Monday, July 28, 2014

Retaining top performers

By Laura Kragness, Synergy HR Field Representative

“HR best practices” to foster employee satisfaction and engagement

• Provide job descriptions, an employee handbook, and organizational policies and procedures that create standards for performance and fair and equitable opportunities for all employees to succeed.
• Lead and develop employees to their fullest potential utilizing job standards, individual goal setting, ongoing coaching and counseling, and a merit-based compensation program to reward top performers.
• Conduct internal trainings and support external training opportunities for employees to develop their skills.
• Utilize organizational development tools such as workplace satisfaction/engagement surveys, 360 Leadership Development, and executive coaching.
• Create reward and recognition programs that reinforce performance and behaviors that affect the success of every department, the organization and top performers.

In the difficult times of 2008’s Great Recession, few workers changed jobs. Instead, fears about the economy, corporate downsizing and limited employment opportunities kept many people trapped in positions they were not satisfied with. 
With the economy improving, workers in both the nonprofit and for-profit world see more options and many are beginning to explore them.
Data from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reflects this. In 2013, the voluntary job turnover rate rose to 13 percent compared with 8 percent in 2010. 
While it is true that some turnover can be beneficial to a nonprofit organization, it can also be detrimental if a valuable employee or top performer decides to leave. Various studies have found that engaged workers are more committed to their organizations and provide crucial competitive advantages including being more productive, loyal, customer/client-focused, concerned about safety and fiscal stewardship. There is no doubt that engaged top performing employees possessing these qualities are beneficial to a nonprofit’s mission, development efforts and a limited budget.
The question for nonprofit leaders now becomes: How do nonprofits keep workers, or more specifically, how do they retain their top performers?
To answer, we first have to understand the definitions of job satisfaction and employee engagement:

Job Satisfaction: A measurement of an employee’s “happiness” with current job and conditions; it does not measure how much effort the employee is willing to expend.

Employee Engagement: A measurement of an employee’s emotional commitment to an organization; it takes into account the amount of discretionary effort an employee expends on behalf of the organization.

Next, it is important to understand what employees want from their employers to be satisfied and engaged in their job.
The top three job satisfaction aspects rated as “very important” by employees
1.     Compensation/pay, overall (60%)
2.     Tied - Job security (59%) and Opportunities to use your skills/abilities (59%)
3.     Relationship with immediate supervisor (54%)

The top three engagement conditions rated as “very important” by employees
1.     Relationship with co-workers (73%)
2.     Tied - Opportunities to use skills/abilities (70%) & Relationship with immediate supervisor (70%)
3.     The work itself (68%)

A  2013 SHRM Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey1 shared three recommendations to keep employees:

1. Make engagement a top priority
. With limited hiring activity at some organizations, managers may consider refocusing their energy towards existing employees.  Given employees spend much of their waking hours on the job, employees may have more interest in their work and their organizations than employers think. Incorporate learning opportunities into employees’ personal development plans, allow them to work on topics that inspire and energize them, and provide them the freedom to decide what, how and/or when their projects are completed.
2. Pay competitively, but focus on ALL aspects of compensation. According to the SHRM study, employees are once again placing high value on compensation/pay.  However, knowing that many nonprofit organizations do not have the ability to make significant increases to salary budgets, a different approach to compensation may be necessary.  Many experts continue to recommend a “total rewards” strategy, placing an emphasis on an organization’s benefits package (i.e., insurance options, paid time off policies, flexible work schedule, etc.) in addition to the base salary. 
3. Strengthen relationships at all levels of the organization.  Although many employees emphasize compensation/pay as it relates to job satisfaction, a significant proportion also place importance on relationships with co-workers and supervisors.  Fostering an environment that treats all employees equally, as well as one that encourages communication between all levels of workers, can be an effective means of earning trust from employees and increasing their satisfaction with their jobs. 
There is no doubt that as the economy continues to improve, employees will again gain the confidence to explore other job opportunities.  However, nonprofit managers can do a lot to prevent valuable or top performing employees from having the desire to look around in the first place.  Key is listening to what is important to employees and utilizing HR practices that foster employee satisfaction and engagement in an organization. Both can go a long way towards motivating employees to stay happy and committed in their current job.

Questions?  Contact Laura Kragness, SPHR, at 317.366.7587 or Synergy PEO at 800.432.1026.

1 Society for Human Resource Management. (2014), Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: The Road to Economic Recovery

Laura Kragness, SPHR, is a human resources field representative for Synergy PEO Services.  With over 20 years of experience, she provides generalist and strategic HR support to local nonprofit organization leaders and their staffs.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

National Philanthropy Day 2014: A Chance to Honor Your Nonprofit Champions!

Excitement is building for the National Philanthropy Day (NPD) Luncheon, a day set aside to recognize and celebrate the impact of philanthropy in our community.

Hosted annually by the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), this year’s event will be held on Thursday, November 13 at the Duke Energy Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati.

National Philanthropy Day provides a special opportunity for nonprofits to publicly honor and thank supporters by recognizing them as Nonprofit Champions.  These are donors, volunteers, and special friends who have made a truly exceptional impact.

As part of the NPD registration process, nonprofit organizations are invited to submit the names of their Nonprofit Champions to AFP by October 30, 2014.  Champions are typically individuals that participating organizations would invite as their guests to the NPD Luncheon on November 13.

The names of all Nonprofit Champions received by October 30 will appear in the NPD program.  AFP will also create a certificate honoring Nonprofit Champions for   nonprofits to present to their Champions.

This year’s keynote speaker is Erin Gruwell, an innovative educator who along with her students are featured in The Freedom Writer’s Diary. Nonprofits are invited to pre-purchase a copy of the book to present to their Nonprofit Champions as a thank you at NPD.  Erin Gruwell will sign books after the luncheon.

Participating organizations are also welcome and encouraged to bring other tokens of appreciation and thanks to present to their Nonprofit Champions at NPD.  This is a chance for nonprofits to creatively express their gratitude, and handwritten thank you notes will be extra special in this unique setting.

National Philanthropy Day is a day of inspiration, so don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate philanthropy and honor the supporters who are inspiring change in your organization.

Registration for NPD will open soon.   For questions about this year’s event, please contact Liz Flynn at For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Betsy Baugh at  Hope to see you – and your Nonprofit Champions – on November 14!

As an affiliate of AFP International, the AFP Greater Cincinnati Chapter advances philanthropy by enabling its members and nonprofit organizations to practice ethical and effective fundraising that changes our community for the better.

Membership in AFP provides important educational, networking, and advancement opportunities for committed fundraising professionals. For more information about the benefits of membership, please visit us at

Monday, July 21, 2014

Online nonprofit giving

This is the first article in a series. By Dave Voris, Horizon Bank

In the past several years, donors to nonprofits have become more comfortable with online giving. A new study released by M+R and the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), shows a 14 percent increase in 2013 with nearly $325 million raised through more than 5.5 million gift transactions.
But just a couple of years ago, most credit card donations were made over the phone. And that required the charity to take several additional steps. A staff member would write down the credit card numbers and notes about the donor, then punch that data into a terminal originally designed for card swipes. Now, the staff member captures the information needed for record keeping, authorizes the transaction and emails a receipt to the donor, all from the same computer.

For years, many nonprofit organizations have used their websites as donor-marketing tools. But in recent years many now use them to collect donations.  While most people are familiar with the “shopping cart” used by companies like Amazon for Internet purchases, now there are “shopping carts” for nonprofits. These “carts” allow a nonprofit to sell products or accept specifically earmarked donations. Many nonprofit organizations have no need for a “shopping cart,” but simply want to provide people with an easy and convenient way to make a general donation. 
At first many nonprofits developed complicated structures that involved multiple vendors. As nonprofits begin to take advantages of the new technologies, it is important to keep several things in mind. First, it needs to be easy for the donor and economical for the nonprofit.
When an organization is determining the best use of the technology, the terms gateway and processor are relevant.  Gateway simply refers to where data is captured and processor is how the credit card is authorized and paid. Now, the technology exists to provide both using a single platform. What is critical, however, is that a nonprofit knows how data and donations are captured and reconciled. Using a single platform eliminates and streamlines the final reconciliation process for both.
Second, much like for-profits, nonprofits must pay attention to trends and analyze buyer behavior, determining how their donors are likely to use the technology to develop a system that meets the majority of donors’ needs.
And finally with PCI Compliance requirements demanding that an organization not retain consumers’ credit card numbers, being able to explain to customers what happens with their information is key.
In upcoming articles, we will discuss use of smartphones, iPads and chip-card technology to accept donations, treasury management issues to consider, a primer on basic service pricing and an overview on PCI compliance and fraud protection.

Dave Voris is a vice president for Horizon Bank in Indianapolis. As a senior treasury management officer, he works closely with both middle market and small business companies from a wide variety of industries. During his 25 years of business experience include treasury management, merchant services, and international banking including sales management, client service and implementation management, product management and electronic payment operations.
Add caption