Nonprofit Network Blog

Do You Have Who You Need?

Wednesday, August 04, 2021 12:00 PM | Katena Cain (Administrator)



Katena Cain
Nonprofit Management Consultant



Re-thinking How To Build The Team You Need

Nonprofits require highly qualified and capable people to deliver on the promise of their mission.  Post Covid, Nonprofits are struggling more than ever to find the talent they need. 

Making sure you are attractive to job seekers and creating a "hire well" system is critical. Committed, motivated, qualified employees help your organization achieve its purpose. Every employee has an impact on company culture— which in turn attracts more prospective employees. Understanding this and the way employees can change culture for the better is key for employers who want a strong pipeline of diverse talent.

Millennials and Gen Z are the most diverse generations in U.S. history and are made up of the highest representation of minorities to date.  These generations expect inclusion of all people and seek out employers who share their values.  However, that doesn't mean the hunt for diversity should be largely different from the typical recruiting process. 

Here are several strategies and trends to help attract - and retain - quality employees because we are aware Covid-19 has changed the game.  

The pandemic has increased the expanded role of employers in their employees financial, physical and mental well-being.  Consider expanding and enhancing sick leave, financial assistance (are you able to provide pay-day loans?) and adjusting hours of operation. 

Its more critical than ever to humanize employees.  The higher the risk environment, the more support you need to provide.  Pre-Covid, some of us treated employees as workers first, people second.  Post-Covid requires the opposite. Know that Covid drove millions of women out of the work force, understanding how to be more friendly and adaptive to this population is essential. 

We know that workers will prefer a hybrid work from home model.  A recent report from Glassdoor found that 86% of workers will prefer to continue working from home, at least part time, after offices reopen.  We've heard many employers say "we just can't," I encourage you to think outside the box.  Do you need 100% of your employees on site 100% of the time? 

Employees are looking for a diverse workforce and an employer committed to equity.  You should be demonstrating your authentic commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion on your website, social media content and marketing materials.  Job seekers are doing more research than ever and will dig deep. 

Doing the above is a great first few steps. 

But at the end of the day, it's about hiring the most qualified candidates.  Explore what other barriers you might be unintentionally creating for job seekers. 

Here are some tips to remove barriers in the application and hiring process:

1) Specify the need, rather than how it’s achieved. Examples: Instead of requiring a valid driver’s license, ask for the ‘ability to travel and provide own transportation.’ Or instead of requiring that a candidate reside in a given location, ask for ‘the ability to report to work within 30 minutes of call.’

2) Ask for ability wherever possible. This enables candidates with transferable skills to compete. Ability means the candidate has the potential to do the job, but may not have had the opportunity to develop the potential. Candidates can demonstrate ability through past achievements, including volunteer experience. Example: Instead of requiring knowledge of a law or experience in implementation, ask for the ability to learn, interpret and apply a law.

3) Ask for related work experience. Instead of specific work experience, a certain number of years of experience, recent experience or transferable experience may be adequate. Example: Instead of asking for ‘experience with Microsoft Office" in general be intentional and ask 'for experience with Microsoft Word or a similar application'.

4) Focus on the qualities or knowledge needed to perform the work effectively. Avoid focus on a specific credential (a degree, diploma, certificate or license). Include a credential in a job advertisement only when required by law (i.e. Registered Nurse) or where it is the only means of obtaining the skills, knowledge and ability needed to perform the work effectively.

5) Specify the kind of communication required. Example: Specify ‘listening and/or speaking on the telephone’, ‘writing’ and/or ‘negotiating agreements’ rather than asking for ‘an ability to communicate effectively.’

6) Specify the working conditions. Elaborate the number of hours of work per pay period for a part-time position and the expected duration of the term for short-term positions. For shift or late-night work, include information about security.

7) Focus on the desired ability or skill instead of a personal trait. Instead of requiring a ‘mature, cooperative person’, ask for ‘ability to work effectively as a team member.’ Write clearly and simply, using common words, a straightforward style and simple sentences. Avoid jargon, technical and legal language, and acronyms.

8) Check your bias before you open the resume.  Watch how you judge the experience gained through unpaid internships vs minimum wage jobs.  Some can't afford to work for free.  Watch how you judge frequent changes in employment.  Motivated employees might be seeking more responsibility and advancement than was available at their previous position.  

Nonprofit Network is committed to ensuring best practices around diverse, inclusive, and equitable practices.  Please feel free to reach out with any questions.


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