Whether you are a sports fan or not, it’s hard to escape news from time to time of a team that pulls together and accomplishes the near impossible. Whether it is a professional team, a team of athletes at the Olympics, or a group of kids working together toward a common goal, it’s fun to hear the stories of how a group of seemingly disparate people can meld into a single team and succeed.
If you lead a fundraising team, you have hopefully experienced the absolute excitement of seeing amazing results when you all worked together toward achieving a goal. When the focus moves from “Who gets credit?” to “What can we do to lift all boats?” the results can be amazing.
That’s why it is painful when one of your team members – especially one who is a rising star – leaves the organization… for any reason. While we want our employees to be happy and fulfilled, it hurts when they decide that the best place to accomplish that is somewhere other than our organization.
So, what can you do? A good place to begin is to look at the infographic complied by Tech Impact, “15 Reasons Why Nonprofit Employees Quit.” Yes, low paid is the first thing listed, but as anyone who has stayed at a job despite offers that are far more lucrative knows, pay may not be as important an issue (assuming it is reasonable) when other factors are present.
For example, the second reason cited was “no upward mobility.” This was followed by several other factors that could lead to a conclusion that upward mobility is impossible at that organization:
- Not promoting from within
- Lack of career development
- No mentoring
- No stretch opportunities
- No job evaluations
Are you asking your employees regularly, “Where do you see yourself in two years? In five years?” I recently asked a bright young person, “What is your career goal?” She replied without hesitation, “To be an executive director in ten years.” Frankly, she will be an excellent executive director; she’s articulate, smart and visionary, she has a thirst for knowledge, and she is a caring, passionate person. But unless her current organization takes her seriously and starts mentoring her, and helping her gain more experiences through stretch assignments, she will take her talents elsewhere.
Have you sat down with every employee and asked, “How can I help you accomplish your career goals?” Occasionally, a person may be perfectly content where they are and not want to progress due to other priorities in life. But if there is someone you really want to retain for the good of your team and your organization, start now to show them that their best career opportunity is the one they are being prepared for at your organization.