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The most impactful and successful organizations are deliberate about how their work is organized, how their work is carried out, and how they use and develop their talent to achieve effectiveness. A capable team –– with the right tools, a clear understanding of mission and goals, and support from leadership –– can maximize your organization’s impact. On the flip side, if your organization fails to build a healthy culture and engage employees effectively, you can be sure your mission will suffer.

Referring to our recent discussion regarding where your organization currently sits on the Talent Sustainability Continuum, if your organization is “talent oblivious” and doesn’t yet invest in talent in a meaningful way, or is “talent aware” but failing to prioritize talent, you are likely seeking steps that can help you become more “talent focused.” Talent focused organizations prioritize talent to reach organizational sustainability, maximize their impact and achieve their goals.

Talent focused organizations prioritize talent to reach organizational sustainability, maximize their impact and achieve their goals. Click To Tweet

Your organization can become talent focused by developing and aligning its talent management strategies and initiatives with its overall strategic plan. Here, we’ll walk through several strategies that your organization can apply to prioritize talent, and in turn, positively contribute to its organizational goals.

1. Advocate for Talent Funding by Communicating HR Metrics to Leadership

Unfortunately, less than 1 percent of nonprofit funding goes to supporting talent; therefore, organizational leaders must advocate for greater prioritization of HR funds in organizational budgets. To get your leadership team on board with prioritizing talent and including talent strategy development in the organization’s overall strategic planning process, be sure you’re communicating talent’s inextricable connection to impact. Utilizing and benchmarking HR metrics can help maximize and demonstrate talent effectiveness.

For example, you can compare a new development team member’s salary to an increase in donations or revenue to demonstrate the return on investment associated with new roles. If you can prove the impact of your talent priorities by grounding funding requests in relevant data, leadership will be more likely to help you advocate for the funds necessary to further your goals.

According to our 2018 Talent Management Priorities survey, more than half of nonprofits indicated their highest metrics priorities this year are either implementing or benchmarking HR metrics in their organization. This shows that more nonprofits are coming to understand the value of metrics and analysis for their overall organizational impact.

2. Attract Top Talent by Utilizing Effective Recruitment Strategies

High performers can exhibit 400 percent greater productivity than average performers. To maximize your mission impact and achieve your organizational goals, whether they involve fundraising, events or the development and growth of new programs, you simply must recruit high performers.

However, recruiting and retaining top performers can be a real challenge. And with the rise of social enterprise and mission-driven businesses, it’s not getting any easier. Nonprofits are facing competition for impact-focused talent from the for-profit sector, and often failing to match the candidate experience and salary expectations of highly sought-after talent. For many years, nonprofit organizations were hiring at higher rates than for-profits, but according to our 2017 Nonprofit Employment Practices survey, corporate hiring rates began catching up with that of nonprofits. At the same time in 2017, 64 percent of nonprofits did not have formal recruitment strategies. Your organization can only compete with other organizations, both nonprofit and for-profit, with a structured and strategic approach to recruitment in place.

Diversifying your recruitment sources including promoting from within –– even to the C-level — appropriately communicating your organization’s culture to prospective hires and using talent analytics early in the recruitment process can all contribute to a higher volume of high performers on your organization’s staff.

3. Ensure Role Alignment and Engagement by Continuously Assessing Team Strengths and Weaknesses

Maximizing workforce productivity to achieve your organization’s goals is not just a matter of getting work done. Determining who is doing what, and whether or not those responsibilities are truly the best fit for them, are key components of effective talent management planning.

In addition to ensuring that you have the right people in the right roles at the right time, it’s also important that your staff feel engaged –– or emotionally connected –– to their work and your organization. Research tells us that less than half of top performers are actually satisfied in their roles, and individuals with the longest tenure in your organization are also the least likely to be engaged. This doesn’t bode well for nonprofits, where employees often feel overworked and underpaid.

Less than half of top performers are actually satisfied in their roles, and individuals with the longest tenure in your organization are also the least likely to be engaged. Click To Tweet

To maximize employee engagement and limit staff burnout, pay attention to individual strengths and weaknesses. During employee feedback meetings, give your staff the opportunity to express what they like most about their jobs, what they like the least and what they’d like to do in addition to their current responsibilities. For example, a supervisor may ask, “are we utilizing your talents and skills fully? In what other areas do you feel you can excel?”

Additionally, discuss growth and development opportunities and both short-term and long-term goals. Facilitating frequent feedback discussions and benchmarking professional goals supports increased engagement, retention and productivity.

Talent is crucial for mission impact. Organizations that understand this fact and prioritize their talent using effective talent management strategies like these are the most successful and sustainable. You can read more about talent and organizational sustainability on our blog, or reach out to us if you have any questions about you can effectively leverage your organization’s talent to maximize your impact.

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