• GENEVIEVE WALLER

Stop the Purge: Building a Team-Centric Nonprofit Workplace

Whether it’s because of passion for the mission or our larger community’s valuation of stress and exhaustion, we have a problem with burnout. Turnover in the nonprofit sector is negatively impacting our organizations in time and money, not to mention employee AND employer mental health. Unfortunately, as nonprofit leaders, you know better than anyone how much time and effort you put into your employees just to see them leave after two years.


In a previous video blog “Support Staff to Weather the Storm,” I made some suggestions about how you can support your staff during the pandemic: extend grace, trust, reinforce self-care, be flexible, and speak their love language.

The recommendations below expand on those key components of a #healthy #workplace and look to build an overarching healthy organizational #culture.


Insist on workload limitations. Monitor your staff members workload to ensure they can do their jobs in the time provided. Reduce bureaucracy and paperwork, including automating administrative tasks that are time intensive and selecting real time communication tools and online project management tools to simplify processes.


Have a super strict sick policy. Make it inappropriate, unprofessional, and maybe even selfish for staff members to come to work knowingly sick. Do not play host to a culture that celebrates exhaustion!


Place value on health and #selfcare. Develop a wellness program built off the needs of your team. Appoint someone on your staff to answer questions about employee health benefits and to adequately onboard new team members. Finally, set an example of the importance of self-care yourself. As the leader, you are typically the face of the organization. Make sure your employees see you exercising, participating in a hobby, and/or taking sick leave.


Implement a living wage policy. Saying there isn’t the budget to pay staff fairly is not an excuse. It simply means that the organization needs to budget differently. Consider the financial investment as a long-term investment. Spend the money now retaining employees or spend it later with turnover.


As leaders we should build our workplaces to respond appropriately to #crisis (nope – everything isn’t a fire), to remain #mission-focused, and to recognize that our employees are our #1 resource.

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Waller Consulting, LLC is based in the National Capital Region, Washington, D.C.

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