Managing teams with a high turnover rate can be a considerable challenge, especially when it comes to remote teams. Nonprofit organizations are way more affected by this issue. According to ExactHire.com, the annual turnover rate of this sector is around 19%, while other industries average about 12%.
So why do nonprofits have such a high turnover?
We’ve believed the primary reason is that NGO workers are usually underpaid, but there’s more to it. People leave because they are overworked, subject to inflexible shifts, uninspiring leadership, or not receiving any recognition for the effort they put in.
It has become easy for Nonprofit workers to leave their companies when the local economy improves, thus creating more job opportunities for them to pounce on.
These challenges can highly affect an NGO’s productivity, and it’s essential to act upon it quickly to minimize a high turnover rate in remote-based teams.
Leading NGOs teams remotely: how to fix issues
Most NGO teams operate from a distance or in multiple locations. Let’s debunk 8 common issues faced by remote NGO teams to enable volunteers to work together more effectively.
1. Define your goals and communicate clearly
NGO workers want to work for organizations where expectations are clearly stated. Nonprofit employees strive for their company’s mission. Communicating the mission and vision and instilling a mindset for the staff is key.
Know what your nonprofit stands for and stay true to your core values to keep employees committed to the job. High turnover rates are often caused by inadequacy between workers and company values.
2. Distribute the work evenly across your team
Another challenge of NGOs is to manage employee workload and deadlines. Research has shown that NGO success highly depends on the staff being able to manage multiple tasks simultaneously and deliver on time.
Workload distribution must be decided based on your volunteers’ bandwidth. Conduct regular interviews with workers regarding the amount of work they can handle. Understanding your workforce making sure no one is overwhelmed will help you strategically distribute work, keeping everyone satisfied.
3. Nurture your people
The best employees want to excel and evolve their careers. Therefore, they are more likely to quit if they don’t see the potential to grow with you. According to Forbes, most workers that quit NGOs don’t see long term career opportunities.
It’s crucial to help your employees develop in their careers by scheduling mentoring sessions. This will help you understand their skillset and desires. Only this way you get them to train and improve on those skills. This will also come as a valuable asset for your organization in the future if you are able to identify and nurture skilled individuals in your team.
4. Improve the work culture
This item is often overlooked, but employees feel happier to be there if their work environment makes them feel content and productive. That is the mindset NGOs should strive towards grooming.
Encourage creativity in your team and motivate your staff to keep contributing their opinions and suggestions. Let them have a voice where they can feel accepted by you and the team. Having transparency in your team will help you retain your best elements.
5. Adapt your managerial style
Managers are the conductors of the NGO orchestra. It’s their role to assess how the team performs and their relationship with each other. In sports, if the manager ‘has lost his dressing room’, it means that his players no longer respect or play for him. Likewise, employees will be quick to head to the exit if they are not happy with their manager.
Providing appropriate training to managers can be one way to help them improve their relationships with employees. They must build trust with their team and avoid unnecessary micromanaging, especially when staff is working remotely at their own pace and privacy.
6. Hire the right people
Recruit people who fit the culture and core values that your NGO believes in. Find people with the right attitude, people who show signs of commitment. This must be identified when conducting interviews by clarifying your NGO’s commitments and expectations for their role within the organization.
7. Give recognition
Providing recognition and rewards is especially important for nonprofit teams. NGO volunteers seldom work for a high salary. Therefore, it’s essential to give recognition for their efforts.
Evaluate the work they have completed and provide recognition and feedback to keep your workers engaged. A simple appreciation is sometimes enough to make an employee’s day. Rewarding your staff for their hard work not only benefits them directly but also motivates the rest of your team to strive towards achieving the same recognition.
8. Find ways to get more funds
As a Nonprofit organization, it’s a challenge to get backed with funds and pay your workers a decent salary. Find ways to get more funds by diversifying your revenue sources. Initiate fundraising, donations, grants, sponsorships, and so on, to build different streams of income for your organization. This will allow you to give bonuses to your staff and satisfy their financial needs.
Focusing on teamwork impacts on employee engagement
Employee and team engagement has a huge impact on high turnover rates. You staff should feel part of a team, even if they don’t see each other physically. Make sure you maintain a consistent flow of communication and give a voice to every team member.
Work towards connecting your team emotionally. You want them to express themselves freely and feel understood. Organize regular team meetings, both formal and informal, to create and maintain the team bond.
Final words on high turnover rates in NGOs
In the nonprofit sector, the key to keeping workers involved is to make them feel connected and purposeful to your cause. Understanding each individual and allowing them to express themselves and connect with the organization will help to positively influence the high turnover rates.
Fixing high turnover rates is a challenge for all nonprofit organizations. At Mowgli, we have worked with NGOs to help them better manage remote teams and keep employees involved. If you’re interested in a consultancy session, feel free to connect with our team.