Redesigning the Nonprofit Workplace




If you’ve been around the world of work for any length of time, you’ve likely heard this line touted a time or two, “In a knowledge-based economy, an organization’s people are its most important asset. Knowledge exists within the minds of people, after all. When people leave an organization, so does their knowledge.

Attracting and Retaining Talent

Throughout the last 15 to 20 years, we’ve seen much of the corporate world recognize the need to attract and retain the most talented workforce, and they’ve done this by creating people-friendly workplaces and employment practices. Companies have shifted from compliance-based human resource policies to efforts that value their “human capital.” Directors of HR have become Chief People Officers, marking not only a shift to thinking of employees as people (not resources), but also a shift that places HR at the senior-most leadership table. Employee engagement, job satisfaction and workplace culture surveys abound. Internal branding and employer value propositions are commonplace. Companies are eager to be recognized as one of the “best places to work.”

With all of the attention the corporate sector has placed on its collective workplace, we wanted to know: does this trend extend to the nonprofit workplace? The verdict: it does not appear so. Mission Capital’s recent human capital survey of nonprofits in Central Texas points to a collective nonprofit workplace in need of attention.

Social Sector Struggles

Top concerns from the survey of 295 Central Texas nonprofit professionals: compensation and benefits at their organizations are lacking. While this might be expected in the nonprofit workplace, it’s not the whole story. Other areas of the nonprofit workplace experience are in need of attention. Nonprofit employees are looking for growth and advancement opportunities, increased organizational communication, and senior leaders to step up their leadership competencies.

The most compelling data we found in our survey shows only 28% of respondents reported that they are 100% committed to working in the nonprofit sector.

If nonprofits in our community do not adequately address employee engagement issues, and our people aren’t 100 percent committed to staying in the sector, we risk losing the future leaders that we need to solve the big problems in our community. It’s time we redesigned the nonprofit workplace to meet the needs of our workforce. And we must do it in a way that is not just focused on compliance-based human resources—but seeks to create workplaces that truly meet the needs of our workforce.

Kick start your employee retention and engagement efforts by attending our upcoming learning experience: Teams & Talent Intensive: Creating Your Employee Engagement Plan on November 3rd.

Further Reading on Developing Talent in the Nonprofit Workplace:

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