The Secret to Top-Level Fundraising Success: Listen to Your Donors

Top-Level Fundraising

By Peter Heller

I know you’ve done great things in your professional life.

You should have people in your life who will listen to all the glorious details. It’s vital to celebrate your success and to be acknowledged for what you’ve accomplished.

But, if you are a fundraiser, don’t waste precious time gabbing on about your accomplishments with your donors and prospects.

Your job is to double down on listening. 

I learned this lesson the hard way. Here’s what happened….

When I was starting out as a fundraiser at Columbia University, I had a meeting with an alumnus/prospect and a senior university dean. The dean was new to his role. The goal of the meeting was for the dean to establish a relationship with the alumnus which would then lead to more involvement and a gift solicitation.

They sat facing each other on either side of a long table, while I sat at the far end observing their memorable exchange. 

It was like proud rockets were being launched from either side, one after the other, soaring higher and higher. The dean and the prospect were sure proud of their accomplishments.

“I’ve done this thing,” said the alumnus.

“I’ve also done that thing and this other thing,” said the dean.

On it went. A battle of the egos.

Their conversation remained friendly, but they weren’t really connecting. By the end of the meeting, we were no closer to developing a close relationship, let alone securing a gift.

So, aside from the obvious, what went wrong? 

The dean’s job was to listen to the alumnus and celebrate his accomplishments, not compete with them.

If you truly listen to your prospect, you will not only learn about the person, but you will also give them the opportunity to be heard — something increasingly rare today, and a secret to top-level fundraising success.

And so it goes, listening builds a relationship, which leads to much better results when you ask for a significant gift, which, in turn, continues to build your relationship. 

It all starts with genuinely listening.

Try it out and let me know how it goes.

Read more fundraising secrets in the Heller Fundraising Group blog, “The Whisper In The Ear Strategy”:

Peter Heller is the Founder of Heller Fundraising Group, a New York City-based fundraising consulting firm that works with local, national and international nonprofits on capital campaigns.

DOL Penalties Increase for 2022

DOL Penalties

The Department of Labor (DOL) published the annual adjustments for 2022 that increase certain penalties applicable to employee benefit plans.

Annual Penalty Adjustments for 2022

The following updated penalties are applicable to health and welfare plans subject to ERISA.

Employer Action

Private employers, including non-profits, should ensure employees receive required notices timely (SBC, CHIP, SPD, etc.) to prevent civil penalty assessments. In addition, employers should ensure Form 5500s are properly and timely filed, if applicable. Finally, employers facing document requests from EBSA should ensure documents are provided timely, as requested.

For more information: Ed Probst | (516) 872-2017 |

Diversity Management: Overview & Strategies for Any Business

Diversity Management

Diversity management has been important for businesses of all sizes for several decades now.

Early on, many organizations may have addressed the concept of diversity as an obligation to comply with legal frameworks put in place to respond to societal changes and demands. However, as time has passed, many recognize that a diverse workforce benefits an organization beyond meeting legal requirements, enriching companies and their employees in countless ways.

Recently, diversity, equity, inclusion, and access have come to the forefront of societal discussions in new and urgent ways, and this renewed conversation compels employers to take a more meaningful look at their programs and how they approach their workforces. Diversity management is the vehicle by which they undertake this review and redress issues.

But how can businesses actually begin to develop or refine their own diversity practices in tangible, impactful ways? What is the connection between diversity management and other concepts like equity, inclusion, and access? This guide will cover the following essentials:

We begin with common questions about diversity management.

Diversity Management FAQ

To start, we will provide additional context by answering more common questions about diversity management and related topics:

What is diversity management?

In the broadest sense, diversity management is the set of internal practices and ongoing initiatives that an organization implements to promote, achieve, and maintain diversity in its workplace.

It extends beyond human resources policies and practices such as hiring, compensation, or employee development, although diversity management often informs these practices. This structure or set of business protocols and values touches on all areas of the organization and is not a one-shot implementation. Rather, it is executed over time.

Whatever an organization’s specific diversity-related goals, diversity management is the process by which it achieves and maintains them.

How do organizations define diversity?

State and federal governments protect certain classes of individuals by enacting anti-discrimination laws. On the national level, Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal anti-discrimination laws set the minimum standards that must be met. Many states add to this list of protected categories.

With an eye on creating as inclusive a culture as possible, many companies extend their diversity programs beyond legally recognized protected categories. Although not an exhaustive list, the diversity of any given group of people can include individual qualities such as:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity/national origin
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Family status
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity or expression
  • Religion, belief, and spirituality
  • Neurodiversity
  • Generation
  • Life experiences
  • Veteran status
  • Language

Organizations can then define their diversity goals in a number of ways. For example, a company may seek to foster and retain a racially-diverse workforce that resembles the demographics of its actual community and/or customer base.

From there, a diversity management strategy would include a range of practices and exercises aimed not just at achieving that goal but also ensuring that it is maintained and actively valued over the long run.

Why does diversity management matter?

Simply put, organizations today have an increased obligation to be socially-conscious employers.

We see this is in the prevalence of company mission statements and corporate social responsibility programs, but employees and consumers alike are interested in seeing companies do more than talk the talk—they must also walk the walk by taking an authentic interest in diversity and making it a reality through diversity management. 

A demonstrated effort to foster and maintain diversity shows employees that you truly value the range of perspectives they bring to the table. This can then drive increased engagement and retention, which are critical in today’s labor landscape. As a recent Gartner survey reveals:

Organizations that are able to enact sustainable D&I (diversity and inclusion) strategies can achieve meaningful results, including 20% increases in organizational inclusion, which translates into a 6.2% increase in on-the-job effort, a 5% increase in employees’ intent to stay with the organization, and a nearly 3% increase in individual employee performance.

Projected across your entire workforce over time, these benefits can be quite substantial. Effective diversity management can help organizations with recruitment, engagement, retention, creative decision making, and their public image, all of which can drive real business results in the forms of healthier bottom lines and more agile, innovative teams.

What are the origins of the concept of diversity management?

The concepts of diversity management and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) were initially born out of the history of equal opportunity and affirmative action at the national level. Federal legislation that explicitly requires some level of fair hiring practices and establishes the notion of “affirmative action” reaches back to the New Deal era of the 1930s.

Our present understanding of diversity in the workplace was then broadened and largely shaped by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the establishment of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Congress has taken steps to eliminate discrimination and level the playing field by crafting legislation prohibiting discrimination based on a broad spectrum of protected categories, from race and ethnicity to disabilities and religion.

Most states have also implemented nondiscrimination schemes, many extending protections and rights beyond what is required at the federal level. Whether federal or state, the one thing that is predictable about this area of the law is that it is always evolving.

Regardless of what is happening in the legal arena, many businesses see the value in actively promoting and fostering diversity among their employees. Diversity, inclusion, and access instill deeper employee satisfaction and engagement, strengthen employee retention rates, encourage creativity and productivity, and drive business growth through improved profitability. These results often prompt C-suites to recognize DEI’s value and pursue diversity-related goals beyond legal requirements by implementing diversity management programs.

How does diversity management relate to DEI initiatives?

An organization mindful of DEI seeks to be a diverse workplace that recognizes the uniqueness of individuals and provides equitable access to resources and opportunities by actively combatting structural barriers to success.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) refers to several key concepts:

  • All of the qualities, experiences, and work styles that make an organization’s employees unique
  • How the organization recognizes, fosters, and leverages that diversity
  • The access to resources and equitable opportunities that the organization provides to its employees
  • The organization’s recognition and handling of barriers that might prevent employees from fully contributing to the organization’s success

Diversity management involves the on-the-ground practices an organization implements to achieve its diversity-related objectives. It is an ongoing process that continually reviews DEI initiatives, always seeking to improve an organization’s diversity status.

How does diversity management relate to equal employment opportunity (EEO) regulations?

A robust diversity management approach enriches the work environment and drives business results. Just as importantly, it also ensures that a company stays legally compliant. Failure to abide by state and federal nondiscrimination guidelines can result in lawsuits, fines, hefty settlements or judgments, and tarnished reputations.

Regulations relating to diversity management fall into two general categories:

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Regulations

Legislatures at the federal and state levels have enacted legal frameworks addressing fairness and equal treatment for specifically designated classes in hiring and all aspects of employment.

Federal law specifically protects applicants, employees, and former employees from discrimination based on race, color, religion, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, veteran status, and citizenship. Major examples of such legislation include the Equal Pay Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

At a minimum, state laws must mirror these protected categories, but some states extend protections beyond federal law by adding classifications.

Affirmative Action

To work with the federal government, businesses must comply with additional legal requirements. Under affirmative action regulations, government contractors or subcontractors must implement proactive plans focused on providing individuals with equal opportunity. These Affirmative Action Plans do not involve rigid hiring quotas but rather benchmark targets monitored by regulating agencies.

DEI initiatives and satisfaction of Affirmative Action requirements work in conjunction to strengthen each other as part of a comprehensive diversity management program. Through this process, organizations pursue, achieve, and foster their diversity-related goals while simultaneously meeting the legal expectations set by state and federal requirements.

EEO and affirmative action regulations pertain primarily to an organization’s compliance practices. Diversity management and DEI are separate concepts that may, when put into practice, overlap with actions that an organization takes to comply with labor regulations.

This means that although progress towards one of these areas can help to strengthen the others, these concepts should not be treated synonymously. 

Before making improvements, you should audit your current diversity management practices.

How to Audit Your Current Diversity Management Practices

Before your organization can begin strategically improving your diversity practices, you need to start with a solid understanding of your current practices. HR audits are an effective tool for deeply analyzing your strategies and processes in one or more areas of your operations, and they can be adapted to focus specifically on diversity management.

This process entails reviewing and studying the impact of diversity initiatives across the entire organization. We recommend these steps:

Follow these steps to audit your organization's current diversity efforts.
  1. Determine the scope and stakeholders of your audit.
    • The scope of a diversity management audit should include legal compliance, recruitment and hiring practices, salary and benefits practices, employee development opportunities, and other employment policies and procedures. These audits are typically conducted by a senior leader, an internal HR or DEI professional, or an external consultant. Also take time to identify the individuals across relevant departments who will need to assist with fact-finding and with conducting employee surveys.
  2. Create a diversity survey for your organization.
    • Develop a survey to gauge employee opinions and generate feedback on the organization’s diversity practices in the various scope areas listed above. Are employees aware of the diversity practices already in place? Do they feel that they’ve been effective or meaningful? Do employees feel that you can and/or should go further to foster diversity?
  3. Collect relevant internal data and questionnaire responses.
    • Collect employee survey responses and begin compiling your findings. At the same time, work with relevant departments to collect data on the real impact of any current diversity practices.
  4. Benchmark your findings against external data.
    • Once your audit’s findings come into focus, you need external data to compare them against. In many cases, this means comparing your findings to data from organizations whose diversity practices you wish to emulate. This will give you a stable frame of reference on which to build strategic next steps. External consultants can often assist with sourcing and analyzing benchmark data.
  5. Analyze and report your audit’s findings.
    • Taking your audit’s data and benchmark comparisons, report your findings to departmental and organizational leadership. Highlight key takeaways and recommendations by importance and/or urgency.
  6. Develop a roadmap for implementing a diversity management plan.
    • Steps for creating a concrete improvement plan will be covered in the next section of this guide.
To improve your diversity management practices and begin making changes, follow these steps.

How to Improve Your Diversity Management Practices

Once you have a clear understanding of the diversity management practices your organization already has in place, how employees feel about them, and how they stack up against those of other organizations, you can outline a concrete diversity management improvement plan. We will start with recommended steps to follow and then cover additional diversity management strategies and tips to keep in mind throughout the process.

Developing a Diversity Management Improvement Plan

Follow these core steps to begin improving your organization's diversity efforts.
  1. Review relevant findings.
    • Return to your audit’s findings and recommendations. Review the data and familiarize yourself with trends uncovered in employee feedback.
  2. Map the areas that require attention and strategic improvement.
    • Dig deeper into your audit’s recommendations. Which areas need improvement? For instance, your audit may have found gaps in or recommended improvements to your recruitment practices, leadership and management styles, employee engagement, or more. These key areas will anchor your diversity management improvement plan.
  3. Develop your diversity management goals.
    • Set specific goals for your diversity management improvements. Goals should be KPI-based (key performance indicator), easily measured, and tracked over time. While it may be difficult to measure “diversity” as a broad goal, you can break it down into more tangible targets: specific improvements in diversity questionnaire results, engagement rates with new programs, demographic breakdowns of candidate pools, etc. Clearly communicate these goals to the initiative’s stakeholders.
  4. Identify and/or develop diversity management resources.
    • What will you need to improve your diversity management practices in the areas outlined above? Who will need to be involved? This step may entail creating an internal diversity council and employee resource groups, sourcing new workplace training resources, hiring a DEI consultant, conducting secondary audits of your organization’s compensation practices, or any other logistics that need to be handled in order to move forward.
  5. Communicate your plans to stakeholders.
    • As your plan takes shape, stay in communication with its various stakeholders and explain how each department will support the overarching diversity management goals. This also involves putting thought into the longevity of the plan; how will HR ensure the long-term adoption and sustainability of new improvements that are implemented?
  6. Regularly review progress towards goals.
    • Roll out your diversity management improvement plan and regularly check on its progress. Schedule regular meetings and reports to ensure all stakeholders have a continuous sense of elements that are working well and those that require extra attention, revisions, or resources to be implemented properly. During this process, it is HR’s responsibility to help foster a sense of continuous improvement and optimism about working towards shared goals.

The exact steps that your organization follows may vary based on your unique context and goals. However, following this core structure will help ensure that your approach is organized, goal-driven, and backed up with the clear communication needed for success.

Diversity Management Strategies and Tips

Be authentic and deliberate with implemented changes. Leadership must encourage buy-in and engagement from the top-down and across departments to sustain adoption of your diversity management improvements.

Offer diverse engagement and growth opportunities for staff. Develop new mentorship or coaching initiatives to develop more diverse leadership pools over time.

Prioritize communication and education from the very start of your plan. This will support adoption and enthusiasm. Look for helpful resources and ensure that they and your diversity management goals are easily accessible.

Ensure policies are transparent and built on a foundation of compliance. Work with an outside professional as needed to double-check your EEO and FLSA compliance as it relates to recruitment and other employment practices.

Recruit more diverse talent. If recruitment is an area of focus for your improvements, follow a few diversity recruitment best practices:

  • Expand your outbound recruitment efforts to new, diverse sources.
  • Ensure inbound recruitment postings are accessible and in diverse digital spaces.
  • Publicly highlight your DEI initiatives and goals to show candidates your interest in and dedication to diversity.

Define your organizational values and integrate them across your activities. If diversity, equity, inclusion, respect, and open communication are important to your business’s identity and long-term goals, enshrine them in a set of concrete values. Communicate them across the organization and continually reference them when making and announcing new changes or strategies.

This section covers how diversity management relates to HR and how HR experts can help.

How HR Experts Can Help with Diversity Management

When considering diversity management improvements and weighing your organization’s options, it is important to remember that diversity is not inherently an HR initiative.

It’s a business imperative in which HR plays an integral role in relevant areas, like employee recruitment and retention. HR can certainly help to lead the charge, but diversity management must extend into a wide range of business areas, like leadership, marketing, vendor selection, public relations, and more.

However, HR is often in a unique position to connect the various parts of a business and direct them towards shared internal goals, like diversity management improvements. As such, HR consultants with expertise in this area can give your organization the structure and guidance needed to make meaningful steps forward. HR experts can support your organization in:

  • Auditing the effectiveness of past diversity efforts
  • Surveying employees and benchmarking data
  • Laying out strategic roadmaps for diversity management
  • Implementing changes in HR-specific areas like recruitment, workplace training, and retention
  • Improving existing HR-related processes, for instance analyzing and reducing recruitment bias

RealHR Solutions is a leading provider of flexible, tailored support drawn from years of experience across all areas of HR. Our experts have the knowledge and resources to help you better understand your diversity management needs, set goals, and begin using your HR functions to pursue them in concrete, impactful ways. To learn more about the role of HR in diversity management and our complete range of services, please get in touch.

And to continue learning about the role of HR in driving meaningful, strategic change, keep exploring with these additional resources:

Need to audit and improve your diversity management practices? RealHR Solutions can help.

The Top 6 Projects to Tackle While Fewer People Are In The Office

At A M Exclusive, we’re big fans of making lemonade out of lemons! While I’m sure, like us, you are yearning for more of a return to normalcy and would love to have more people in the office, the reality in the IT world is that having minimal staff allows for some unique advantages when tackling projects. Not only that, the changes to how we work are likely here to stay, so you’ll need to be prepared with the technology to facilitate a hybrid at-home/in-office culture.

Here are some projects to consider doing now (and if you need an extra hand completing them, our staff can help!):

 1.  Prepare for higher bandwidth demands & add video conferencing rooms

Even when people come back to the office, we anticipate the demand for video conferencing to remain, so you need to make sure you have the bandwidth to support this. Not only that, but you likely will have many teams that will have people both in the office and working remotely that will need to be able to collaborate efficiently. You can turn some private offices into bookable video conferencing rooms. Using the Bookings app and an HP Slice will allow you to achieve this if you’re using Microsoft Teams.

 2.  Cable cleanup & inventory of equipment

We touched upon this in a previous blog post with “4 Tips to Follow When Finally Cleaning Your Network Closet.” If you do this now before people start returning to the office, you’ll be able to diagnose issues and plan so much better, and you won’t regret it.

3.  Workstation refreshes & getting rid of old equipment

Clear out the old and make room for the new! Reduce or eliminate your “IT Graveyard.”  If you contact us, we may even be able to get you money back for your old equipment.

4.  Transition to VoIP

As mentioned earlier, the flexible work culture is here to stay. Forwarding calls to a cell phone robs employees of easily conferencing in and transferring calls to colleagues. The time is still ripe to evaluate your infrastructure and make upgrades to support internet calling and vet vendors.

5.  Downsizing copiers & getting rid of personal printers

Perhaps you can finally get rid of those pesky personal printers?! Any employee who was not given a printer to work from home can probably do without a printer in their office. And those huge copiers in designated copy rooms that haven’t been used much over the last year? You can save a ton by downsizing them. What makes more sense, is more cost-effective, and is more easily supported by your IT team is deploying midsized multifunction machines for smaller workgroups.

 6.  Reduce security vulnerabilities by patching your printers

Firewalls are not enough to keep out the bad guys. Steps must be taken to reduce vulnerabilities once someone is already in your network. You’ve been patching PCs for years; the time has come to patch your printers as well.Schedule a Conversationwith one of our IT
Solutions Experts

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:

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.


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.


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 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!