Attracting & Retaining NFP Staff - Report
1 December 2008 at 4:33 pm
Not for Profit organisations must rely on creative solutions to attract and retain employees that do not depend heavily on funding according to a researcher from the University of Western Australia.
As part of a Masters Degree in Organisational Psychology, Dana Sidoruk investigated the issues facing psychologists working in the Not for Profit sector.
The main issues that came from her investigations were the problems of attraction and retention of employees.
Issues associated with limited funds in Not for Profit organisations were cited as reasons for the difficulties in attracting new employees. Due to limited funding such organisations cannot afford to advertise widely using online job boards or attractive newspapers advertisements.
Sidoruk says this results in smaller candidate pools from which to select employees. Limited funding often also results in lower salaries, further restricting the number and type of candidates who apply for work in the Not for Profit sector.
In addition to the monetary restrictions that influence candidate attraction, many of those interviewed for the research pointed to the importance of recruiting candidates whose values aligned with the mission of their organisation.
Hence, professionals working in the area of Human Resources within Not for Profit organisations are challenged with using limited marketing strategies to source employees who are happy to work for lower wages and who align with their mission statement. As a result, such professionals must often choose from candidates who may not have the level of skills or experience sought for the particular vacancy.
As well all the professionals interviewed cited difficulties with retaining employees.
Similarly to attraction, retention problems were also associated with monetary limitations. Higher salaries in the public and private sectors can often lure employees away. Furthermore, training and professional development opportunities are also restricted by budgetary limitations in the Not for Profit sector.
Hence, employees wishing to advance in their careers and develop professionally often look to organisations in the private and public sector for such opportunities. The professionals interviewed also noted that, due to difficulties attracting and retaining employees, many organisations are understaffed.
As a result, Sidoruk says employees must often work longer hours and are under additional pressure. This can result in burnout, lower employee morale and the perpetuation of problems associated with retention.
Although candidate attraction and retention is a problem for many organisations, the report says this is not an issue that is unique to this sector, as many industries are facing similar issues around Australia.
The report recommends that by focusing marketing strategies to target candidates who are more likely to work for Not for Profit organisations, agencies can increase their candidate pools as well as sourcing employees who are likely to align with the organisations’ mission.
It says agencies can also make use of technology based strategies, such as the Internet and email, to enhance their recruitment. The Internet may also be used to provide flexibility for workers as well as for volunteers, who prefer to work from home.
In order to confront issues related with retention, agencies can use strategies to increase the volunteer workforce, such as setting up service-learning programs, to reduce the workload of paid employees.
Volunteer labour also helps Not for Profit organisations to provide services at lower than market prices. Any savings made from the application of such strategies could be used to provide benefits for current employees.
Furthermore, the report says by partnering with other agencies to share the cost of professional development opportunities, agencies can remain competitive with other employment sectors and help to increase employee retention.
Dana Sidoruk says by employing such strategies, Not for Profit agencies can confront problems associated with candidate attraction and retention, helping to reduce the impact of these issues on their organisation over time.
The research paper can be downloaded below.