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Your Nonprofit’s Culture Influences Staff Productivity

Cultivating staff engagement needs to be part of your nonprofit’s culture. Engaged staff members are more productive. A high level of productivity is one more way culture can help to differentiate your nonprofit. A high level of productivity also contributes to increased sustainability and mission effectiveness.

Here are a few steps you can take to cultivate staff engagement:

Your Story – Make sure that all of your staff knows your nonprofit’s story, why they are important to the story, and ensure the story inspires them. Telling them the story often ensures they remember their importance and why their work is important to your clients, your community, and your mission. It makes what they do a purposeful endeavor rather than work.

Understanding – After a while, almost every job seems mundane. Reminding people that there is a reason behind every action and the workflow helps sustain their enthusiasm.

Control – People enjoy being in control of their lives but in a highly structured job it can be hard to feel like one has much control. While every job has best practices, the best practices are never always the best way. When a staff member is free to change the flow as needed, the sense of control or empowerment creates responsibility, which raises engagement. Your most trusted staff members have earned the right to vary the process. Every staff member deserves the right to learn how and when to vary the process through careful experimentation. Giving staff members some control gives them some independence. They will take a deeper interest in their success, quality, and impact.

Be Present – Being present means interacting with the staff and encouraging other leaders and board members to interact with the staff. Asking questions, listening to suggestions, and being social are the types of interactions that creates engagement. Seeking contact with the staff one on one and in small informal groups is better than just having an open door.

The preceding steps must be taken with sincerity. When the staff perceives the preceding is being done to increase their productivity instead of to empower them to use their own judgement and work independently, it reduces or inhibits engagement.

Next Step:

Use the preceding to guide how your leadership team interacts with the staff and how your staff assignments are structured

Use the preceding to guide board members’ interactions with the senior staff and other staff members

Use the change in staff productivity to determine how well your culture is fostering engagement

How well a culture permeates an organization determines how effective the culture is at creating value for the organization. Therefore, your board must be fully committed to your nonprofit’s desired culture. When your board embraces the preceding, staff engagement will become part of your nonprofit’s brand. With engagement as part of your nonprofit’s brand you will find it easier to attract top talent. You will also find that your nonprofit’s sustainability will increase along with mission effectiveness. As a result, your nonprofit’s culture will be a valuable differentiator for your nonprofit.

Take It Further:

Consider employment candidates’ engagement with past employers

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