Filling the Talent Gap in Not-for-Profits

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Smiling confident business forum guide with badge on neck standing on stairs and holding clipboards with files while giving tour to participants from the communityEarlier this month, we met with leading not-for-profit executives and HR leaders to discuss strategies around combatting the talent gap in this industry. As 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in December 2021 and another 4.3 million quit jobs in January 2022, the impacts of the Great Resignation continue and the search for talent is more competitive than ever. Employers face new challenges where team members no longer stay with organizations out of loyalty. To fill this gap, we have found that employers must offer more than a strong compensation and benefits package. They need to convey a compelling organizational mission and foster a positive culture to attract and retain talent.

Easier said than done, though, right? Especially for not-for-profit leaders, where resources and budgets can be limited, it can be challenging to make your organization more appealing than a career in the for-profit world. However, not-for-profits are well positioned to promote a strong mission and rely on their organization’s purpose to attract and retain a growing talent pool that seeks meaningful work; not just a job.

Here, we’ll discuss talent and employment strategies that work, from developing your talent value proposition to hiring.

Identifying the challenges

First, we need to look at the challenges that incited the Great Resignation. Burnout, while always prevalent in some way in businesses, was amplified during the onset of the pandemic and the shift to remote work culture. Not every organization was prepared for an overhaul to this degree – and it left many employees feeling like they were sent home with minimal resources or attention from leadership. Further, some employers were quick to bring their staff back in offices, which was sometimes perceived as an inattention to the health and safety of employees.

Workers poised to retire over the next several years actually saw the pandemic as a cause to retire early, and other team members who happily adjusted to working from home decided to find more permanent work-from-home opportunities, instead of returning to the office.

Addressing issues and creating a better workplace

While the challenges above may not specifically apply to your organization, it’s important nonetheless to proactively retain and attract talent to stay competitive. We suggest starting by defining your Talent Value Proposition (TVP). So, what is a TVP?

Your business’s TVP is the magnet that attracts talent to your organization. This is made up of a healthy balance between what your talent wants and what your organization wants. Use your TVP to influence people to work at your organization through competitive offerings and a culture employees want to be part of.

According to Gartner, a technological research and consulting firm, a strong TVP can increase new hire commitment by almost 30%. And in the competitive market of today, most of us would be satisfied with 10%!

Defining your proposition

To accurately identify your TVP to compete for talent, you must know your target market, your competition and the unique offerings of your organization (this is what sets you apart from your competitors). Perhaps you’re a not-for-profit organization that works to feed your community. Lean on your unique mission to attract talent with a passion for local hunger relief and making food more accessible. Or, maybe your organization provides employees with 100% employer-paid health insurance. Leverage this differentiator to appeal to talent that values diverse benefit offerings.

Strategies that find candidates and build your pipeline

By focusing on the mission of your organization, and not just the type of work your open positions cover, you can revamp your marketing efforts to strategically highlight the benefits of a career with a not-for-profit – specifically yours. Start with a few easy steps:

  • Offer job shadowing opportunities for high school and college students
  • Open your facility for public, interactive tours
  • Think outside of the box when posting job openings – target underrepresented populations and leverage social media in these efforts

Strategies that improve your hiring processes

Once you’ve determined how you’ll attract ideal candidates, you can begin to strategize for the hiring process. Be sure to enhance your employer brand where candidates frequently visit: assess your company reviews on Glassdoor and similar sites. Further, modify your job descriptions and titles to reflect the demands of the job and the perks of working at your organization. The icing on the cake: make your application process mobile-friendly!

Filling the talent gap

You’re in a unique position as a not-for-profit leader to compete for talent with limited resources and funds. However, you also have the rare opportunity to provide candidates with a career where they can make a difference in their communities. Don’t overlook this when working on your talent strategy.

Don’t know where to start? We do. Our human capital management and talent advisors work closely with not-for-profit leaders to build and maintain their talent strategies. Contact our leaders to learn more:

Watch our full presentation on this topic here!

About our authors

Laura Fischer

Laura Fischer

Laura has an extensive background in corporate recruiting and talent management. She is recognized for building strategic partner relationships by using her keen industry knowledge, strong business acumen and innovative approach to provide unparalleled client service.

Dave McKeon

Dave McKeon

Dave leads the Human Resources Advisory practice within Sikich’s Human Capital Management and Payroll Consulting group. He is an established HR professional with a unique blend of experience in strategic planning, talent management, executive coaching and business development. With over 30 years of experience developing and leading HR consulting services, Dave partners with his clients to provide optimal talent solutions, strategy, implementation and consulting services.

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

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