Something Worth Reading: Talent Retention and CASE’s “Hire Learning”

I know that talent management is a critical component of development success. This article  from CASE Currents highlights just why. Written by Peter Hayashida (VC for Advancement at UC Riverside) this essay describes the great challenge of turnover in the development field.  Hayashida makes many good points, including:

That leads me to an important point about retention, pay, and performance. In their book,First, Break All the Rules, authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman argue that people don’t leave jobs; they leave managers. Specifically, they leave managers who don’t properly manage employee performance. Poor performers drag entire organizations down and make high achievers vulnerable to the lure of greener pastures. In development, we tend to promote people with strong technical abilities as fundraisers into managerial jobs but give them little training on the skills required to be successful leaders.

We’ve talked about  the gap between technical and managerial skills, and the challenges of finding good managers, and the difficulty of recruitment before. Peter Hayashida hits one key issue on the head here: effective management is one of the best tools we have to attract and keep valuable talent. In a market where fundraisers are being called about job opportunities multiple times a month, having managers who engage their employees, inspire good performance, and build rapport is going to make the difference in whether your fundraisers stay or go.

 

In about a month Bentz Whaley Flessner will be releasing the report of its findings from a national survey of frontline fundraisers and what drives their behavior and job engagement. Early glances at this data have consistently pointed to two things: weak management is the top reason listed by those with low job satisfaction, and leadership training is the top topic area where fundraisers want more professional development. We should be able to address both these areas by focusing on building up what it means to effectively manage fundraisers and development teams.

 

The article also features perspectives of three other experts on diversity, job hopping, and talent management investment. It is definitely worth a read.

Advertisements

Something Worth Reading: The appeal of non-profit leadership in “Work-life demands intense for CEOs at nonprofits”

Those of us who have worked in the non-profit industry for a while can become used to the “when’s your serious career going to start?” sort of questions. But there’s more to this doubt than the lower salaries that come with working at a non-profit organization. Increasingly institutions demand more and more commitment, time, and energy from their staff and leadership. This article post touches on the effect of that pressure on CEOs in particular, but there are several salient points, in particular:

When you lead a nonprofit, where the end game is about making the community a better place to live, the workload can be immense and the emotions intense. It’s a big responsibility – and one that people in their 20s and 30s aren’t rushing to undertake. As the demand for leaders in nonprofits increases, young workers say they don’t want to make the work-life sacrifices required of nonprofit executives…

We’ve spent a lot of time on this blog talking about fundraisers and development officers, but fundraising talent in the form of leadership is also often in short supply. Even those who have great potential may be reluctant to take on new leadership responsibilities because the increased pressure and stress that accompanies a promotion are not sufficiently balanced out by job benefits and satisfaction.

Part of the struggle can come from the nature of non-profit leadership. Most non-profit institutions are smaller organizations and with every promotion comes a large jump in responsibility. Individuals therefore tend to shoulder a broader spectrum of responsibility for an organization’s success, and, if something does go wrong, staff don’t face a loss in “profit” – they are in a position to see and feel responsible for a gap in services provided or institutional impact.

We do have a silver lining, one that applies to most non-profit staff members in general – the great privilege of working to do good and using you passion, education, and time to change the world. The article acknowledges this as well. The question becomes then, how do we utilize team members’ passion and enthusiasm for an organization and it’s mission without burning stars out too early?

Something Worth Reading: Rethink hiring development talent through the article “Stop Using a Left Brain Process for a Right Brain Situation”

I stumbled over this article post today while perusing linkedin. It’s definitely something to get you thinking. Lou Adler, whose specialty is performance based hiring talks about reimagining how you think about recruiting and attracting talent. One of his most salient points is:

Most left-brained hiring processes are designed from left to right, weeding out the unqualified candidates and force-fitting those that remain into a pre-defined job. A right-brained, more creative process is designed from right to left. It’s purpose is to attract the best by emphasizing what the person will be DOING and could BECOME. In this way what the person GETs is not a filter to engage in a conversation, but part of a balanced negotiation. ….

The traditional default left-to-right hiring process begins by posting a skills-infested job description. This process will only work in a talent surplus situation where there is an excess supply of good people available. It also assumes that the best, fully-qualified people are willing to take lateral transfers. This alone limits the number of qualified and highly motivated people who apply. Worse, the process won’t work in a talent scarcity situation when the demand for talent outstrips the supply. In this case, an “attract the best” approach is essential. 

How many organizations have you seen realize they need a new principal gifts officer or high-level database manager and the first thing they do is post a job description with 20 bullets on proven experience and background desired of the candidate? Mr. Adler points out that this mechanism only will work when you have many candidates to choose from and simple need one to meet the base and to fill. In a talent scarcity situation, which describes the development field as the data has told us again and again, this process actually limits both the talent pool you reach as well as the qualifications and appeal of the position itself. The best performers need to be attracted to the position.

So, when it’s time to hire someone new (or even when looking at retaining and growing your existing talent), try thinking from the other side of Adler’s spectrum and ask yourself – what does this position offer the candidates beyond a salary? What opportunities do we provide that will make a top candidate choose us? Non-profits have an advantage in this area because their mission and vision tend to fulfill a social desire to do good, but they tend to fall behind in demonstrating that their open positions can impact someone’s personal and professional goals as well as their pocketbook.