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Why *Yesterday* was the Time to Uplevel Your Nonprofit's Culture

This spring, record numbers of Americans said they’re looking for a new position. How can you ensure your nonprofit organization’s culture is strong enough to not only retain your top talent, but also attract new employees who are looking for a career with more purpose?

The Great Resignation, spurred by a new perspective on work, has 40% of workers saying “I quit” according to a study on hybrid work by Microsoft. Lockdowns, a collective look at our mortality, and a lot of time to think amidst a commute-free, work-from-home lifestyle have all contributed to a collective change of course. Many employees are realizing that they needed support and empathy from employers during the pandemic, and they didn’t always get it. This has tipped the scales for many, causing them to seek out a new company where they can feel valued and cared for at work.

The Great Resignation is both a moment of reckoning and a tremendous opportunity to improve employee retention and recruitment.

So what can you do to ensure your nonprofit organization weathers the exodus? 



Have you ever surveyed your employees anonymously to hear their pain points? If not, how about a 360 review where employees are allowed to provide feedback to leadership? In order to understand your employees’ perspectives, you have to take the time to listen with an open mind. Your employees are the experts of their own experiences in the organization - ask genuinely and without bias, and you shall receive critical insights.



Have an honest look at your organization’s culture. Some of the top concerns employees noted in leaving their jobs include a reduction in benefits, unrealistic expectations of productivity in adverse circumstances (ahem, like the pandemic), lack of work/life balance, rigidity about bringing employees back to the office instead of allowing them to work remotely, lack of opportunities for advancement, and not enough efforts in place to promote equity and inclusion. 

Evaluate if your organization has committed any of these “culture detractors” or if you can see areas that need improving. 



The truth is, you already have a leg up over many businesses, because you are a mission-driven organization. So when you look into making positive changes to your culture, remember to highlight the joy of working for a good cause.

“We ask people if they would take a pay cut to work for a company that aligns with their values,” said Allison Omens, Chief Strategy Officer for a Stanford study on the Great Resignation, “and across the board, people say yes.”

People desire to put their skills toward a purpose that they value. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a reason why here at CauseMic, we gave our full time employees a paid week off and closed the office to let them recharge after a successful quarter’s end. We did this because we know that in order to both retain and attract top talent, culture is everything. 

It’s not rocket science - we know that employees need to feel valued, appreciated, and respected. But gone are the days that top talent will settle for less than they know they deserve. As a nonprofit, you’re struggling with limited resources and trying to do more with less - while it may seem counter-intuitive, respecting real “time off” from work will have a net positive impact on your staff’s productivity and mental health, and your overall retention.

Get creative when you consider how to best address current employee concerns and make yourself more desirable to prospective talent. Because one thing is certain: there are about to be millions of people shopping for a new job in the coming months, and you want to be at the top of their list!

Do you want a trusted thought partner to help you develop a strategy for your work culture 2.0? We support nonprofit leaders like you in people management, change management, and building an innovative workplace culture.

Yes, let's chat.