How to Make Your Nonprofit Employees Happy

For nonprofit organizations, human capital – the availability of talented, reliable employees – is an indispensable resource.

By fine-tuning recruitment techniques, nonprofits can ensure that their missions are being pursued on an individual basis by motivated and hardworking employees, resulting in an overall more effective organization.

In an effective employee management plan, recruitment in only the first step. Nonprofits have limited resources available for screening, interviewing, onboarding, and training new employees; this makes employee retention critical for nonprofits seeking to avoid unsustainable rates of turnover.

When developing an effective recruitment and retention strategy, it is important to remember the following:

  • Hire based on the demands of a role. An impressive academic background and technical expertise can be impressive during an interview, but skills like the ability to set priorities and make decisions can be equally if not more important in determining someone’s actual work performance.
  • Emphasize mission, vision and values from day one. Nonprofit employees are motivated by more than salary. Mission, vision and values should be clearly communicated as part of every employee’s onboarding process.
  • Define performance standards. Make sure that employees know how their work is recognized and evaluated. Good performance should be acknowledged and rewarded; bad performance should be dealt with appropriately – not to punish, but to reform.
  • Recognize employee motivations. Employers tend to think that employees are motivated by wages, promotions and job security. While these are motivating factors for employees, personal motivations – feeling appreciated and like they are “in” on things – often are more important to determining satisfaction.