Batter Up: Navigating the Nonprofit Talent Journey
The freshly cut grass glistens in the morning sun, a light coating of dew is on your cleats as you trudge from the dugout to the plate — it’s the top of the first, and you’re ready to hit a home run for your nonprofit. The talent journey begins.
Adding a new team member to your nonprofit comes along with a variety of considerations. Will they be a good fit for your organization’s culture? What strengths can they bring to the team? Will their contributions move the needle? Don’t worry. Your management and human resources teams have your back and are ready to make your nonprofit’s next hire a grand slam.
Every step of the talent journey — acquisition, onboarding, development, engagement, and retention — presents an opportunity for your nonprofit to make an impact and invest in its most significant resource: its employees.
The acquisition stage of the talent journey typically begins at a job board, advances to an interview and culminates in an offer. Like most of the journey, this isn’t a one-sided effort. Your nonprofit will be evaluating potential hires, and prospective talent will be evaluating the organization. First impressions are very important. It’s up to your HR department and the hiring manager to create a detailed job listing, ask thoughtful, insightful interview questions and be upfront and honest in answering applicants’ questions about the position.
An organization that hasn’t modernized its hiring practices will see that reflected in the quality of the talent it attracts. Software that manages open positions and allows you to track the roles for which you’re recruiting is critical — the days of manually managing HR processes are behind us. Leveraging automation, self-service portals and advanced reporting tools helps your HR team work smarter, not harder.
After identifying candidates and conducting interviews, your HR software should compile the data from that process into a database for team members to review and assess as they consider hiring decisions. If you extend an offer to the candidate, that review becomes a baseline employee evaluation.
Acquiring new talent can be resource- and labor-intensive, but investing in it and approaching it in a mindful way will lead to a win for your team.
Onboarding and Development
Once your new teammate puts on the uniform for the first time, you must get them out on the field to meet the rest of the team. SHRM has found that a good onboarding process improves new hire retention by 82% and is a significant indicator of increased productivity.
The onboarding timeline is not one-size-fits-all. You’ll generally introduce the new hire to various members of the team, discuss aspects of executing the role and provide information about the organization, but the onboarding process isn't complete. Instead, onboarding transforms into career development as your new teammate starts to grow within the organization.
When people feel supported, they support your mission that much more. Employees are your organization’s most valuable players. When you invest in your team, you are making an investment in them doing their best to reach more constituents and accomplish your mission.
Here, your nonprofit should turn to technology. Automating the traditional steps of the onboarding process, including submitting necessary employee information, benefit elections, healthcare options, diversity data and other information through a self-service portal, frees up your HR professionals to focus on dedicating their energy to assisting your new hire however possible.
When your HR software integrates with your accounting software, the benefits multiply. For example, the HR software can report hours worked into your finance team’s payroll and direct deposit software to ensure your new teammate gets their first paycheck on time.
Getting the most out of talent development involves keeping employees engaged and empowering them to do their jobs on an ongoing basis. Giving them the technology they need to succeed is crucial. If and when a potential trade offer is presented, the employee that feels empowered is more likely to stay with your team.
Engagement and Retention
Nonprofit work is challenging but rewarding. To reduce some of the challenges, you want to make sure your team has the tools they need to succeed in their jobs and the support they need to feel positive at the end of each day.
An easy way that leading organizations engage employees is by making self-service portals available. Today, portals are a fundamental expectation. For benefit elections, vacation/paid leave plans, time tracking or expense claims, employee engagement is about empowering people to access, submit and manage their data, and as an added bonus, this eases the administrative workload for HR.
Another way to engage and ultimately retain employees is to thoughtfully examine emotional intelligence at your organization. Your leadership team may consider revisiting time-off policies to include provisions for mental health and self-care; actively promoting a healthy work-life balance; implementing recognition programs; and opening up channels that facilitate people feeling valued, heard and supported.
Partnering with your team members throughout the talent journey goes beyond giving them the tools to do fantastic work. Benefits that underscore your values should exist. Your nonprofit reaps the benefits of retaining talent, and you’ll be successful in going all the way.
Neil Taurins is the general manager of nonprofit solutions at Community Brands. He has been with the company for more than 12 years and is passionate about working with nonprofits to provide them with solutions to improve efficiency and better help them accomplish their mission.