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Why advancement employees leave (and how leaders can fix it)

March 24, 2023

Recent turnover in higher ed is historic and expansive. From advancement to enrollment to student success, thousands of leaders in the industry are looking for ways to fill roles or restructure just to maintain operations. But beyond structure, how are we making our office culture better for those involved?

There are various methods you can use to cope with the advancement talent crisis, but addressing your workplace culture head-on can help you improve retention both immediately and over time.

Here are four strategies that you can use to retain talent and help them develop meaningful careers.

Start with equitable compensation

Compensation is employees’ most-cited reason for leaving advancement and among the top reasons for quitting jobs overall. Pay gaps and low compensation are not only frustrating; they can contribute to burnout. As a manager, it’s important to be proactive in addressing hidden pay gaps to ensure equity among your team. This not only fosters a more inclusive work environment but also increases morale. In my experience, those who receive equitable pay adjustments are thankful for the increase – but they are even more grateful that you researched and addressed it proactively.

Improving morale for even one employee can have a domino effect. In addition to base salary improvements, EAB research shows that performance-based incentives can contribute positively to employee morale and overall success. And beyond financial incentives, non-monetary incentives like flexible work schedules, remote work opportunities, additional time off, and professional development opportunities can help engage staff while rewarding them for accomplishments.

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