If you have an employee who is one of the 34% of communications staff looking for a new job, we have some ideas on how to keep them around.
According to our 2023 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report, two factors seem to help nonprofits retain employees.
1. A Commitment to Growing the Communications Team
Forty-one percent (41%) of survey participants on small teams of two-three staff said they would seek a new job in 2023. An extraordinary 80% said they want to leave because they have no room for advancement with their current employer.
Compare that to larger teams, where only 24% said they would be seeking a new job in 2023, even though 50% don’t see room for advancement.
This is also reinforced by Nonprofit HR’s 2022 Nonprofit Talent Retention Practices Survey which reported that one of the most commonly reported reasons for voluntary employee turnover was lack of opportunity for upward mobility/career growth.
We’ve been advocating against one-person communications shops for quite some time. Way back in our 2017 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report, we found that communications effectiveness increases dramatically when you reach 3 FTE on communications. (You can find all of our Trends Reports in the Free Member Resource Library)
2. Decision Making Authority on Workloads
Communications directors who feel like they are guiding the marketing strategy of the organization and not subject to the whims of other senior leaders are much more likely to love their jobs.
Of the 34% who said they were looking for a new job in 2023, 78% said it’s difficult or very difficult to say no when a supervisor makes a work request. This is another huge number.
We see four big reasons why communications staff need the ability to say No to work requests: Conclusions, Capacity, Conflict, and Confusion. (Kivi went into this more in Why Communications Staff Need the Ability to Say No)
In that same 2017 Trends Report I mentioned above, we found that Integrated and Centralized teams outperform the Internal Agency and CEO Led teams on the majority of effectiveness indicators. Neither Internal Agency nor CEO Led teams allow for the content strategy to be in the hands of the communications staff. (See more on the four models)
So not only do these two factors affect the retention of your employees, they also affect your overall effectiveness.
How can you start to implement these changes with your communications staff?
You can read all about our findings on nonprofit communications jobs including salary info and budget size in our FREE 2023 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report.