Nonprofit Network Blog

Need to Sustain and Building to Grow

Thursday, January 20, 2022 11:44 AM | Tracey Wilson (Administrator)


Brett Heflin
Capacity Builder

As we navigate the complexity of the The Great Resignation, organizations are increasingly asking of themselves if they are internally constructed to address the current needs of the organization and stay the course. However, it can be a daunting task to evaluate the current policies and structures as they exist while considering the potential for growth and retention of valuable employees. When taking stock of the policies and procedures contained within internal manuals and bylaws, the critical importance of questioning efficacy and culture spring to the forefront of Human Resource planning.

A dominant factor in explorations of why so very many employees are choosing to leave their positions are quality of life considerations and a balance between work and life. Priorities for organizations need to be explored and practices that may have been viewed as out of the ordinary accommodations are now considered a matter of course. Harkening back to the foundational documents of nonprofit organizations, the Mission, Vision, and Values that form the origin and commitment of the effort are more important than ever.

Is it more important that the work toward goals and objectives be accomplished or how it is completed? Adjusting job descriptions, roles, and responsibilities to reflect current technological advances and trends as well as safety protocols is a step in the right direction for weathering the storm and charting a path for success. Reviewing policies with an eye for potential revision to account for these shifts is a current best practice. Reinvigorating policy and procedure will not only promote compliance and understanding of pre-existing regulation but speaks well to both prospective new-hires and current employees of the organization’s commitment to their well-being.

Organizations that value diversity and inclusion are much better positioned to attract talent and retain employees than those who do not maintain a higher level of commitment to these principles. Avoiding restrictive traditional guidelines for recruitment and embracing new talent pools with non-traditional qualifications increases the potential for attracting top talent. There are many reports of job descriptions and desired qualifications that are unreasonable and restrictive. Job seeker boards contain many cautionary tales like requiring seven years of experience programming in a computer code that has not existed that long. Also being exposed are physical requirements or travel expectations that are not actually necessary and only exist as a part of the boilerplate description because nobody removed them.

Remote work, flexible hours, childcare programs, technical and financial assistance, and a focus on relevant skill rather than degree completion have all been measures that successfully adaptive organizations use as tools to achieve their mission. If employees are respected and treated as people and teammates first rather than means to an end, their view of themselves and the organization is positively influenced. Rather than considering recruiting a new member of the organization, there is merit to developing training and advancement opportunities for existing employees to grow along with the nonprofit and build upon their experiences. Creating meaningful work within a nonprofit organization can be accomplished by focusing on leadership opportunities, inherent strengths, and the avoidance of marginalizing influence. Employees who are tasked with only duties befitting a “cog in the machine” are seeking more meaningful roles in growing numbers.


Caring for the mission of a nonprofit entails care for those who commit to bringing it to fruition. Avoiding bias in conscious and subconscious actions in how current employees are empowered and in seeking new teammates. Are requirements such as an applicant possessing a vehicle or computer, truly necessary or do they serve as an antiquated barrier to recruiting valuable talent? Taking the opportunity to explore current Human Resource practices can be the difference between finding a valuable new teammate and unintentionally causing them to reject the recruiting process before it begins. This opportunity to self-evaluate Human Resource structures and strategies can help to retain the talent nonprofits depend upon by demonstrating cultural care. Whether it is a new employee or a current teammate, if the organization values them, HR policies and practices should speak volumes to that effect.

Come learn more.
Join Brett at his new workshop 
"Human Resources 101: 2022 and Beyond"  ~ Thursday Jan. 27th at 10 AM!


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