5 employee retention strategies for NFP and NDIS providers

4-minute read – Workforce Planning Series – Employee Retention

The 2019 NDS survey indicates many NDIS providers are suffering from skills shortages. And we know this extends to many Not-For-Profit healthcare organisations too.

There are just not enough people to get the job done!

What this results in, is high competition for the best people in an industry, and, as can be read in the survey case studies, threats of employee poaching.

Earlier in 2020, we spoke with recruitment expert, Madeline Hill from Randstad, who provided valuable guidance related to NDIS recruitment and attraction strategies.

But with extra help in demand, and poaching not an uncommon complaint, how do you hold onto the great employees you already have?

1. Open communication and listening: a sign of good leadership

Strong leaders are often more likely to retain good employees.


Because good employees recognise the value of a senior manager who leads effectively and treats their people well.

A key starting point for any retention strategy is enabling open communication between existing employees and senior leaders, to ensure those who are making decisions are aware of the needs of the people who work for them.

But communication isn’t enough. Enabling employees to have their say, is not enough!

Employees need to feel valued, and this comes partly from knowing they have been listened to, respected and that their feedback has been take on board.

Implement clear, accessible and unintimidating channels of communication for all employees, and report back regularly on the actions you have taken in response to their feedback.

2. Employee retention comes from offering real opportunities

Very few people start a career to stay at the bottom.

Most human beings aren’t very good at stagnation.

We need to move, to learn, to expand and grow.

In addition to this being true for our lives, it is also true for our work.

In interviewing frontline NDIS workers recently, one of the primary shared complaints of participants was a lack of training and growth opportunities within their organisations.

These workers felt stagnant and trapped, like they had no way to move up or move forward, and similarly, that their income was also stuck.

Employee retention is supported by enabling employees to grow and flourish with your organisation.

Training and career progression aren’t just ‘nice-to-haves’ if you plan to keep your top-performing employees. They are necessities.

3. Get the right people at the outset

One of the ways you can significantly improve employee retention is simply by employing the right people in the first place. We say ‘simple’, but it really isn’t that easy, is it?

Madeline advised that NDIS and related NFPs should be targeting their recruitment and employer brand at people who have the traits most likely to make it in the roles advertised.

For example, if you are looking for carers, most can learn or upskill what they need to, but if they don’t have the right compassion, patience and empathy, they may not last as long.

This is all about employer branding and your recruitment strategies.

First, your employer brand should clearly indicate the type of company yours is: the culture, the people, leadership and the way you treat clients.

Second, your recruitment materials should use imagery, headings and wording that really indicate not just the skills, but the type of person who will be appointed, and who will succeed in the role.

4. Position your salaries AND benefits

Madeline also reminded us that employees can be swayed towards a company with lower salaries, if the perceived benefits are really appealing.

She used the example of airline companies that offer quite comparatively low salaries for professionals, but win hearts and minds of adventurers with free or discounted travel as a benefit.

The challenge is, if those benefits don’t stack up once they are on the books, they may be more easily stolen away.

Develop a strong benefits package and ensure it is clear and easy to access by employees once they are a part of your company.

5. Employ the right managers

If you look at human resources research, one of the most common reasons people leave an employer is because of a manager (or managers).

This is right up there with location, flexibility, career progression and remuneration.

A manager is an employee’s first point of contact for both the good and bad aspects of their job.

They should help celebrate when their team has a victory, or at least acknowledge extra effort or great results.

They are also the first in line if there is any conflict. Unfortunately, they can also be the reason for the conflict.

Just because someone is good at their day-to-day tasks, does not mean, if promoted, they will make a good manager. Before auto-promoting, assess your employees for their leadership qualities.

Do they have strong emotional intelligence? Empathy? Are they good listeners? Are they prone to feeling threatened? How do they take feedback? Can they share a win?

If someone has the right qualities, then assess them for their skill.

So many people are promoted into manager roles, but never trained to be a manager!

Ensure you empower them to be the best manager possible, by sending them to training that will equip them with the right tools.

In a skills-short market, so many organisations get tied up in attraction strategies, when solid employee retention strategies could help them keep the great people they have and save a lot of money in rehiring costs.

When developing workforce planning for your organisation, don’t forget to include the many practices that can help keep an employee happy, engaged, challenged and feeling valued.

Photo by Arlington Research on Unsplash

VisiCase provides an NDIS-ready business automation platform, built on powerful workflows. It helps you manage, streamline and optimise every component of your business, and its modules empower a positive employee and client experience.

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