Employee Loyalty: The Secret Sauce and Tips Your Organization Needs

How loyal are your employees to your organization? As you consider this question, a few employees might stand out in your mind for their dedication to your nonprofit’s cause or their above-and-beyond contributions to a recent project for your business. But in reality, employee loyalty is a difficult thing to measure and quantify.

That isn’t to say there haven’t been attempts to measure employee loyalty. In 2018, management and consulting firm West Monroe found that 82 percent of employees have a high sense of loyalty to their employers. However, they also found the following:

  • 45% of employees have applied to new jobs after a bad day at work
  • 59% of employees would leave if they got a better offer from another organization
This graphic illustrates the finding that 82 percent of employees feel loyal to their employers.

What does this all mean? Employee loyalty is volatile. Similar to a tropical plant that requires exact amounts of water, careful fertilization, specific stretches of time in the sunlight, and consistent pruning, employee loyalty is something you have to carefully nurture.

One current, large-scale threat to employee loyalty is a new trend called “The Great Resignation.” This refers to the massive amount of turnover the U.S. is currently seeing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.4 million employees quit their jobs in September 2021 alone. And The Great Resignation isn’t likely to end soon. Astron Solutions national director Jennifer Loftus recently discussed this topic with other HR experts in a Cerini and Associates webinar, predicting that The Great Resignation will likely continue for the next two years.

A variety of things could be causing so many people to leave their jobs, including burnout from the pandemic and a realigning of personal priorities. But instead of deciphering the causes of The Great Resignation, your organization should focus on mitigating its effects by increasing long-term loyalty among your employees.

In this article, we’ll give you the information you need to understand what employee loyalty is and how to create it in your workplace. We’ll cover the following:

Are you ready to start taking action to improve your employees’ loyalty to your organization and its work? Let’s jump right in!

This CTA encourages readers to learn more about what Astron Solutions can do to help them grow employee loyalty at their organization.
In this section, we'll walk through some frequently asked questions about employee loyalty.

Employee Loyalty: FAQs

A number of questions can arise when discussing employee loyalty. Let’s tackle a few of these to help you cultivate loyalty among your workers.What is employee loyalty?

Employee loyalty is the idea that employees at your organization are genuinely invested in your organization and its work because they believe in it and want to see it move forward. Loyal employees view your organization as the best place for them to work.Why is employee loyalty important?

Employee loyalty is important because it affects overall employee satisfaction and retention. If an employee is loyal to your organization and is satisfied with their job and compensation, they will be much more likely to continue working at your organization in the long run.What does a loyal employee look like?

There is no comprehensive checklist for determining whether an individual employee is loyal to your organization or not. But loyal employees do have some key qualities, many of which are easy to identify. They come to work on time, complete their work, and participate in company culture. But there are also some characteristics that make a loyal employee stand out from the crowd.

A loyal employee is truly invested in your organization’s work. You may have heard these employees described as “engaged.” They see the bigger picture of your work or mission, instead of just focusing on the day-to-day. This is often reflected in their efforts to improve themselves in their current roles or take advantage of career development opportunities. A loyal employee helps brainstorm ideas that will benefit your organization as a whole and gives honest feedback about their experience because they want to make your organization a better place to work. They also accept final decisions that come from the top and run with them.

Loyal employees also have boundaries. They don’t sacrifice their health, personal endeavors, or time with loved ones for your organization. They take their vacation time, use their sick days, and are better workers because of it.

This graphic identifies some of the characteristics of a loyal employee.

How do you improve employee loyalty?

You can’t improve loyalty at your organization overnight. Much like a relationship with a donor or client, loyalty has to be cultivated over time, and that effort can take many different forms. In the sections below, we’ll give you actionable strategies for improving employee loyalty.

What employee loyalty means and looks like will vary from organization to organization. Loyalty is a complex idea to define and measure, but there are some effective ways to make positive changes in your organization so you can foster loyalty among your workers. It all starts with what we call “the secret sauce.”

In this section, you'll learn about the secret sauce your organization needs to improve employee loyalty.

Employee Loyalty: The Secret Sauce

The reality of employee loyalty is that most organizations try to get their employees to truly care about the organization and their work and end up missing the mark. Why?

Because they aren’t applying the “secret sauce.”

This secret sauce comes from an idea David Turt and Todd Nordstrom shared in a 2019 Forbes article called “The Truth About Employee Loyalty, And 5 Things Every Leader Should Know”:

You, as the leader, can only control your loyalty to them. We’ve personally seen so many managers get wrapped up in trying to ‘fix’ employee behavior. That seems like the job of a boss. But, it’s not. As a leader your job is to focus on what you can do to bring the best out of people. If it’s not working, keep focusing on what you could do differently.

-David Turt and Todd Nordstrom

This is the secret sauce: realizing that you can’t control your employees’ feelings about their jobs or your organization. The only thing within your control is your ability to create a work environment in which employees thrive in their roles, causing them to feel loyal to your organization and you as a leader.

The secret sauce of employee loyalty is realizing you can't control your employees' feelings about their jobs or your organization--you can only control how loyal you are to them!

Organization leaders who realize they can’t force loyalty look at their employees and their organization differently. They see their employees as assets who need to be treated fairly and compensated in a way that communicates appreciation. These employers do everything in their power to ensure employees enjoy their jobs and have opportunities to learn and grow professionally. Then in return, employers like these get the dedication and investment they want to see from loyal employees.

Now that you know about the secret sauce of employee loyalty, you may be wondering what changes you need to make to your approach to apply the secret sauce and create an environment where employee loyalty can grow.

In this section, we'll cover 15 tips you can use to cultivate employee loyalty at your organization.

Employee Loyalty: 15 Tips for Positive Change

What do your employees need from you right now that can help them develop loyalty toward your organization? Check out these 15 tips for creating a workplace that employees will want to stay and thrive in.

Note that some of these tips may need to be modified depending on what your workplace currently looks like during the COVID-19 pandemic. Be sure to follow state and local guidelines and to modify these tips as needed.

In this section, we'll talk about how working with an HR consultant can help you improve employee loyalty at your organization.

1. Work with an HR consultant.

Does your organization have the human resources policies and processes in place to encourage employee engagement and long-term retention? In order for your employees to buy into your organization and its work, you may need to work with an HR consulting firm that can provide an objective third-party evaluation of your current strategies and help you to improve them.

To select an HR consultant for your organization, follow these steps:

This graphic walks through the steps of choosing an HR consultant that your organization can work with to improve employee loyalty.
  1. Define your needs. Identify what you need from an HR consultant. This might include streamlining your performance management process, changing your approach to compensation, or improving how you find and hire job candidates. Your needs will help guide your search for a consultant.
  2. Discuss with key stakeholders. Before you commit to any engagement with a consultant, make sure your team is on board with the idea of hiring outside help. This will be especially important if you’re working with a strict budget.
  3. Outline your guidelines. Set your expectations for working with an HR consultant. Consider the budget you have, the expected start date, and the timeframe for the engagement.
  4. Begin your research. Search the internet for candidates or reach out to professional connections for recommendations. Remember to consider whether or not you’re willing to work with someone remotely and to filter your options accordingly.
  5. Draft an RFP. An RFP, or request for proposal, will detail your organization’s needs and expectations. When you submit an RFP to a consultant, they can use that context to draft a strategy for your organization, which will help you decide whether or not you want to work with them.
  6. Compare the candidates. Once you’ve submitted your RFP to your chosen candidates and received their proposals, review the proposals and candidates with your leadership team.
  7. Make your pick. After researching your top candidate and reviewing their references, reach out to them and start working together.

HR consultants can help you see the blind spots in your strategy for cultivating employee loyalty at your organization and help you determine what you need to change as an employer. Be open to your consultant’s ideas, but don’t be afraid to push back on or workshop the strategies they bring to the table, too.

The second tip for improving employee loyalty is to equip your employees with the best tools for their work.

2. Equip your employees with the best tools for their work.

Do your employees have the best tools available for their roles? For example, an employee might suggest that Slack or Trello could enhance workplace communication and project management. How do you respond? If you’re willing to try it out, this shows your employees that you care about their ideas to improve how they work.


Providing your employees with the best tools can require investing in technology or other resources you may be unfamiliar with. But letting your employees have more of a say in how they complete their work helps communicate your loyalty to them and receive their loyalty in return.


Plus, never underestimate the effect purchasing up-to-date tools and equipment (like new computer monitors or desk chairs) can have on morale!

In this section, we'll talk about how having open conversations about retention can help you with your efforts to improve employee loyalty.

3. Discuss retention openly.

Your efforts to retain your employees don’t have to be a secret. In fact, communicating to your employees that you want them to continue working for you can actually help your retention efforts. This will not only make them feel valued, but will also help both you and your employees speak up about what you need to change or keep doing to continue working together.

One of the best spaces for discussing retention is one-on-one meetings between managers and their direct reports. Because managers are in the best position to get to know their direct reports and be involved in their work, they are also in a great position to discuss potential retention risks. Here are some questions that can help guide managers when talking about retention:

  • What do you like about your job?
  • What do you dislike about your job?
  • Do you feel like your work is meaningful?
  • Do you feel you’re able to develop new skills and take advantage of professional development opportunities in your role?

Questions like these can help you proactively extinguish potential employee turnovers before they even have a chance to spark. You can also use retention surveys to gauge new employees’ first impressions of your organization, reasons that star employees stick around, and why employees leave, all of which can inform your strategy for cultivating employee loyalty.

In this section, we'll explain how total rewards compensation can be helpful when trying to cultivate loyalty among your employees.

4. Take a total rewards approach to compensation.

According to our guide to total rewards compensation, “a total rewards approach to compensation is the most viable method of keeping your employees satisfied, increasing retention rates, and growing your organization sustainably.”

This approach encourages employers to view compensation more holistically, offering not only direct compensation and benefits, but also things like:

  • Scheduling flexibility and PTO usage
  • Performance recognition
  • Career development opportunities such as continuing education courses, professional association memberships, and relicensing or recertification opportunities

A total rewards approach to compensation can help you create the kind of internal culture where employees thrive and want to stay. This will encourage them to strive for constant improvement in their roles, boosting retention and loyalty all around.

Transparency can go a long way in helping your employees feel more loyal to your organization.

5. Be transparent about everything.

Transparency is key to building trust and loyalty with your employees. Transparency ensures that both your and your employees’ expectations are clear and can be met. Whether you’re open about compensation or an upcoming merger, employees will appreciate it when you make an effort to keep them updated and involve them in big-picture organizational moves.

It’s also important to be transparent about the negatives. If your nonprofit loses a major source of funding or a client’s relationship with your company sours, employees will want to know. Instead of scaring them away, you’ll show them that your organization has high ethical standards and wants to collaborate with everyone to improve and move forward.

In this section, we'll discuss how an employee recognition program can have a positive impact on your efforts to grow employee loyalty.

6. Set up an employee recognition program.

According to an Apollo Technical article on employee recognition, an employee who receives recognition for their work is 63% more likely to stay at their current job for the next three to six months. What does this mean for you? Frequent and thoughtful recognition is key for ensuring your employees are happy and productive in their roles, which can increase their feelings of loyalty toward your organization.

Here are a number of ways to recognize your employees:

  • Set up an incentive plan, encouraging individuals or teams to meet certain goals to earn a reward, like a gift card or an extra day of PTO.
  • Write thank-you notes for employees that go above and beyond.
  • Give star employees shoutouts in staff meetings or newsletters.
  • Select an employee of the month and give that employee extra perks for the month, like a reserved parking spot.
  • Throw parties or host special lunches or dinners for teams who go above and beyond.

Remember, employee recognition doesn’t have to break the bank. According to our article on low-cost employee recognition, “the point of employee recognition is to make the employee feel valued by the organization.” No matter your budget, you can find a way to incorporate recognition into your strategy for cultivating employee loyalty.

In this section, we'll explain how management training can have a positive influence on employee loyalty at your organization.

7. Provide management training.

Management training can help your employees—from those in entry-level positions all the way to those in top-level management roles—learn more about how your organization works and what it means to be a good boss. These opportunities can help employees who aspire to be in a management role and provide insight for others interested in learning more about why their boss makes the decisions they do.

Offer management training sessions to your employees in which you discuss how you run your organization and how managers fit into the organization’s hierarchy. Create spaces for open discussions about good management techniques, like active listening and providing feedback, so that both managers and their direct reports can get more out of their relationships with management.

Remember, teaching your employees what it means to be a great manager won’t mean much if you don’t live by what you talk about in training. Actively apply the advice you give in training to show your employees how to put it into action themselves.

In this section, we'll give you some reasons that prioritizing employee health is good for employee loyalty.

8. Promote employee health.

Employees will feel more connected to your organization when your organization promotes healthy ways of living. Why? Because employees want to know that you see them as people, not just parts of an always-working machine. There are a variety of ways you can promote healthy living, including:

  • Offer a mental health stipend.
  • Hold daily or weekly workplace yoga, meditation, or stretching sessions.
  • Keep your breakroom stocked with fresh fruits, vegetables, and caffeine-free beverages.
  • Encourage teams to take walking meetings.
  • Enter teams of interested employees in fun runs or walk-a-thons.
  • Install standing or cycling desks.
  • Invite a sleep expert to present to your employees about getting the rest they need.
  • Host challenges to see which department can walk the most steps or drink the recommended amount of water every day for a certain period of time.

Show your employees that you care about them and their well-being by incorporating more health initiatives into their day-to-day tasks. They’ll be more satisfied and happy with their jobs, as they’ll feel like your organization is a place where they can both develop professionally and maintain or improve their mental, physical, and emotional health.

In this section, we'll show you how faciliating social events can help you cultivate employee loyalty.

9. Facilitate social events.

Employees need friends at work to enjoy their jobs and want to stay with your organization. To create an environment where friendships can grow, host social events. These events can be big or small. For example, you might organize an after-work happy hour, take the office out for lunch, host a holiday party, or even set up an employee trip to an amusement park.

Ask your employees for suggestions and be sure to listen. They’ll let you know what social opportunities are the best fit for them, and they’ll love the chance to meet people from other departments and develop memories outside of their day-to-day work with each other.

In this section, we'll walk you through how career development opportunities can have an impact on employee loyalty.

10. Provide career development opportunities.

Another great way to increase your employees’ loyalty to your organization is to offer them career development opportunities. Career development opportunities are likely already part of your organization’s talent management process. But also thinking about them as something that employees want and need to feel more invested in their work can help your efforts to increase loyalty.

Here are some popular opportunities you can offer your employees:

This graphic illustrates the many career development opportunities you can offer your employees that will help you grow employee loyalty at your organization.
  • Stretch Assignments: These are out-of-the-ordinary assignments that require employees to learn and develop a new skill.
  • Cross-Functional Teamwork: This gives employees the opportunity to work with a team or department they usually don’t get to interact with in the scope of their daily duties.
  • Continuing Ed Courses: Continuing education courses, especially those that offer continuing education credits, can give your employees the chance to learn from experts in their field.
  • Recertification/Relicensing Opportunities: If your industry requires employees to recertify or relicense, your organization can provide study materials and pay for the relicensing exams to encourage employees to keep their skills sharp.
  • Conferences and Webinars: Provide your employees with opportunities to network and mingle with people in their field, allowing them to develop professional relationships and keep up with new industry knowledge.
  • Association Memberships: Associations create a community of professionals within the same field and provide opportunities like networking, conferences, workshops, and social events to help your employees grow their professional networks.
  • Management Training: In-house management training can help your employees develop a stronger understanding of how your organization works, how they can get the most out of their relationships with their managers, and how they can work toward a management position.

No matter where your employees are in their professional lives, it’s always a good idea to promote continuous learning and improvement. Providing career development opportunities like these can help you develop a great reputation with your employees as you encourage them to learn and grow within your organization.

In this section, we'll explore how championing diversity and inclusion can help you with your efforts to improve employee loyalty.

11. Focus on diversity and inclusion.

According to Glassdoor, 76% of employees and job seekers report that diversity is an important factor when they evaluate companies and jobs. Work with your organization’s top leaders to evaluate your Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts. You might need to take action to adopt fairer hiring practices or to revise your compensation approach.

Remember, it’s not enough to just talk about DEI. Your employees want to see you making real, positive changes in the workplace.

In this section, we'll look at how empowering employees to give back to their communities can boost employee loyalty.

12. Empower employees to give back.

Employees love to see opportunities from their employers to give back to the community. Opportunities to donate or volunteer enrich employees’ lives, and they also boost your reputation in your local area. Here are some opportunities you might consider offering:

This is a clipboard image that notes three ways you can empower your employees to give back to the community: donation matching, volunteer grants, and corporate volunteer days.
  • Donation Matching: One of the most popular ways for employees to give back is to donate to causes they care about. Try offering gift matching to help employees increase their donations’ impact. To learn more about the good that gift matching can do, check out 360MatchPro’s article on corporate giving and philanthropy.
  • Volunteer Grants: Volunteer grants are donations organizations make to nonprofits where their employees regularly volunteer. These grants encourage employees to volunteer more and can be a great boon to nonprofits.
  • Corporate Volunteer Days: When you organize a corporate volunteer day, you’re arranging for all of your employees to participate in a nonprofit’s cause for the day. Whether you’re building a new playground or tutoring school kids, your employees will find fulfillment in lending a helping hand on these designated days.

If giving back is something that your organization values, providing opportunities for employees to do the same communicates to them that your organization is consistent and has a genuine desire to do good. As you look for ways to help your employees make a difference in your community, you’ll likely notice an increase in dedication to your organization.

In this section, we make the case for showing appreciation for the little things in the name of employee loyalty.

13. Show appreciation for the little things.

When it comes to recognizing your employees or communicating how appreciated they are, remember to thank them for the little things. An employee might clean the coffee pot, water the office plants, or take notes in a meeting without being asked. Be sure to tell them “thank you.” Those two words can go a long way in making your employee feel like they belong at your organization.

Another great way to bolster employee loyalty is to change up the routine for your workers.

14. Change up the routine.

Sometimes the best thing you can do for your employees is to shake things up. A change in routine can be a lot of fun, relieve stress, and reset your team to be more productive. Try out one of these ideas:

  • Hosting a work retreat
  • Surprising your employees with catered breakfast or lunch
  • Bringing in therapy dogs for employees to interact with for an afternoon
  • Hosting meetings in different locations, like outside of your office building
  • Switching out office chairs for exercise balls for a day

Monotony can turn into a retention risk. By demonstrating that your organization works hard to make each day fresh and new, you can make a positive impression on your employees.

When you put forth a real effort to listen to your employees' feedback, you'll notice employee loyalty getting stronger.

15. Listen to your employees’ feedback.

To feel invested in their work and loyal to your organization, employees need to know that when they give their managers feedback, suggestions, or ideas, they are being heard. Surveys are a great tool for getting feedback from your employees. When employees can remain anonymous, there’s less pressure to keep their ideas to themselves and more encouragement to share what’s on their minds.

To learn more about surveys and to choose survey questions that will help you get actionable feedback, we suggest working with an HR consultant. A consultant can help you design a survey, administer it, understand the survey responses, and implement positive changes to make your organization a better place to work.

In this section, we'll wrap up this post on employee loyalty and point you toward useful additional resources for learning more.

Wrapping Up

Employee loyalty is complex, and your employees’ feelings about your organization can change on a regular basis. However, when you apply the “secret sauce” and work to demonstrate your loyalty to your employees by applying the tips we’ve discussed in this article, you’ll start to see more dedication to and investment in your organization’s work.

To get expert help with your efforts to cultivate employee loyalty, reach out to an HR consulting firm like Astron Solutions. Astron Solutions can provide you with the services and solutions you need to improve your employer brand and keep your organization moving forward.

Interested in learning more? Check out these additional resources:

This CTA encourages readers to learn more about Astron Solutions' services and solutions for employee loyalty.

Employee Retention: Best Practices & 7 Key Steps for 2022

Employee Retention: Best Practices & 7 Key Steps for 2022

Employee retention has never been as great a concern for employers as it is today.

Although retaining your talent has always been an important investment of time and resources, the unprecedented external conditions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic have only amplified the challenges of retaining talent and highlighted the need to look at retention with a critical eye. If you want to improve your organization’s employee retention efforts, knowing how and where to get started is key.

How can you best position your organization to engage and retain employees in 2022 and beyond?

This guide will cover the essentials and our recommended steps for building a well-developed retention strategy.

Table of Contents

RealHR Solutions can help you analyze and address your employee retention issues.

We begin with definitions of employee retention, churn, and how to calculate your retention rate.

Defining the Essentials: What is employee retention?

Employee retention refers to an organization’s ability to retain its employees over time and minimize employee turnover, whether voluntary or involuntary.

Your employee retention rate, which compares the number of retained employees at the start of a specific time period to how many of those original employees are still there at the end of the period, can be calculated with this formula:

(# of individual employees who remained employed for entire measurement period

# of employees at start of measurement period)

x 100

Calculating the turnover rate will complement the retention rate by showing the percentage of separations in the same period. Turnover rate is often defined as the number of separations divided by the average number of employees during that same time period, and it can be calculated as follows:

(# of separations during the measurement period

average # of employees during the measurement period)

x 100

Best practice would be to track on an annual basis your organization’s retention rate and turnover rate, and the reasons behind them, so that you can accurately measure progress as part of your retention plan.

These employee retention strategies can help you cover your bases.

Employee Retention Strategies: 5 Key Areas to Prioritize

What elements of an organization’s operations contribute to retention? What specific strategies can you use to deepen relationships with employees and reduce turnover? We break them down into five key categories:

Retention strategies: recruitment and onboarding

1. Recruitment and Onboarding

Hiring and onboarding practices are your first opportunities to set the tone for your relationships with new employees, so they play an immediate role in driving retention.

  • Review and improve your employee recruitment, hiring, and onboarding practices to provide enriching experiences. New hires should feel that your organization is thoughtful, welcoming, and caring.
  • Eliminate bias from your recruiting process.
  • Live your values through the recruiting, hiring, and onboarding process to allow candidates to experience your organization and its culture.
  • Offer new hires opportunities to build relationships with colleagues through planned meetings and structured coaching or mentorships.
  • Ensure that training is available and that the content is relevant and helps new hires get up to speed as quickly as is possible.
Retention strategies: employee compensation

2. Employee Compensation

There is much discussion around the role of compensation in shaping the employer-employee relationship and impacting retention. While intangibles like your culture, management philosophy, and an immediate supervisor’s management style have an increasingly large impact on retention, compensation and benefits still also play important roles.

  • Offer salaries and wages at rates as competitive as possible for your organization.
  • Take a total rewards approach to compensation. This entails breaking compensation down into its direct components (salaries and bonuses) and indirect components (benefits, culture, work-life flexibility, management styles, etc.) so that you can take a more holistic view of your strategy as a whole.
  • Ensure pay equity across your organization. Work with compensation experts as needed to conduct pay equity audits, benchmark your strategies, and develop other compensation improvements. Show employees the steps you are taking to review, adjust, and manage your compensation strategies over time.
  • Help employees understand the steps you are taking over time to review, adjust, and manage your compensation strategies. Consider whether compensation will be tied to performance. This can be determined based on a number of factors.
  • Offer benefits packages that meet the needs of your employees, offer flexibility, and provide the greatest value, while at the same time watching employer and employee costs. Consider flexible spending accounts to meet the needs of the greatest number of employees.
  • Set reasonable expectations around workload and hours. Consider offering benefits related to mental health and/or PTO for personal days.
Retention strategies: employee development

3. Employee Growth, Engagement, and Recognition

A high percentage of employees report feeling dissatisfied with the development opportunities offered by their employers, but learning and development, engagement, and recognition are critically important for long-term retention.

  • Genuinely recognize and express appreciation for employee accomplishments. Consider creating systems for leadership and peers to submit “bravos,” offering spot bonuses or prizes for major contributions, and building in recognition as an ongoing part of employee-manager conversations.
  • Offer learning and development opportunities, and regularly discuss career growth with employees. Only 29% of organizations have concrete development plans in place, but 68% of workers are willing to retrain and learn new skills.
  • Set individualized goals and plans of action during your performance management process, and support employees with the tools they need to achieve them.
Retention strategies: culture

4. Company Culture

Your organization’s culture and the workplace environment you foster can play major roles in employee engagement, well-being, and ultimately retention.

  • Actively foster a flexible, diverse, and inclusive culture. Encourage employees to get to know one another and understand each other’s roles and responsibilities.
  • Create open lines of communication across the organization. Provide transparency into the reasoning behind leadership decisions that impact employees.
  • Develop and communicate your diversity management efforts to reflect your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and to creating a culture of respect, equity, and belonging.
  • Offer flexible work arrangements to whatever degree you are able. The ability to work remotely full-time or on a hybrid schedule has become a significant driver for many employees seeking new jobs.
Retention strategies: organization and management

5. Organization and Management

How your organization structures its teams and manages employees can also directly impact its ability to retain talent. These elements should be periodically reviewed to ensure they are still delivering maximum value for the organization and employees.

  • Keep job descriptions up to date to accurately reflect your organization’s positions
  • Consider broadening your concept of employees’ roles by creating a matrix model that taps into employees’ skills rather than the jobs themselves. This has many advantages—it offers greater flexibility and learning opportunities to the employees and also provides many benefits to the employer.
  • Empower managers by offering the training needed to support your organization’s retention plan.
  • Emphasize goal-setting across all levels of your organization. Communicate organizational, team, and individual goals, track your progress, and celebrate wins.
  • Consider conducting an HR Assessment to review and evaluate the ways in which your HR practices may (or may not) be supporting your retention goals.
RealHR Solutions can help you analyze and address your employee retention issues.
This section explores how to improve your employee retention rate.

How to Improve Employee Retention: 7 Steps

To begin strategically improving your employee retention rate, we recommend following these core steps:

Follow these steps to begin improving your retention rate in a systematic way.
  1. Calculate your current employee retention rate.
    • This will give you a starting point on which to build your plan. Refer back to the top of this article to review the retention formula.
  2. Analyze and benchmark your retention data.
    • Review the current state of your retention efforts. For example, who specifically is leaving? Do most employees who resign do so within a particular amount of time/common tenure? When you conduct exit interviews, an important tool for understanding and managing retention, what if any trends emerge in their reasons for leaving?
    • Consider working with an HR consultant to benchmark your own retention data against that of other organizations in your industry.
  3. Conduct an employee retention survey.
    • Work with your team and/or an HR consultant to create and administer an employee survey asking questions related to retention. Do employees feel engaged at work? Do they understand why certain decisions are made? Do they feel fairly compensated?
    • Next, review survey results. Do employee survey responses reveal particular areas that seem to be driving turnover? For instance, you may identify compensation, inclusion, and career development as key pain points for your employees. These areas of focus will anchor your strategy going forward.
  4. Audit your current practices in relevant areas. 
    • Conduct in-depth audits of your practices in the areas of focus that you identified. Consultants and other specialized partners can conduct thorough, impartial audits of your HR practices, compensation strategies, diversity initiatives, and more.
    • Use your employee survey data to help inform areas of focus for your audit.
    • The results of an effective audit will point you towards specific gaps and shortcomings that can be addressed to drive stronger retention results.
  5. Set employee retention goals.
    • Based on exit interviews, the employee survey, and the results of your audit, set your employee retention goals and create a plan for accomplishing your goals. Plan for incremental changes to your retention rate and build in various deadlines to evaluate success. This will include creating improvement plans.
  6. Develop improvement roadmaps and assign ownership.
    • Lay out plans for addressing the identified issues. Outline specific changes, how they will be developed and implemented, who will own which elements of the plan, timeframes, and any other necessary details.
    • Make sure that involved team members understand why and how their help will support the broader retention plan and goal.
  7. Actively track and review progress.
    • Regularly check in with your teams as they progress through the improvement roadmaps. Have a plan in place for measuring the impact of all individual improvements and the broader retention initiative as a whole. As the pieces of your plan come together, remember to recognize and celebrate your teams’ achievements!
Why does employee retention matter so much for organizations?

Why does employee retention matter?

There are a number of reasons why employee retention should be a priority for your organization. An effective retention strategy will result in:

  • Reduced turnover and associated costs.
    • Turnover drains your organization of talent, institutional knowledge, and money. Gartner estimates that a single departing employee costs an average organization $18,591, with recruiting and onboarding being costly expenditures of your organization’s time and resources.
  • Increased engagement and employee growth over time.
    • When employees stay engaged with your organization, they are more likely to grow into new roles, contribute to your culture, and drive greater results for your business.
  • An improved employer brand, which can help with recruitment.
    • Being known as an organization whose employees enjoy their work and stick around for the long-term is a major asset and can create a helpful flywheel effect in which your employee-focused brand helps attract and retain top talent over time.
  • Overall improvements to your bottomline.
    • Taken together, the benefits listed above result in better overall financial health and resilience for your organization. Money saved by reducing turnover can be more effectively allocated to push the business forward and drive even higher retention.
The Great Resignation is reshaping the labor landscape and how businesses think about retention.

Employee Retention and the Great Resignation

It is difficult to ignore the massive impacts of what has been termed the “Great Resignation” on employee retention. This unprecedented surge in voluntary turnover is reshaping the U.S. labor landscape. A record 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August of 2021, followed by 4.4 million in September.

The pandemic’s immediate effects have in part catalyzed this turnover increase. However, it is crucial to note that the Great Resignation seems to be driven by a complex mix of economic, social, political, and demographic forces, not all of which are directly attributable to the pandemic:

  • Rising wages and employee expectations. Salaries and wages have been rising. Coupled with the current impact of inflation on take-home pay and the general atmosphere of the labor environment, many workers are looking for more flexible and higher-paying jobs.
  • Pandemic burnout. The pandemic has been a difficult time for employees, especially frontline workers and those whose work could not easily be taken online. Many employees are reevaluating their personal and professional priorities and are exploring new career options.
  • A perceived labor shortage driving competition for talent. With 10.4 million job openings recorded at the start of October 2021, recruitment is currently a challenge. This is for a complex range of reasons, but a perceived labor shortage is driving employers to compete more aggressively for talent.
  • Socioeconomic and educational factors. The Great Resignation has revealed what some consider to be another emerging labor crisis in the United States: gaps in workers’ technological skills that are necessary for many jobs in a digital economy. High and rising costs of higher education will likely exacerbate this issue over time.
  • Generational factors. Older workers are retiring at rates higher initially predicted at the start of the pandemic, meaning many organizations have experienced high turnover among Baby Boomer employees. However, younger employees report feeling the most unengaged, unappreciated, and underpaid at work, where they may meet structures and management styles that were not developed with them in mind.

Additionally, the Employee Retention Tax Credit that was instituted to help struggling businesses retain employees in 2020, has ended earlier than expected with the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Organizations taking advantage of this credit may now face additional challenges making up for the lost support.

Clearly, the Great Resignation is complex. The factors listed above mean that retaining employees is more important than ever before for the immediate and long-term health of organizations today.

Want to take a deeper dive? How can organizations respond to the Great Resignation? What actions can HR leaders take to more effectively manage change in a turbulent environment? Jill Krumholz, Co-Owner and Managing Director here at RealHR Solutions, discusses the topic with our friends Jennifer Loftus of Astron Solutions and Ken Cerini of Cerini & Associates in this free webinar:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=IYD-ovBzDB0%3Ffeature%3Doembed

Wrapping Up

Employee retention is driven by a complex range of factors but has never been as important for organizations, in all sectors and of all sizes, as it is today. Understanding these factors, the current labor landscape, and how it all comes into play in the unique context of your own organization are important and also can be very challenging.

HR experts can be invaluable partners as you work to improve your employee retention rate. RealHR Solutions is a leading provider of HR consultation and outsourced services. Our experience spans a wide set of HR practices that impact retention, including recruitment, employee coaching, compensation and benefits planning, and more. We can help your organization develop a comprehensive retention plan of action or dig deeper into the specific areas that need improvement through benchmarking and HR assessments.

Get in touch today to discuss your organization’s retention goals and needs. We will be happy to help!

And to learn more about driving results for your business through strategic internal improvements, keep exploring with these resources:

Need help understanding and improving your employee retention rate? RealHR Solutions can help.
RELATED ARTICLES

Pay Equity Audit: Results and Implementation
Response to the Great Resignation
Employee Coaching: Complete Overview and How-To Guide

Protecting Your Nonprofit from Cyber Threats

By Michael Fleischer

Senior Vice President, SterlingRisk

The cyber-attacks that make headlines are often aimed at large corporations and financial institutions with household names. The sad truth, however, is that no one is safe from cyber activity, including today’s nonprofit. In fact, a growing number of charitable organizations that engage in online fundraising and giving campaigns have discovered the hard way that cyber criminals don’t discriminate when targeting victims.

While ransomware and phishing pose a growing threat to all organizations, the following tips can help protect your agency or association from cyber-attacks, cybercrime, and online fraud.

Plan for Worst Case Scenarios

If someone orchestrates a cyber-attack against your nonprofit, it is important to be able to respond quickly. All organizations should have cyber protocols and testing in place. You should be systematically testing your business for cyber weaknesses and entry points, and if a hack or mistake shuts down a vital system, have a plan B. Find a workaround that allows you to keep as much of your business running as possible.

Assess Your Vulnerabilities

You might not always know the risks you and your employees are taking. Bringing in an independent contractor to audit your technology systems and processes is one way to get ahead of those risks. A contractor can uncover hidden dangers such as unpatched software, insecure processes, or compromised systems.

Be Mindful of Emails

Research has found that more than 90 percent of detected malware arrived via email. This is due to the number of ways email can be manipulated.

An employee might receive a seemingly innocent email attachment, only to discover it carries malicious software, known as malware. This malware could take down a single computer or your entire network. Emails can also contain links leading users to websites that automatically download malicious code onto their computers. This type of code cannot always be prevented using traditional antivirus software alone. If an employee’s email account gets broken into, a hacker can pose as a trusted sender and dupe you into sharing valuable information.

Train Your Employees to Detect Threats

Another reason email is such an effective way into an organization is that employees don’t always know what to look for and are not fully aware of the risks they are taking when they check their messages.

Phishing emails, which are messages sent by someone posing as a reputable sender, often have small details changed or contain odd phrasing. With good training, employees will know to ask questions, double-check procedures, and verify requests via other sources. One effective technique is to send test emails that can track whether employees click links or follow a direction contained in a message. If they do, then the system can display educational materials or you can follow up to make sure they understand their mistake.

Require Strong Procedures for Payments

When COVID-19 first emerged, many of the usual processes and procedures had to be reimagined. This created new opportunities for invoice fraud.

For example, after COVID-19 started, businesses and nonprofits saw an increased number of invoices sent via spoofed, disguised, or hacked email addresses. Cyber attackers who spent time observing workers were able to imitate language and processes perfectly. Due to this, it is recommended that employees be skeptical of all invoices and to have client, vendor, and bank phone numbers readily available in order to easily verify any payment or bank charge.

Use Strong Passwords

Passwords should be complex, but they don’t need to be hard to remember. Rather than pasting your passwords into a spreadsheet or writing them down, consider using a password manager with strong encryption. Password managers can assist with password protection, giving the ability to store encrypted passwords for multiple sites in a secure vault. These high-tech tools can keep hundreds of passwords safe and are easy to use.

While no system is foolproof, following the above cyber tips will go a long way towards safeguarding your nonprofit. If you experience any unusual requests or think you might be a victim of fraud, contact me at mfleischer@sterlingrisk.com or call me directly at 516-719-8759.

Michael Fleischer is Senior Vice President at SterlingRisk, one of the nation’s largest privately held insurance brokers. He brings over 35 years of insurance and risk management experience to his clients at SterlingRisk. Michael’s understanding of cyber insurance, claims, risk management, complex coverage issues, and carrier relationships enables him to develop and implement complete and comprehensive solutions to his clients’ exposures. To learn more about SterlingRisk, visit www.sterlingrisk.com.

2022 Nonprofit Trend Report Overview

2022 Nonprofit Trend Report Overview

As we move deeper into 2022, many of the issues that have impacted the sector in 2020 and 2021 continue to affect us in 2022. The Covid pandemic doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon, Nonprofits are faced with the Great Resignation, supply shortages, cyber security threats, and lack of funding. If Nonprofits are fully aware of the issues they are facing they can hopefully get ahead of them and make the most of 2022.

IMPACT OF COVID:

The Coronavirus continues to take a center stage and it will for most, if not all of 2022.

  • Change in WorkForce: 55% of all employees want a hybrid work model, it is what they have become accustomed to over the last 2 years, so nonprofits need to relook at their structure to determine if this is possible and how they can continue to ensure that these employees are effective remote.
  • Vaccination/Mask Policies: Organizations will need to continue to monitor the ever-changing regulatory environment and remain compliant as employees’ and constituents’ safety remain a top priority.
  • Start and Stop of services: We expect there to continue to be the need to be flexible to ensure that everyone is able to pivot at a moment’s notice, especially after we all just witnessed the aggressive nature of the omicron variant. We are predicting to see more of a return of services to pre-pandemic levels by the 3rd or 4th quarter.

THE GREAT RESIGNATION:

19 million US workers quit their job between April and September 2021. Causing remaining team members to be carrying more responsibility than they were in the past. To combat this and retain employees we must look at multiple things:

  • Developing Strong Leadership: Employees are not as connected to an organization as they once were, they are instead connected to their team and leadership. It is important to look at your leaders and ensure that they are working effectively with their teams.
  • Flexible work schedule: People’s priorities have shifted to more of a focus on work-life balance, family, travel, etc.
  • Prioritize your people: Employees are looking for added benefits and a priority on mental health.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: This needs to be more than policies, it should be part of your organizational DNA.
  • Increased Salaries: Nonprofits can expect to have to provide raises of at least 3-6%.

FUNDING:

Nonprofits need to develop budgets and contingency budgets, being ready to react quickly. CARES Act funding has dried up and with inflation, organizations should expect a potential rise in cost. Plus, with volunteerism down 66%, those services you once had volunteers for, may now require you to hire staff for. As a result, it is increasingly important to relook at your fundraising strategy:

  • Using SMS marketing strategy as opposed to email, we are seeing text messages have a 99% open rate, while emails have a 33% rate.
  • Make your website mobile-friendly, we are all spending more and more time on our phones and less and less on our computers. You need to work to ensure that people can easily make donations from their phones.
  • Make it easy for people to donate with apps like PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.
  • We will see a continued rise in Crypto Currency donations. Last year, on giving Tuesday $2.4 million in crypto was donated, which is 583% more than the previous year’s Giving Tuesday. Don’t miss out make sure you are set up to receive crypto donations.
  • Be personal. Don’t just reach out for end of year giving, form meaningful relationships with your donor’s and increase monthly giving.
  • Make asks relatable. People want to have an idea of what impact their money is making (examples: a book in the hand of a child, housing for a month, etc.).
  • Expect technology to continue to play a big role in events going forward. Have streaming options and text communications throughout your event to make sure everyone can be a part of it.

CYBER SECURITY:

We are all seeing an increase in Cybersecurity issues. According to the Institute for Critical Infrasturuce Technology, 50% of nonprofits have experienced a ransomware attack. In order to protect the data of your volunteers, constituents, and donors it is important to take these threats seriously. Nonprofits should look at options for cybersecurity training to ensure their employees are aware of what to look for and how to avoid these threats.

WORKSPACE TRENDS:

In the last 2 years we have seen a shift in how we use our space, clean our spaces, capacity of space, etc.

  • Space will need to be more malleable to meet the changing needs of the organization on a day-to-day basis.
  • Re-evaluate office space, on average, office space cost $5,000 per person per year. Relook at your space … do you need it all? Can you renegotiate your lease to downsize?
  • With hybrid schedules office staff is constantly rotating and people will most likely not have permanent desks anymore, this will increase the need for disinfection and will require more durable furniture.

With us being a little more than a month into 2022, we see things continuing to change and pivot. If the last two years have taught us anything it is that anything is possible. So continue to be flexible as we move forward.

Check out our full Trends Report Here and see what professionals in the nonprofit sector see as the upcoming trends in fundraising, office space, marketing, technology, and more.

This article was also featured in our newsletter NFP Advisor Vol. 25

Kenneth R. Cerini, CPA, CFP, FABFA

KENNETH R. CERINI, CPA, CFP, FABFA

Managing Partner

Ken is the Managing Partner of Cerini & Associates, LLP and is the executive responsible for the administration of our not-for-profit and educational provider practice groups. In addition to his extensive audit experience, Ken has been directly involved in providing consulting services for nonprofits and educational facilities of all sizes throughout New York State in such areas as cost reporting, financial analysis, Medicaid compliance, government audit representation, rate maximization, board training, budgeting and forecasting, and more.

Employee Retention: Best Practices & 7 Key Steps for 2022

Employee Retention

Employee retention has never been as great a concern for employers as it is today.

Although retaining your talent has always been an important investment of time and resources, the unprecedented external conditions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic have only amplified the challenges of retaining talent and highlighted the need to look at retention with a critical eye. If you want to improve your organization’s employee retention efforts, knowing how and where to get started is key.

How can you best position your organization to engage and retain employees in 2022 and beyond?

This guide will cover the essentials and our recommended steps for building a well-developed retention strategy.

Table of Contents

RealHR Solutions can help you analyze and address your employee retention issues.

We begin with definitions of employee retention, churn, and how to calculate your retention rate.

Defining the Essentials: What is employee retention?

Employee retention refers to an organization’s ability to retain its employees over time and minimize employee turnover, whether voluntary or involuntary.

Your employee retention rate, which compares the number of retained employees at the start of a specific time period to how many of those original employees are still there at the end of the period, can be calculated with this formula:

(# of individual employees who remained employed for entire measurement period

# of employees at start of measurement period)

x 100

Calculating the turnover rate will complement the retention rate by showing the percentage of separations in the same period. Turnover rate is often defined as the number of separations divided by the average number of employees during that same time period, and it can be calculated as follows:

(# of separations during the measurement period

average # of employees during the measurement period)

x 100

Best practice would be to track on an annual basis your organization’s retention rate and turnover rate, and the reasons behind them, so that you can accurately measure progress as part of your retention plan.

These employee retention strategies can help you cover your bases.

Employee Retention Strategies: 5 Key Areas to Prioritize

What elements of an organization’s operations contribute to retention? What specific strategies can you use to deepen relationships with employees and reduce turnover? We break them down into five key categories:

Retention strategies: recruitment and onboarding

1. Recruitment and Onboarding

Hiring and onboarding practices are your first opportunities to set the tone for your relationships with new employees, so they play an immediate role in driving retention.

  • Review and improve your employee recruitment, hiring, and onboarding practices to provide enriching experiences. New hires should feel that your organization is thoughtful, welcoming, and caring.
  • Eliminate bias from your recruiting process.
  • Live your values through the recruiting, hiring, and onboarding process to allow candidates to experience your organization and its culture.
  • Offer new hires opportunities to build relationships with colleagues through planned meetings and structured coaching or mentorships.
  • Ensure that training is available and that the content is relevant and helps new hires get up to speed as quickly as is possible.
Retention strategies: employee compensation

2. Employee Compensation

There is much discussion around the role of compensation in shaping the employer-employee relationship and impacting retention. While intangibles like your culture, management philosophy, and an immediate supervisor’s management style have an increasingly large impact on retention, compensation and benefits still also play important roles.

  • Offer salaries and wages at rates as competitive as possible for your organization.
  • Take a total rewards approach to compensation. This entails breaking compensation down into its direct components (salaries and bonuses) and indirect components (benefits, culture, work-life flexibility, management styles, etc.) so that you can take a more holistic view of your strategy as a whole.
  • Ensure pay equity across your organization. Work with compensation experts as needed to conduct pay equity audits, benchmark your strategies, and develop other compensation improvements. Show employees the steps you are taking to review, adjust, and manage your compensation strategies over time.
  • Help employees understand the steps you are taking over time to review, adjust, and manage your compensation strategies. Consider whether compensation will be tied to performance. This can be determined based on a number of factors.
  • Offer benefits packages that meet the needs of your employees, offer flexibility, and provide the greatest value, while at the same time watching employer and employee costs. Consider flexible spending accounts to meet the needs of the greatest number of employees.
  • Set reasonable expectations around workload and hours. Consider offering benefits related to mental health and/or PTO for personal days.
Retention strategies: employee development

3. Employee Growth, Engagement, and Recognition

A high percentage of employees report feeling dissatisfied with the development opportunities offered by their employers, but learning and development, engagement, and recognition are critically important for long-term retention.

  • Genuinely recognize and express appreciation for employee accomplishments. Consider creating systems for leadership and peers to submit “bravos,” offering spot bonuses or prizes for major contributions, and building in recognition as an ongoing part of employee-manager conversations.
  • Offer learning and development opportunities, and regularly discuss career growth with employees. Only 29% of organizations have concrete development plans in place, but 68% of workers are willing to retrain and learn new skills.
  • Set individualized goals and plans of action during your performance management process, and support employees with the tools they need to achieve them.
Retention strategies: culture

4. Company Culture

Your organization’s culture and the workplace environment you foster can play major roles in employee engagement, well-being, and ultimately retention.

  • Actively foster a flexible, diverse, and inclusive culture. Encourage employees to get to know one another and understand each other’s roles and responsibilities.
  • Create open lines of communication across the organization. Provide transparency into the reasoning behind leadership decisions that impact employees.
  • Develop and communicate your diversity management efforts to reflect your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and to creating a culture of respect, equity, and belonging.
  • Offer flexible work arrangements to whatever degree you are able. The ability to work remotely full-time or on a hybrid schedule has become a significant driver for many employees seeking new jobs.
Retention strategies: organization and management

5. Organization and Management

How your organization structures its teams and manages employees can also directly impact its ability to retain talent. These elements should be periodically reviewed to ensure they are still delivering maximum value for the organization and employees.

  • Keep job descriptions up to date to accurately reflect your organization’s positions
  • Consider broadening your concept of employees’ roles by creating a matrix model that taps into employees’ skills rather than the jobs themselves. This has many advantages—it offers greater flexibility and learning opportunities to the employees and also provides many benefits to the employer.
  • Empower managers by offering the training needed to support your organization’s retention plan.
  • Emphasize goal-setting across all levels of your organization. Communicate organizational, team, and individual goals, track your progress, and celebrate wins.
  • Consider conducting an HR Assessment to review and evaluate the ways in which your HR practices may (or may not) be supporting your retention goals.
RealHR Solutions can help you analyze and address your employee retention issues.
This section explores how to improve your employee retention rate.

How to Improve Employee Retention: 7 Steps

To begin strategically improving your employee retention rate, we recommend following these core steps:

Follow these steps to begin improving your retention rate in a systematic way.
  1. Calculate your current employee retention rate.
    • This will give you a starting point on which to build your plan. Refer back to the top of this article to review the retention formula.
  2. Analyze and benchmark your retention data.
    • Review the current state of your retention efforts. For example, who specifically is leaving? Do most employees who resign do so within a particular amount of time/common tenure? When you conduct exit interviews, an important tool for understanding and managing retention, what if any trends emerge in their reasons for leaving?
    • Consider working with an HR consultant to benchmark your own retention data against that of other organizations in your industry.
  3. Conduct an employee retention survey.
    • Work with your team and/or an HR consultant to create and administer an employee survey asking questions related to retention. Do employees feel engaged at work? Do they understand why certain decisions are made? Do they feel fairly compensated?
    • Next, review survey results. Do employee survey responses reveal particular areas that seem to be driving turnover? For instance, you may identify compensation, inclusion, and career development as key pain points for your employees. These areas of focus will anchor your strategy going forward.
  4. Audit your current practices in relevant areas. 
    • Conduct in-depth audits of your practices in the areas of focus that you identified. Consultants and other specialized partners can conduct thorough, impartial audits of your HR practices, compensation strategies, diversity initiatives, and more.
    • Use your employee survey data to help inform areas of focus for your audit.
    • The results of an effective audit will point you towards specific gaps and shortcomings that can be addressed to drive stronger retention results.
  5. Set employee retention goals.
    • Based on exit interviews, the employee survey, and the results of your audit, set your employee retention goals and create a plan for accomplishing your goals. Plan for incremental changes to your retention rate and build in various deadlines to evaluate success. This will include creating improvement plans.
  6. Develop improvement roadmaps and assign ownership.
    • Lay out plans for addressing the identified issues. Outline specific changes, how they will be developed and implemented, who will own which elements of the plan, timeframes, and any other necessary details.
    • Make sure that involved team members understand why and how their help will support the broader retention plan and goal.
  7. Actively track and review progress.
    • Regularly check in with your teams as they progress through the improvement roadmaps. Have a plan in place for measuring the impact of all individual improvements and the broader retention initiative as a whole. As the pieces of your plan come together, remember to recognize and celebrate your teams’ achievements!
Why does employee retention matter so much for organizations?

Why does employee retention matter?

There are a number of reasons why employee retention should be a priority for your organization. An effective retention strategy will result in:

  • Reduced turnover and associated costs.
    • Turnover drains your organization of talent, institutional knowledge, and money. Gartner estimates that a single departing employee costs an average organization $18,591, with recruiting and onboarding being costly expenditures of your organization’s time and resources.
  • Increased engagement and employee growth over time.
    • When employees stay engaged with your organization, they are more likely to grow into new roles, contribute to your culture, and drive greater results for your business.
  • An improved employer brand, which can help with recruitment.
    • Being known as an organization whose employees enjoy their work and stick around for the long-term is a major asset and can create a helpful flywheel effect in which your employee-focused brand helps attract and retain top talent over time.
  • Overall improvements to your bottomline.
    • Taken together, the benefits listed above result in better overall financial health and resilience for your organization. Money saved by reducing turnover can be more effectively allocated to push the business forward and drive even higher retention.
The Great Resignation is reshaping the labor landscape and how businesses think about retention.

Employee Retention and the Great Resignation

It is difficult to ignore the massive impacts of what has been termed the “Great Resignation” on employee retention. This unprecedented surge in voluntary turnover is reshaping the U.S. labor landscape. A record 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August of 2021, followed by 4.4 million in September.

The pandemic’s immediate effects have in part catalyzed this turnover increase. However, it is crucial to note that the Great Resignation seems to be driven by a complex mix of economic, social, political, and demographic forces, not all of which are directly attributable to the pandemic:

  • Rising wages and employee expectations. Salaries and wages have been rising. Coupled with the current impact of inflation on take-home pay and the general atmosphere of the labor environment, many workers are looking for more flexible and higher-paying jobs.
  • Pandemic burnout. The pandemic has been a difficult time for employees, especially frontline workers and those whose work could not easily be taken online. Many employees are reevaluating their personal and professional priorities and are exploring new career options.
  • A perceived labor shortage driving competition for talent. With 10.4 million job openings recorded at the start of October 2021, recruitment is currently a challenge. This is for a complex range of reasons, but a perceived labor shortage is driving employers to compete more aggressively for talent.
  • Socioeconomic and educational factors. The Great Resignation has revealed what some consider to be another emerging labor crisis in the United States: gaps in workers’ technological skills that are necessary for many jobs in a digital economy. High and rising costs of higher education will likely exacerbate this issue over time.
  • Generational factors. Older workers are retiring at rates higher initially predicted at the start of the pandemic, meaning many organizations have experienced high turnover among Baby Boomer employees. However, younger employees report feeling the most unengaged, unappreciated, and underpaid at work, where they may meet structures and management styles that were not developed with them in mind.

Additionally, the Employee Retention Tax Credit that was instituted to help struggling businesses retain employees in 2020, has ended earlier than expected with the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Organizations taking advantage of this credit may now face additional challenges making up for the lost support.

Clearly, the Great Resignation is complex. The factors listed above mean that retaining employees is more important than ever before for the immediate and long-term health of organizations today.

Want to take a deeper dive? How can organizations respond to the Great Resignation? What actions can HR leaders take to more effectively manage change in a turbulent environment? Jill Krumholz, Co-Owner and Managing Director here at RealHR Solutions, discusses the topic with our friends Jennifer Loftus of Astron Solutions and Ken Cerini of Cerini & Associates in this free webinar:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=IYD-ovBzDB0%3Ffeature%3Doembed

Wrapping Up

Employee retention is driven by a complex range of factors but has never been as important for organizations, in all sectors and of all sizes, as it is today. Understanding these factors, the current labor landscape, and how it all comes into play in the unique context of your own organization are important and also can be very challenging.

HR experts can be invaluable partners as you work to improve your employee retention rate. RealHR Solutions is a leading provider of HR consultation and outsourced services. Our experience spans a wide set of HR practices that impact retention, including recruitment, employee coaching, compensation and benefits planning, and more. We can help your organization develop a comprehensive retention plan of action or dig deeper into the specific areas that need improvement through benchmarking and HR assessments.

Get in touch today to discuss your organization’s retention goals and needs. We will be happy to help!

And to learn more about driving results for your business through strategic internal improvements, keep exploring with these resources:

Need help understanding and improving your employee retention rate? RealHR Solutions can help.

2022 WORKSPACE TRENDS

As we enter 2022, we continue to see a shift in the physical workplace and what the future of offices will be. Here are some trends we are seeing as we enter into 2022:

  1. Downsizing: Going by the average, a standard office lease for a nonprofit in the USA will be around $5,000 per person per year. This figure will vary widely depending on locality and personal circumstances, but either way, the square footage of the office accounts for a big chunk of a nonprofit’s overhead. 2022 should be a time to re-evaluate your physical space needs:
    1. Can some employees work remotely? Over the last two years we have been able to get a real grasp on how productive one can be from home and what job functions can be done remotely.
    2. Can you have a rotating office? Maybe switching on and off who works in the office and from home to reduce your overhead.
  2. Safety first! As we enter 2022 disinfection will need to be done more regularly. Make sure that you are buying durable furniture. You should look for materials that will not show signs of wear and tear after continuous cleanings, such as leather and metal.
  3. Stay 6 ft apart! Work stations will continue to prioritize physical distancing in order to ensure all feel safe.
  4. Malleable space: Moveable desks, walls, and open space will allow you to rework your office space based on your needs, which could change on a daily basis. Space will need to be much more dynamic going forward.
  5. Proper Ventilation is also something that an open office layout will help, but you should also consider better air filters, windows that open, etc.
  6. Limiting contact with automatic doors, contactless dispensers for soaps and disinfectants, and non-contact flushing systems. Your goal should be to reduce the touchpoint for germs.
  7. Outdoor areas and plants: not only do plants improve air quality and provide for a green work environment, they also reduce stress levels.

THIS ARTICLE WAS ALSO FEATURED IN OUR 2022 NONPROFIT TRENDS REPORT GUIDE

James Laino, CPA

JAMES LAINO, CPA

Supreme Court Effectively Ends OSHA Vaccination Emergency Temporary Standard

Supreme Court Effectively Ends OSHA Vaccination Emergency Temporary Standard

In a 6-3 decision issued on January 13, 2022, the Supreme Court reimposed a legal stay that prevents OSHA from enforcing its vaccination Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). And while the matter is being sent back to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals for further review, the conclusions drawn by the Court almost certainly means the end of the ETS.

How did we get here?

The ETS was formally published on November 5, 2021, with initial compliance dates of December 5, 2021, and January 4, 2022. Shortly thereafter, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a legal stay that put the ETS on pause and temporarily prevented OSHA from enforcing it. There were numerous legal challenges to the ETS, which were quickly consolidated and given to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals for adjudication. The 6th Circuit lifted the legal stay and allowed OSHA to move forward with enforcement. In response, OSHA issued new compliance dates of January 10, 2022, and February 9, 2022, while the case was appealed to the Supreme Court.

What did the Supreme Court say?

The primary question before the Supreme Court was whether the scope of the vaccine ETS exceeded the statutory authority given to OSHA to issue emergency temporary standards. The Court started its analysis by acknowledging that OSHA has the power to regulate occupational risks and dangers. It then asked the question whether the ETS targeted occupational hazards, or whether it was actually regulating public health more broadly, which would exceed OSHA’s authority. While the court recognized that OSHA has the power to regulate COVID-19 risks in environments that may be uniquely susceptible to transmission (such as COVID-19 research labs, cramped workspaces, etc.), it concluded that the breadth of the ETS went beyond clearly identifiable occupational hazards, and thus was tantamount to an impermissible public health measure:

Although COVID-19 is a risk that occurs in many workplaces, it is not an occupational hazard in most. COVID-19 can and does spread at home, in schools, during sporting events, and everywhere else that people gather. That kind of universal risk is no different from the day-to-day that [we] all face from crime, air pollution, or any number of communicable diseases. Permitting OSHA to regulate the hazards of daily life—simply because most Americans have jobs and face those same risks while on the clock—would significantly expand OSHA’s regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization. As a result, the Court decided that the parties opposing the ETS “are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that [OSHA] lacked authority to impose the mandate”, so it reimposed the stay and sent the matter back down to the 6th Circuit for further review of the merits of the case. However, the Supreme Court’s reasoning and analysis all but ensures that the 6th Circuit will come to the same conclusion.

What does this mean for employers?

Employers will no longer have to comply with the ETS, which means that they will now have greater latitude to decide what COVID-related practices are best for their workplaces. Employers that have already started complying with the provisions of the ETS can continue to do so, if they choose, or they can discontinue some or all of the measures they’ve adopted at this point. Employers that were holding off on compliance while waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision will now have to decide whether they want to modify any
of their existing safety practices. As employers make these decisions, a few things should factor into the consideration process:

  • The Supreme Court’s focus was on whether OSHA exceeded its statutory authority, which has nothing to do with what workplace practices individual employers can choose to adopt. As a result, the decision does not impact the vaccination, testing, and masking practices options that employers can choose from.
  • OSHA still has authority under its General Duty Clause to inspect and penalize what it considers to be unsafe COVID-related practices, although its scope and power under the General Duty clause is much narrower than under the ETS. Indeed, in response to the Supreme Court’s decision, OSHA has put employers on notice of its continuing commitment to address COVID-19 safety in the workplace: Regardless of the ultimate outcome of these proceedings, OSHA will do everything in its existingauthority to hold businesses accountable for protecting workers, including under the COVID-19 National Emphasis Program and General Duty Clause.
  • States that have approved state OSHA programs could independently choose to pursue implementation of their own versions of the ETS, and even states without their own OSHA programs may have Departments
    of Health or other agencies that have made specific recommendations for COVID-related workplace safety practices.
  • Employers covered by the vaccination mandates imposed on federal contractors (the federal contractor mandate) and certain recipients of Medicare and/or Medicaid funds (the CMS mandate) may still have to comply with those requirements, since in a separate opinion the Supreme Court upheld the CMS mandate and is expected to eventually weigh-in on the federal contractor mandate.

In other words, the ETS was not the only variable that might influence employer practices, which means that employers should be mindful as they decide what COVID-related practices to adopt going forward. In doing so, it will be important to work with trusted advisors and vendors to help make the best decisions for each workplace.

Insurers and health plans to cover COVID-19 at home tests

On Jan. 10, 2022, the Departments of Labor, Treasury and Health and Human Services released guidance to support the Administration’s directive that health insurers and group health plans cover, subject to certain criteria, the cost of FDA-authorized and approved over-the-counter (OTC) COVID-19 at home tests. 

Beginning Jan. 15, 2022, UnitedHealthcare will cover most commercial individual and group plan members’ FDA-authorized and approved OTC COVID-19 at home diagnostic tests purchased on or after this date, without a doctor’s prescription or clinical assessment. This COVID-19 at home test coverage will include up to 8 tests per member per 30 days.

UnitedHealthcare has established a preferred retail program for its commercial individual and group health plan members with UnitedHealthcare’s Pharmacy benefit administered by OptumRx. UnitedHealthcare’s initial preferred OTC retailer for COVID-19 at home tests is Walmart Pharmacy where members may show their ID card and then do not have to pay an up-front cost or submit a claim form for subsequent reimbursement. More preferred retailers are expected to be added soon. When COVID-19 at home tests are purchased at any in-store or online retailer, other than the in-store Walmart Pharmacy, members may submit their receipt(s) for reimbursement through the UnitedHealthcare member portal. UnitedHealthcare will reimburse the member a maximum of $12 per test.

Self-funded customers with carve out pharmacy (who do not have UnitedHealthcare Pharmacy benefits administered by OptumRx) have two options.

  1. Work with their pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) to set up a program, potentially including a direct reimbursement program for employees at their PBM’s pharmacy.
  2. Reimburse the COVID-19 at home tests purchased at the member’s choice of retailer at retail costs through their UnitedHealthcare administered medical benefit. 

UnitedHealthcare assumes that most employers will select option 1 and use their PBM to set up the program for the members. The customer must let their UnitedHealthcare representative know if they want the program to go through the medical benefit (not the PBM) by Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. If your client does not have the UnitedHealthcare pharmacy benefit with OptumRx, for an interim period, UnitedHealthcare will pay claims submitted in the member portal through the medical benefit.

If an employer chooses option 2, to use the medical benefit, UnitedHealthcare will reimburse a member purchase of at home tests when they submit the receipt through the member portal. The member would be reimbursed based on the cost of the test they purchase within the guideline of 8 tests per member per 30 days.

Please review the COVID-19 At Home Test FAQs on the uhc.com COVID-19 FAQ site and look for more communications to be sent early next week. COVID-19 At Home Test member FAQs also available here. UnitedHealthcare will be sending this information directly to clients by Wednesday, Jan. 19.

Look Into the Crystal Ball: Our 2022 Predictions for the Nonprofit Fundraising and Events Industry

Our 2022 Predictions for the Nonprofit Fundraising and Events Industry

With Covid cases rapidly declining after a peak in early January, the vaccine booster campaign well underway, and few legal restrictions impacting on our daily lives (at least in NYC), Powered by Professionals has now turned our attention to unpacking what the lasting impact of the pandemic will have on fundraising, and making some suggestions about what this means for nonprofits as they plan for 2022 and beyond.

Despite the waves of constant change and uncertainty nonprofits and other businesses have dealt with in the past two years, the switch to virtual events surprisingly did not deter the generosity of supporters. The majority of PBP’s events in 2021 saw an increase of charitable giving! So why are donors being so generous?

We have an idea of what factors may be contributing to the success of nonprofit fundraisers despite the challenges of switching to virtual events. Many people made significant savings over the course of the pandemic – being stuck at home meant they stopped spending money on vacations, restaurants and shopping and started saving instead. This factor compounded with the daily uncertainty and the desire to do ‘something’ to improve the situation we all found ourselves in, meant that charitable giving was up for individuals as a way to find a form of control over the turbulence of daily life.

So what now? Predictions for the pandemic are looking optimistic, with hopes that one day we can give it the status of ‘endemic’ and finally make a return to normal. With normal being a relative term, we suspect to see several changes to what we consider “normal” in the nonprofit fundraising industry. Nonprofits will need to continue to adapt to new trends. Between 2020 and 2021, virtual events became valuable tools to connect with donors when in-person events were no longer possible. Hybrid events,  combining the elements of both in-person and virtual events, can greatly benefit all attendees with tech-driven experiences to reach a greater audience and make an experience accessible for all.

The recent demand for QR codes and wearable technology means that nonprofits will need to make giving more accessible and easier to navigate via smartwatches by implementing Venmo, PayPal, Apple and Google Pay, therefore eliminating the need to dig through a wallet to find a credit card. Despite the slowdown the pandemic brought to daily life, there is still a high demand for streamlined, instant giving with auto-filled credit card and billing information for on-the-fly giving to keep up with the relentless need for ‘instant gratification’ that modern technology has allowed us.

Bottom line is that nonprofits will need to continue to adapt to of-the-moment demands, and the best way to prepare for any circumstance is by keeping up with modern technology that allows organizations to reach their supporters anywhere. Cryptocurrency, NFTs, and other virtual items continue to make headlines, and we suspect that those will be a hot item in the nonprofit world as well (we haven’t had a NFT at any of our auctions yet, but perhaps that will change this year!)

Powered by Professionals is excited to meet the challenges 2022 will bring and we are always on the lookout for the latest trends that will impact our fundraising events. Stay tuned as we navigate the year and bring you updates!

SARAH COYNE

sarah@poweredbyprofessionals.com