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5 Steps For Effective Nonprofit HR

Cross-Posted From The Nonprofit Job Seeker

While much of the job market has been stagnant in recent years, the nonprofit sector has expanded. A recent study by Johns Hopkins University showed that nonprofit jobs expanded for the 10 years that positions in the general workforce shrunk, making the sector third largest employer behind retail and manufacturing. This data means a lot of things but, most of all, it means nonprofit human resources departments are busier than ever.

To keep up with the demand for nonprofit jobs, HR needs to run smoothly. There are many ways to get to that state and Lynne Toupin, in "Five Good Ideas," offered her own path to efficiency. Toupin, an independent consultant who works with nonprofits to help them achieve measurable results, suggested HR managers take the following five steps to make the most of the enthusiasm and energy that nonprofit workers possess:
  • Align skills, knowledge and interests with the jobs that need to be done. Many employees are passionate about the work they do and their organization's mission. Combining that passion with skills and knowledge is a powerful way to achieve results and drive change.
  • Pay competitive salaries and benefits. While the traditional charitable organization model decrees that most financial resources should be directed to the mission, you will never be able to attract the best employees if you don't offer salaries and benefits that are in line with competing nonprofits.
  • Plan for succession. One option for succession planning is to broaden the pool of candidates. Instead of considering the talent available within one organization only, why not consider employees from across a cluster of organizations in a given geographic area?
  • Develop and sustain a culture of ongoing learning. People who work in the charitable sector want to learn with their peers and have opportunities to expand their knowledge of best practices. Every workplace, however small, must reflect on the learning opportunities it can provide its employees.
  • Integrate your human resources, both paid and unpaid. Integrating paid and unpaid resources in the workplace takes thoughtful planning and preparation. It can mean ceding some decision-making to volunteers, adapting work schedules around their time, and having more detailed expectations of them. 
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