The Importance of Culture for Nonprofits

The Importance of Culture for Nonprofits

Year after year, organizations in the Health and Human Services Industry continue to struggle with recruiting and retaining top talent. Earlier this year we released our 2017 State of Workforce Management report where 84.2% of respondents agreed that Recruiting and Retention would be “Extremely Important” or “Very Important” to their organization for the upcoming year.

In the past, strategies for improvement have included the common tactics of offering completive salaries and benefits, incentivizing with rewards and bonuses, and even offering training and development courses. An area that is often forgotten is the company culture. Having a defined and enjoyable workplace can do wonders for improving an organization’s recruiting and retention rate. This is not a change that can happen overnight but with the right leaders and strategy in place, creating a fulfilling work culture is possible. Below we will analyze the importance of culture for nonprofit organizations.

Leadership Defines Culture
It should not come as a surprise that organizational culture is cultivated from the top down. The way employees interact and engage at work is a depiction of how senior management leads their teams, as they are looked to for guidance on how to act in a professional setting. Executives must keep in mind the amount of control they have, considering they are the ultimate decision makers on the level of transparency and communication, the amount of social interaction in the office, as well as the overall work-life balance amongst the office.  It is vital that when leaders take on their role as executives, they understand the power they have over the established culture. Claiming this awesome responsibility will help executives to lead a productive organization and encourage new hires to meet the set company standards as well.

Culture Enforces Mission
Most employees working for nonprofit organizations are usually in the profession because they love what they do, not for how much they are going to be compensated. Executives should take this into consideration when establishing a company culture. It would be in their benefit to embed the organizations mission statement into the culture and practice what they preach. Employees who are connected by the same mission will have a united drive to achieve the end goal and feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment in their work. Mangers will also be able to instill more trust into their employees because they feel a sense of alignment with company-wide goals, values, and purpose. Ultimately, employees who are connected to their organization’s mission are said to be more productive and engaged at work.

Increase Employee Retention
The nonprofit industry has historically been plagued with a reputation of stressful and taxing work environments. Organizations are now realizing the need to go beyond increasing pay and rewards in order to recruit and retain top talent, which is where corporate culture comes into play. Regardless of position or pay level, employees may not look forward to work every day because of their specific job duties, but for the interactions with their coworkers and the atmosphere within the office.  Employees who come into an engaging workplace every day and enjoy their work experience are willing to overlook the cons and focus on the pros.

As the race to become an employer of choice becomes more competitive, a good place to start is to encourage a company culture that employees want to work for. Nonprofits can’t always offer the flashiest office spaces or the most expensive salaries but with the right leaders and a meaningful mission in place, you won’t need the aforementioned to recruit and retain top talent. Executives that take the necessary steps to instill an engaging company culture at their organization will be on the road to visible employee satisfaction and success.

This DATIS Blog was written by Anthony Davis, DATIS, on September 21st, 2017 and may not be re-posted without permission.

Written by Anthony Davis