THE NON-PROFIT SECTOR
By Lisa Taylor
HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ FEBRUARY 2019 ❚ 47