Care About Your Team as Much as You Care About Your Clients

A recent article indicates that as the market recovers, colleagues who may be working below their skill/pay grade may look for new opportunities. This has special significance for the community-based nonprofit, since this may impact both paid and volunteer staff.

While the reasons for leaving are relatively well known, with money often leading the list, it is important to recognize that compensation is only part of the equation. Workplace environment, dedication to the organization’s mission, and growth (personal and professional) are also significant parts of the equation.

So what to do?

We would propose two strategies. First, have a standardized nominal professional growth plan for all of your positions. This does not mean that the receptionist that you hire today will be your Executive Director tomorrow. Instead, it shows your junior team members that there is a path to the top, provided that skills are learned, experienced gained, and opportunity exists. Attached to this growth plan, we would suggest that you identify the relevant training that is available for these team members. This might be a healthy mix of free online offerings, low-cost community-based training (such as those provided by the Ventura County Community Foundation), or more formalized, instructor-led education, including formal academics.

By taking this approach, you will have provided both a path for growth as well as the resources needed for attainment.

But not everyone is going to stay with you forever, nor should they. Birds fly regardless of how comfortable the nest is. Therefore, you should have solid roll-on/roll-off processes in place which would include transition plans. These might be as simple as bulleted lists detailing what a person in a new position needs to be come familiar with in the first 90 days or what artifacts and information needs to be shared in the final two weeks before someone moves on.

Don’t forget, the time for strategic thinking and action is before you need it. In other words, maybe you should drop us a line now.

Just a thought.