Since many organizations just started a new fiscal year and have received new grants and funding, now is the time when many leaders begin thinking about hiring additional staff. As you prepare to bring new staff into an existing staff or into a group of volunteers, there are some things to think about and remember.
For nonprofit organizations to be strong, effective organizations, leaders must be strong and for leaders to be strong, they must be learning. No one is effective if they are not continuing to learn AND since no one has ever reached their fullest potential, we all have room to grow. Include funds for professional development in the operating budget. If the budget is tight, keep your eyes and ears open for low-cost opportunities.
As you think about bringing someone on board, think about how they will “fit” with the culture of the organization. Skills and organizational knowledge can be developed but “fit” cannot. Culture is what sets your organization apart and makes it unique. As a matter of fact, most experts agree that hiring for culture fit is more important than hiring for skills and talents.
It may be helpful to have all staff complete a personality assessment to fully understand who they are and why they fit. The next step then, would be to have all candidates that you are seriously considering hiring complete the same assessment. You will begin to develop a clear understanding of why some people are like oil and water together and why others get along so well with everyone.
Culture is the combination of unique characteristics that people remember about your organization.
- How do people feel when they enter your building?
- How do they feel when they interact with your staff?
- Do they feel like you care or that you are just doing your job?
- What is your organization known for?
Each of these questions combined form your culture. While culture is hard to build, unfortunately, it only takes one or two bad experiences for the public to perceive your culture very differently. And, bad apples can be like a virus to your culture…tearing down what you have worked so hard to build.
For this reason, it is essential that you do everything you possibly can to ensure new people understand your culture and embrace it. Just because someone does not align with the culture you have created does not mean that they won’t be a good employee…..but, perhaps their best opportunity is not with your organization.
Once you find the “right” people to build your staff, create an environment for growth that will allow staff to blossom into their potential. Give them freedom to solve problems and get creative.
Growing staff in the culture that is right for them and for you will strengthen your organization and allow you to serve in ways you never thought possible.
Remember, organizations are only “as good as” the people in them.
Needs some help growing your staff and volunteers?