In the nonprofit sector, the ability to successfully engage employees should have a much larger effect on organizational outcomes. Leaders of nonprofits know that their employees do better work when they are motivated, appreciated, and in line with their missions. Engagement is a key factor in how well and long people stay at nonprofits. When workers are interested in what they do, they are more likely to be productive and happy with their jobs. In turn, this leads to better work, more loyalty to your company, and less staff turnover.
Employee Engagement in Nonprofit Organizations
Employee engagement is how strongly employees feel mentally and emotionally connected to their work, teams, and the nonprofit organization as a whole. Engaged employees are more productive and willing to go the extra mile for their employers. They do this by coming to work with energy, dedication, and focus.
Why is it Necessary?
Employee engagement is lower in nonprofits than in other industries. Among the best nonprofit organizations, nonprofit employees still remain the least engaged. The turnover rate in the nonprofit industry is 19%, while it is 12% across other industries. When nonprofits lose employees, program results go down, and operations slow down. High employee turnover rates and job openings put pressure on the staff still there, leading to burnout. It costs a lot to find and train new employees, which drives operational costs higher. High turnover hurts our communities, especially those who depend on nonprofits for basic services. This problem affects everyone who works in the nonprofit sector, government, philanthropy, and our communities.
Increasing employee engagement is about increasing productivity, and companies with a high level of engagement report 22% higher productivity. Employees who care about their job and their boss are more productive because they are driven by things other than their own needs. They are more focused and driven than people who aren't interested. This means they work better and with the nonprofit organization's success in mind.
Measuring Employee Engagement
It's important to find out how engaged your staff is. How can you manage and improve the levels of your employees if you don't know where they are now and don't have a baseline? Employee engagement surveys are made to determine how engaged and motivated your workers are to do their best work daily. These surveys show employers what their employees think and feel about their jobs and the workplace. You can also find out what might stop your employees from doing their best work. Taking steps over time to improve your key engagement drivers will make your employees more productive and your nonprofit more profitable.
A communication audit is a thorough look at how your nonprofit organization communicates. It is feedback from your stakeholders to find out what's working, what's not, and where improvements can be made. The result is a full set of findings and useful suggestions that can be used to make changes and plan for the future.
Connection to the Mission
Employee engagement requires a connection to the mission, which seems to go without saying for people who work for nonprofits. Leaders work hard to ensure that the nonprofit organization's mission, values, and culture, as well as how each employee's work fits into the larger mission.
Nonprofit Workers and Leadership Relationships
Trust among employees is built on the foundation of good leadership. Good leaders know that some of their most important jobs are to give support, give feedback, and recognize their employees' hard work. Good leaders know themselves and can look at themselves objectively to see if they are setting a good example for the rest of the team. Leaders will be much closer to having a fully engaged team in good and bad times if they first act the way they want their team members to act.
Support for Nonprofit Employees
Appropriate Supplies and Technology
Technology in the workplace keeps making it easier for nonprofit organizations to talk to their employees. Technology can also help you grow your organization faster and more efficiently. With tools like virtual technology, social networking, and online portals, there are no limits to how many employees can be involved. Technology also gives employees more freedom, reduces duplication, speeds up work, and helps customers feel like they are a part of the company. All of these things are good for keeping employees engaged.
Today, more nonprofit organizations understand how important empathy is. It works both ways. All parties involved are asked to try to show understanding and compassion. Everyone has an interest in making the workplace a good place to work. Empathy naturally boosts employee engagement and overall results that add value. Empathy also makes people more interested in their job. Everyone needs to feel and show empathy no matter where they are in life. In many ways, empathy makes people more engaged at work. Some examples are trust, ownership, longevity, results, and new ideas. Empathy makes people more likely to get involved, which makes them more productive and benefits the nonprofit organization and other employees around them.
The customer is always right. However, customers are also people, and people can be biased and act badly, which can cause problems for employers. If your employer knows of a problem, they should protect you from racist, sexist, or unfair customers or clients. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 says that employers must ensure their workplaces are free of harassment. This includes ensuring that employees aren't harassed. Employers must take action if someone breaks discrimination laws.
Adequate Professional Development
Professional development means continuing education and training for a job after a person has started working. This helps them learn new skills, keep up with trends, and move up in their career.
The three things that make people productive can be unlocked with the right training. When employees take the right professional development courses, their skills naturally improve. You'll also feel good about giving them bigger tasks and projects because you'll know they're ready for the challenge. And, of course, chances to grow also make people more motivated. Putting professional development training into place is a simple way to reach happiness and productivity goals. Your employees want to do great work for your company, so it makes sense to help them get better at what they do.
Mental Wellness and Breaks
Business is finally paying attention to mental health and burnout, and it couldn't have come at a better time. Employees are more stressed out due to the Covid pandemic. Companies now see a record 70% burnout rate, and nearly half of U.S. workers deal with mental health problems. When you give your employees a simple wellness program at work, they will have a better experience and be more engaged.
Most people who work for nonprofits want to be involved and productive at their jobs to make a difference in the world. But they can only do that if the place where they work makes it easy for them to be engaged and productive. It's simple: give your employees everything they need to succeed and grow, and they'll have every reason to keep working hard in the future.