How willing are your employees to come to work every day? Are they collaborating with other team members to help fulfil your charity’s cause? How likely are they to stay and recommend working at your charity? Do they love their job? Are they flourishing in the culture you’ve set up? The answers to these questions all determine the level of your employee engagement.
Employee engagement is a way for all staff to give their best at work. Employee motivation is critical in driving your charity’s goals. If your employees aren’t engaged with their work and their team, you’ll likely see a drop in output and a negative impact on retention – both things that you’re looking to avoid.
Recent Trends in Employee Engagement
Employee engagement in the charity sector is high, but not everyone is equally engaged. There are challenges for employees over 45, employees with a disability and those who have been in their organisation for over three years.
Recent work for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development covers four key areas that are commonly associated with employee engagement:
- work engagement: whether people feel vigorous, dedicated and absorbed in their work, and other measures carrying the label ‘engagement’
- organisational commitment: in particular looking at employees’ psychological feelings (‘affective’ commitment)
- organisational identification: how employees psychologically associate with their organisations
- work motivation: factors that lead people to be interested and committed to their job.
Engagement really matters. A Charities Aid Foundation survey from 2018 shows that:
- 27% of managers in British companies are likely to accept a salary cut to work for a company that has a clear purpose beyond profit
- 32% would consider leaving their job if a greater purpose was unclear
- 53% would consider leaving their job if the company’s values didn’t align with their own
Tips to improve motivation among your staff
Do you sense that employee engagement at your charity is low? Perhaps you‘ve even conducted a survey which has proven this is the case? The good news is that there are many ways in which you can boost motivation and productivity and reverse any negative trends. Below are some tips which might help.
1. Build trustworthy leadership
Trustworthy leadership is the key to building an engaged workforce. If your employees trust the senior leaders in your organisation, they are much more likely to stay at your charity and contribute their time and energy to your cause.
One of the top ways in which you can build trust is through open channels of communication. If you don’t already have regular, monthly or quarterly catchups for the whole organisation, consider setting these up. Building trust includes sharing both good and bad news. So, when you’re presenting stats about your performance, don’t focus solely on the positives. Perhaps your donor income is down? Or you’re behind on setting up the events that you’d planned for this quarter? Be honest about these things and talk about measures each team is taking to address them.
Be open about your plans for the future and set achievable goals for the charity which you can then regularly check performance against.
2. Show that you’re embracing diversity
Research has shown that diversity and inclusion can boost employee engagement. Response to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report regarding the importance of diversity and inclusion has increased by 74% in the last three years.
One way of embracing inclusion is eliminating bias from your recruitment.
Have you tried Applicant Manager?
CharityJob has recently launched the sector’s first anonymous hiring tool on Applicant Manager – which will go a long way in helping you to achieve your diversity pledges. It is available free of charge to all charities posting jobs.
Recruiters will now have the option to anonymise the applications they receive for a role – removing key personal details, such as names and email addresses until first contact with the applicant.
3. Set realistic goals
Linked to the above point about communication, be sure that your charity is setting realistic goals for the organisation as a whole, and for individual teams. Show how each employee will contribute to these, to give them a strong insight into the importance of their role.
Employee engagement is often low if employees get the idea that goals aren’t achievable or that there are not enough plans set in motion to ensure their continuity. So be sure to regularly review targets and to address any challenges that you come up against.
4. Offer flexibility
According to Charities’ statistics, 90% of employees claim flexibility improves their productivity and work morale.
The pandemic has meant that many employers have embraced remote work and in doing so given employees greater flexibility with their hours, which has been positively received. Have you already planned what your work setup will be in the post-pandemic world? If not, it might be the right time to conduct a survey of your employees to find out about preferences. You could ask the following questions:
- How many days a week would you like to work from the office vs remotely?
- Would you benefit from a meeting-free day?
- During which times of day do you feel that you’re most productive?
If your employees understand that you’re willing to be flexible to allow them to combine their work and personal lives, they’re much more likely to stay with your charity for longer, and to recommend it to their contacts as a great place to work.
5. Empower your employees
As a charity, you work towards empowering others—those who cannot do so for themselves—to achieve their life’s goals. It’s only fair to do the same for your employees, too.
Empowering your employees includes:
- Including them in decision-making around team targets.
- Giving them needed access to technological tools, documents, etc.
- Allowing them to voice their opinions without fear of consequences.
According to a recent Salesforce report, “employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.”
Put in the effort and you’ll reap the rewards
There are many things you can do to improve employee engagement, which are all ultimately down to creating a culture of trust and empowerment. Put some of the above measures into action and you’ll soon reap the rewards of a more positive and motivated workforce.