Addressing Nonprofit Staff Turnover With Technology Training
You’ve probably heard colleagues talking about the high rate of staff turnover in the industry. Pinpointing that rate seems to be tricky, especially over the past few years, as multiple studies and articles cite different turnover rates and predictions for the future.
No matter what the rate really is, staff turnover is clearly on the minds of nonprofit professionals. Articles about topics such as finding the workers an organization needs and why nonprofits should make peace with turnover are making headlines.
You might be seeing effects of the Great Resignation at your organization. On top of that, you might find that economic inflation now means tighter budgets and possible layoffs or hiring freezes for your nonprofit. So, what can you do to adapt? How can you continue to tackle the work that needs to be done to achieve your organization’s mission?
One thing you might not have thought about is how your approach to technology training can impact employee satisfaction and efficiency as well as staff turnover. Here are two things to consider:
- Productivity. As new workers come on board, they are more likely to be more productive and faster if they can get up to speed quickly on your organization’s technology and related processes. (Note: When employees do leave your organization, it’s also important to have processes in place to remove their access to your technology systems immediately to ensure there is no unauthorized access to your systems.)
- Job satisfaction. Staff members are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs (and stick around longer) if they feel confident using your organization’s technology and if they know where to go when they have questions about how to use it or they want to learn how to use it better.
Despite the potential positive impact on staff turnover, improving technology training at your nonprofit might seem like just another project you don’t have time to tackle. But it can be relatively easy if you turn to the right resources. Here are three examples.
1. Check With Your Technology Platform Vendors
Most technology vendors offer a variety of resources to help your staff learn more about how to use their products. Here are a few examples.
Many of these types of training, especially the basic ones, are free to customers and offer a quick and convenient way for your staff to better understand how to use your organization’s software to complete daily tasks. Staff can also take refresher courses or uplevel their skills as needed. Find out more about your on-demand training options, and encourage your team to take advantage of what’s available.
Many software vendors include basic customer support with their products. One of my personal favorites is online chat systems. Even if a platform starts with a chat bot, you can often quickly talk to an actual support person via chat. Some offer additional customer support options. Depending on your organization’s needs, it can be worth it to upgrade your customer support level to ensure your team has the support they need when they need it.
For user self-service, many software products offer help functionality in which you can search for answers to common questions directly in the software. Make sure your staff knows about this option if it’s available, and encourage them to use it.
Online User Community
If your software vendor offers an online user community, consider getting more involved with it. This is an ideal place for your staff to ask questions, learn from other users and even share knowledge with others in the community.
Many larger software vendors hold annual user conferences, and some offer an affordable and convenient online attendance option. These events are often excellent places to get additional training, learn tips and best practices for optimizing your technology, in addition to becoming a more engaged member of the user community.
2. Talk to Your Client Success Manager
If you aren’t sure what learning and support options are available to your organization, check with your client success manager at your technology vendor. For most major nonprofit technology vendors, this person will be able to point you to the available resources that will meet your staff’s specific needs.
3. Get Custom Training and Support
Sometimes you might need more online training and support than software vendors provide. For example, you might have a highly configured or customized implementation of the technology. In this case, consider working with one of your software vendor’s service partners. Most vendors’ service partners can provide added help for your staff, such as:
- Custom training to help your staff better understand how the product works within your organization’s specific implementation.
- User support for when your staff has questions, such as how to complete a specific task or how to make a change in the software.
- Staff support when you need an extra set of hands to get day-to-day work done.
Technology training and support for your team can make a positive impact on staff productivity and employee satisfaction. Take the time to review your training and support program, and make sure you have the right levels in place for your organization.
Mark founded Cathexis Partners in 2008 to help nonprofit organizations get the most from their existing technology tools, implement new technology to address gaps and find the best overall approach to using technology to support their missions. He previously served as director of IT consulting at a fundraising event production company focused on nonprofits.
Mark also serves on the editorial advisory board for NonProfit PRO, where he contributes monthly to his blog, “Nonprofit Tech Matters.”