Following the initial effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, which included significant layoffs and furloughs, the work world grew terrified that workers would start to voluntarily leave their jobs en masse.

This was, in part, due to the ominous prediction of professor of management Anthony Klotz, “The great resignation is coming.”[1] Interestingly, Klotz appears to have left his previous position at Texas A&M for a presumably more prestigious position at University College London’s School of Management. But regardless of Klotz’s own change in employment, his term caught on and has held a steady spot in the news cycle since early 2021. While it’s a catchy phrase, it does not accurately depict what has been happening—certainly not in the nonprofit sector.

Here in the United States, the so-called Great Resignation involved a record 4 million Americans quitting their jobs in April 2021,[2] followed by an approximate 3.9 million in June 2021. By August, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, 65 percent of employees said they were looking for a new job, and by November, the country’s “quit rate reached a 20-year high.”[3] And although these statistics might imply that Klotz was right on the money, they could also indicate that American workers are refusing to resign themselves to churning and burning with no end in sight.

That is, the reasons behind people leaving their jobs (importantly: to look for better employment—no eternal vacations here) seemed to center on the realization that their employment failed to offer what they needed. According to Pew Research Center[3], the top drivers behind the exodus include low pay, lack of advancement opportunities, and feeling disrespected at work. Roughly half of the people surveyed also cited childcare issues or lack of flexibility to choose their hours, followed by having good benefits, such as health insurance and paid time off—both of which the pandemic threw into stark relief.

Certainly, these factors cut across both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. However, in the nonprofit world, there are other factors at play—factors that point even more toward a great re-evaluation rather than resignation.

While challenging for the sector to navigate, this re-evaluation has been a positive shift and, quite frankly, one that’s been a long time coming. The collective demand of the workforce has pressured nonprofit organizations to raise the bar in what they offer to current (and prospective) employees. In fact, savvy organizations should pay attention to three key areas in order to attract, retain, and grow their staff.

  1. Offering Better Compensation
  2. Posting Real Job Descriptions
  3. Creating a Culture of Belonging

Read the full article about the great resignation by Victoria Silverman at Blue Avocado.