In February of 2020, I had the pleasure of attending the AMCI annual conference in Long Beach, CA with three of my co-workers. We were meeting other people in our industry, making genuine connections, and full of excitement at what the future would look like. Less than four weeks later the world changed. That’s right, another post about Covid-19, but hear me out.
Nonprofit Resources is a fully virtual company. Our staff was faced with the hurdles many working from home encountered: no childcare, online learning, mask mandates, quarantines, and closures. However, watching the world have to adapt and move to remote work was interesting and not on the list of things that kept us up at night. We were fortunate.
Now eighteen months later, I receive frequent emails with subject lines like “The Great Resignation” and “Re-Onboarding Employees”. Why is this? Did everyone get a taste of work from home and aren’t willing to commit to long commutes and real clothes every day? Or maybe the changes of the past year have made us all reconsider what our quality of life and work life balance should look like. Be that as it may, there are businesses that cannot continue working fully remote, and need to bring workers back in. Whether you are a private owned company or a nonprofit you may face the challenge of retaining staff in person or at home, there are things we can do.
According to the Forbes Nonprofit Council, there are fifteen practices that employers should weave into their hiring efforts. Here are a few that stood out to me.
- Prioritize diversity
At NPR we have a DE&I Task force that not only develops, but also promotes strategies and best practices
“We must remain innovative in our hiring and promoting by hiring diverse employees with diverse skill sets who are eager to learn and develop. In my opinion, a successful organization is one that can retain staff and build from within. Creating a strong volunteer and intern base with the option to grow into a paid position based on performance and reaching set goals is another great opportunity.” – Capri Bell, I Will Survive, Inc.
2. Invest in your culture
We recently participated in a staff retreat that I left feeling connected and recharged for the upcoming year. Knowing that the President of the company is personally invested in each employee gives the team a higher purpose.
“Double down on investing in your culture. The right culture (a great culture) helps you keep the people you want and attract the people you need. When in doubt, focus on corporate culture!” – Dustin Rubeck, CDF Capital
3. Create clarity around your vision
Every employee needs to understand the role they play and where we are headed. We all need to row in the same direction.
4. Offer Flexibility, kindness, and support
“What separates you from the competition? Why? When we answer these questions, we create a competitive edge when acquiring talent. Being flexible, accommodating, supportive and collaborative provides an attractive work environment. Remember the golden rule of how we treat people—they will treat the organization the same.” – Aaron Alejandro, Texas FFA Foundation
5. CONSIDER CONTRACT WORKERS
Having captive employees isn’t for everyone. The NPR staffing model gives nonprofits the opportunity to stretch their limited budgets into a full office including graphics designers, bookkeeping, event management, consulting, and marketing.
What does your company do well? Where is there room for improvement?
As we are all emerging from the pandemic, we know that the pandemic has changed the way that we work. Some of these changes will be short-term and others more long-lasting. But change is not always a bad thing. It can be an opportunity to reflect on it is important, what is working, and areas that you can improve. We’d love to talk with you about how your nonprofit organization has been impacted and some the ways that you can adapt sustainably.
“Virtually every business has discovered new things, both good and bad, about themselves over the last 10 months, but the smartest ones will have used the time to also ask new and different questions of themselves.” said Joseph B. Fuller, professor of management practice and co-founder of Managing the Future of Work project at HBS.