One Important Thing You Can Do For Staff

Right now, there are more open roles in the nonprofit sector than active job seekers.

The result?

A nonprofit market with selective candidates. And, with this recent role reversal, employers find themselves under the microscope.

But, now a new focus is in the spotlight. As employee treatment has taken center stage in the American job market.

For employers, this means going beyond competitive offers. But yet, the ability to capture candidates with a heart-first approach.

How can you do this?

By focusing on how people feel.

This is about the recruiting process. And the little details we take for granted.

It’s also about the questions we sometimes forget to ask. Especially, when looking at our big picture.

It may be as simple as asking if our greetings are genuine. Or, if our follow-ups are timely to candidates. How about our office and lobby? Is it warm and inviting? How would you feel if you stepped into this unknown space?

It’s seldom these questions get asked. But, at times when candidate find themselves in deep in the stresses of the interview process, this kind of comfort matters more than ever.

But don’t let us fool you.

This heart-first approach continues well after the candidate’s respective hiring date. Organizations must highlight how they offer work-life balance, growth and professional development opportunities, and show how they value their staff.

At Careers In Nonprofits, we know that once you hire a great new staff member, you want to keep them. You also probably have employees on your team right now that you want to retain.

Your mission is crucial.  Your staff is vital.
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So, with job seekers in the driver’s seat, what else CAN you do as an employer to keep your best staff?

Well, first off, employers feel they miss out on keeping top talent because they cannot offer a competitive salary.

But, although raises are important, employees are looking to managers to have a huge part in their professional development and career growth.

So often, we hear how our clients have limited capacity with no means to hire. We like to ask those clients if they are taking time to speak with their current staff about projects they would like to take on. Therefore they begin to identify more ways to delegate and increase their own capacity.

It’s simple. Yet, not always understood.

Taking the time to slow down and converse with staff about career aspirations and interests can change the course of action we take as employers and/or managers. Are you making assumptions about any of your staff? Are you guessing that there are certain tasks they have no interest in?

Even if they haven’t done similar work previously, there may be no harm in letting them take a stab at a new project or ownership of implementing a new initiative. These results show that investing more time vs. investing more money in our staff can help increase retention rates and keep our staff happily engaged.

While training staff and investing in their growth may take time, it is that time we take as employers and managers to devote to our staff that helps up keep them happily engaged in their roles. For instance, do managers at your organization know how to talk to staff about their career goals? If not, suggest they read a book or an article that will tell them how.

If you’ve been “in the biz” of fundraising for over 10 years, it may be worth it to share that insider, institutional knowledge with your team through a one-or two-hour staff training. Time is needed to plan it, but the return is much greater and your staff will be so thankful for the (cost-saving) investment you made in them. It is a win-win when staff develops a new skill set.

With all of the options we have to increase retention, let’s break it down a little further – best practice by best practice:

A manager who is involved in my career growth: More than ever, it is crucial that managers invest time in their staff. Good managers will understand the strengths and weaknesses of their employees, seeing both as opportunities to manage and develop a team that will meet the needs of their division and their organization. Training does take time, but time spent on the front end ultimately helps managers develop a productive team in the long-run.

Managers should also be fully trained and aware of how important conversations with their staff around career growth and development are. In our Career Mapping workshops, we teach professionals how to land their dream job by working through exercises and setting clear short and long-term goals that will help them get to where they want to be.

While it is on the professional him/herself to create a Career Map and take these steps into their own hands, managers can play a large part in this process, too. Managers should ask their staff what their long-term career and personal goals are and work with their staff to help them create their dream job, while also meeting the needs of the organization. Does your employee want to move into your position one day? Does he/she want to buy a house? Learn how to manage an effective fundraising campaign? Good managers know these goals.

Additionally, it is on the employer to properly train their managers, ensuring that supervisors have the knowledge and “know-how” when it comes to rewarding good performance and, even more importantly, sharing critical feedback with staff on areas of improvement. Organizations should not only look to the employee that has the most tenure or experience for managerial roles.

According to Gallup, only 10% of working people possess the talent to be a manager. So, how are you assessing employees that you promote to management roles? It’s important to have a quality interview process (even when promoting an internal employee) in this area because, as the results show, a manager who is involved is key in retaining top talent.

Need additional help retaining your talent?


Request staffing help from Careers In Nonprofits today.