By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest
All organizations face retention and turnover problems. It can be difficult to properly manage an organization that can’t keep its staff for long periods of time, particularly if the work is mundane or particularly difficult.
Volunteer emergency agencies also face turnover and retention issues. The work is often intense and requires a great deal of training.
It is difficult to keep volunteers motivated and wanting to help out, particularly if the volunteers already have full-time jobs. The managers and leaders of such volunteer agencies need to carefully evaluate how their organizations measure up through systematic surveys of their volunteers.
In-House Surveys Help Managers Spot Organizational Problems Early
Surveys help volunteer organizations to locate and resolve any deficiencies and to strengthen their retention strategies before volunteers decide to move on. A high turnover rate is a clear sign that an organization has problems.
Four reasons why employees leave an organization are:
- Employees are motivated by higher pay
- Employees are bored
- Employees are not engaged
- Employees are poorly managed
Corporate employees will not want to leave an organization if they are happy with their work. The same is true for volunteers. They are willing to give up their free time if they are happy doing their work.
Don’t Wait until the Mass Exodus Occurs
There are various factors that can create mass employee exoduses – like companies that suddenly shut down or lay off large numbers of workers. A mass exodus is often a sign that something is going on in a work environment that managers need to uncover.
Waiting for the mass exodus to begin is never a good time for an organization to evaluate policies. In many respects, it is often too late to begin evaluating if the organization has a problem. Instead, managers should evaluate their programs on a regular basis to make sure their volunteers are satisfied with their situation.
Volunteer organizations should regularly examine their internal climate and solicit information that could improve the organization. In the process, managers might gain valuable information.
Volunteer organizations deal with many different factors involving recruitment and retention. Emergency managers have to come up with creative solutions to help recruit volunteers and keep emergency agencies operational.