It can be a challenge to keep good staff. We know The High Cost of Turnover affects non-profit organizations significantly in terms of separation processing, replacement hiring, training, and lost productivity/business costs. Experienced staff bring well-developed skills to the job, and while some turnover is inevitable, too much can interfere with a coalitions ability to serve their members, advocate for public policy, and ultimately support survivors.
You can reduce turnover through active management. According to Wenger, five factors linked to Staff Retention at Non-Profits are:
- Challenging work
- Recognition for good work
- Participation in what affects their job
- Job security
- Promotion and growth opportunities
We certainly have the "challenging work" aspect down pat in the anti-sexual assault movement! As for the other factors, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I providing effective and creative recognition for work well done?
- Do staff members believe they have a true voice in program decisions?
- Am I working with my Board to ensure adequate resources for job security?
- What am I doing to help each staff member professionally grow, including the opportunities for leadership?
Healthy, Happy People
Many of our fields and places of work seem to function in the powerful belief that, as the acappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock so earnestly sing, "We who believe in freedom cannot rest." This sense of urgency clouds many organizations ability to think clearly about how to best retain healthy, happy people who will continue to contribute to the betterment of the world. --Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, Trauma Stewardship: A Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others
Here are a few ideas that coalitions can do to retain healthy, happy people:
1. Provide an Employee Assistance Program. Many everyday life stresses can negatively affect employee attendance and concentration, the general workplace morale, and an employee's ability to perform well on the job. The range of services provided by EAP professionals includes confidential and short-term counseling for marriage and family problems, stress related problems, financial and legal difficulties, and psychological and workplace conflict. Find an Employee Assistance Program in your area.
2. Travel tips. Coalitions may be able to offer staff exciting professional development opportunities at national training events, which gives us the opportunity to enhance our knowledge and skills as well as develop and strengthen a network of support. However, frequent travel can take a toll on our well-being and regular routines. Here are some tips:
- Try to keep to your sleep schedule and routine.
- Dirty things have germs that can make you sick. Wash your hands!
- Pack some food. That Denny's across from the hotel might not be open when you get in.
- Bring your medication with you on the plane. You've heard the nightmares about lost luggage...
- Bed bugs are alive and well. Protect yourself!
- Exercise! Drink lots of water!
- Be nice! Stay in touch with loved ones; try to schedule a regular check-in time with them.
- We are not microchiped yet. Have ID on you when you go jogging in case you fall and hit your head.
- Know how your insurance works when traveling out of region/state.
3. Partner with a local gym to offer reduced membership/payment rates.We often communicate how important it is for advocates and survivors to take care of themselves. Yet somehow it is impossible for us to make it to the gym a few times a week. As a coalition, you can send a supportive message of self-care to your co-workers by partnering up with a local gym to offer staff reduced membership/payment rates. Better yet, allow four hours a month for your staff to participate in an activity, like going to the gym, that supports their sustainability.
Here's to retaining happy, healthy people! Happy Fall!