Guest post, thanks to Tim Badolato
We all want a positive work environment. One of the biggest benefits of working at a nonprofit is knowing you’re making a difference. From your fundraising team to your board members, everyone who’s a part of your organization has a hand in supporting your mission.
Your employees may feel good about the work they’re doing, but they should also feel good about their work environment. Creating a positive company culture starts with leadership. It’s your job as a nonprofit leader to foster a positive work environment so that your employees come to work feeling safe and supported.
In this article, we’ll go over five tips to help keep your employees happy, motivated, and productive. Let’s jump into it!
1. Show employees your appreciation.
Most employers know it’s important to thank their employees for their hard work from time to time. B, but an informal approach to employee appreciation isn’t enough. To ensure your employees know how much you value their contributions to your organization, you should develop an employee appreciation program that’s actively supported by leadership.
Going beyond your typical compensation adjustments or saying thank you can go a long way. Show your employees how much you value them and their hard work. You can offer a variety of rewards, incentives, and recognition to employees. For example, you may send employees eCards after they tackle an important project. Or host an end-of-year holiday party to celebrate your team’s accomplishments.
By purposefully creating employee appreciation initiatives, you ensure your team members feel satisfied in their roles, perform at their best, and stay loyal to your nonprofit.
2. Empower team members to work together.
When you get to know the people you work with, it makes your work environment more enjoyable, collaborative, and efficient.
Allow team members to get to know each other by hosting employee events — during work hours. (Employees with family obligations will only feel left out or stressed attempting to attend after-work events.)
For example, your nonprofit could host a lunch. In a more casual setting outside of the office, employees can learn more about each other and build camaraderie. Then, those bonds will translate to the workplace, making it easier for your employees to work together and share ideas.
Once your employees know each other better, encourage peer-to-peer recognition as part of your employee appreciation program. When employees are recognized by their peers, it can come across as more authentic than their manager or organization leader giving feedback. eCardWidget recommends having employees send eCards to their peers when they notice something they’ve done well. Or allow them to nominate each other for workplace awards.
3. Be flexible.
People work best when their employer respects their time, boundaries, and preferences. Being flexible with your employees can put them more at ease and allow them to focus on their work more easily.
Did you know that 83% of people prefer the hybrid workplace model? If you don’t offer any remote work opportunities already, introducing them to your team can make a world of difference in employee productivity and satisfaction.
Another area of flexibility your employees will appreciate is time off. Of course, you should offer an adequate amount of paid time off per year. But you should also respect work-life boundaries. That’s essential in creating a positive work environment. If your organization offers three weeks of paid time off but constantly contacts employees when they’re out of the office, then that can set unreasonable expectations and lead to employee burnout.
Lastly, remember that your employees are people. In hard times, reach out and remind them that they can take a step back from work to deal with personal matters. Help them make arrangements by reassigning responsibilities to other team members so they don’t feel pressured to return to work before they’re ready.
4. Give employees the resources they need to grow.
As an employer, it’s your job to lead your employees. But you also want to help them grow and improve. Providing opportunities for workplace advancement and leadership development shows that you’re invested in your employees both personally and professionally.
Consider allowing your employees to take advantage of industry-related training opportunities that interest them. There are tons of virtual courses available so team members can learn more about your organization’s area of expertise or the nonprofit world in general.
You can also send employees to relevant conferences in your area. There, team members can meet like-minded people in the field and forge new connections. They can also attend panels and speaking engagements where they’ll learn tips and tricks from nonprofit experts. Check out NXUnite’s list of upcoming nonprofit conferences to find one that will be beneficial for your team.
Allow employees to take ownership of workplace tasks that will let them improve their leadership skills. Whether that’s leading a team meeting or planning a company retreat, extend opportunities for team members to grow and reward those who rise to the occasion.
5. Check in with each employee regularly.
Last, but not least, remember to check in with your employees regularly. When you schedule individual meetings with each employee to see how things are going, you’re likely to increase employee engagement.
Check-ins give people a space to voice their concerns and build a foundation of trust with leadership. They also provide dedicated time for employees to ask for help so that confusion and other workplace blockers don’t impede their productivity.
It’s best practice for managers to set up a regular time each week to check in with their employees individually. If applicable, smaller team meetings each day or several times a week can help team members stay on track and answer each others’ questions.
Just be aware of their time and keep the meetings short. Asking them to take time away from their work – while still expecting them to stay on top of that work — will only add to their stress.
You can also bridge the disconnect between employees and senior leadership by setting aside time to meet and go over the organization’s broader goals. That way, everyone can be on the same page and will have the necessary context for their work moving forward.
While your priority as a nonprofit may be your beneficiaries, don’t forget about your employees. Without their hard work, you wouldn’t be able to support your mission and reach your fundraising goals.
Take the time to create a positive work environment by supporting your employees’ well-being and professional development. As a result, you’ll have happier, more productive team members who are equipped to do the hard work necessary to fulfill your nonprofit’s mission.
Tim Badolato, CEO at eCardWidget
Tim Badolato is the CEO of eCardWidget.com an innovative platform for digital employee recognition, donor acknowledgment, business marketing, and nonprofit marketing. He has a passion for using technology to drive positive outcomes for mission-driven businesses and nonprofits.