Engaged nonprofit employees are happy nonprofit employees. They’re more productive, feel empowered, and have a stake in the outcomes of work projects. Keeping your staff engaged can also help improve your employee retention rate. The perks of having an engaged nonprofit staff sound great, but how do you get there? Try these employee engagement strategies.
Define Your Mission
What is the purpose of your nonprofit? Having a clear mission and strategies to achieve that mission helps your employees get on board. When a potential employee has a clear idea of what you’re trying to do, it’s easier for that person to get on all in toward helping your nonprofit succeed. If you don’t already have them, put a mission statement and set of company core values down on paper. Get your current employees in on the process of creating those documents. That involvement gives your current staff more buy-in.
Define Your Company Culture
Your mission is important, but the culture you create within the organization can be just as important in your nonprofit succeeding. Company culture is also a huge factor in whether or not someone wants to work for your organization and how long they stick around to work for you. Company culture includes things like management strategies, diversity, employee relationships, work-life balance, promotions and incentives, and how well you listen to employees and let them share their ideas. The culture you create should reflect your mission, but it should also be pro-employee to help you attract the best talent and keep those employees happy and engaged.
Provide Learning Opportunities
Your employees come to you with a set of skills and traits that you feel are a good match for the organization, but learning doesn’t end when you onboard your latest staff member. Provide lots of learning opportunities to keep your staff knowledgeable and prepared to stay on the cutting edge of your field. You show that you’re invested in them as more than just employees, and they bring back new ideas that can push your organization forward. Attending training sessions can inspire new ideas and reignite employee motivation.
Give Employees Ownership in What They Do
Employees have certain responsibilities, but they also need the option to have input and ownership in what they’re doing. When employees have no real decision-making power or input, they start to feel like they could be easily replaced. Anyone can follow a set of steps without questioning anything, so how much good are they really doing? Your staff may start to feel their talents are wasted. When you hire someone for a specific skill set, knowledge, or experience, let them put those things to use. Of course, you need boundaries to keep your organization heading toward its goals, but letting employees take an active role in the process helps improve engagement.
As a nonprofit, you’re limited when it comes to things like high salaries and big-ticket benefits, but you can still make your staff feel appreciated. Recognizing the hard work your employees put in toward the mission keeps them motivated and makes them feel like their efforts are worth it. Incorporate as many perks and incentives as possible that fit within your budget.
One incentive that can help with engagement and job satisfaction is offering a flexible work arrangement. Being flexible with employees who prove themselves as trustworthy can keep your employees happy and support a work-life balance that keeps them fresh and motivated. You might let employees work from home part of the time or adjust their schedules to fit their home commitments.
Recognition of achievements in company communications or meetings can also motivate employees. Reward employees with things like time off, casual dress days, or a catered recognition lunch. These small things don’t cost you a lot of money, but they show your employees that you’re aware of their contributions to the nonprofit’s success.