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January 15, 2015

Creating a happy and healthy working environment

Ensuring your employees enjoy in their working environment plays a huge part in the success of your organisation. Our MD Carla gives her tips on how to maintain create a positive atmosphere.

"Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers." - Stephen R. Covey 

Charity People is here to help you recruit new staff, so you might ask, 'what do they know about staff retention?'  Well, it turns out, quite a lot.  We're the people that candidates turn to when they're ready to leave an organisation and we always ask why they want to leave.  For some it's about new opportunities, for others it's about a pay increase and for others it's about management style and organisational culture.

Here's what we have learnt from our candidates about what helps to create a culture that engages, motivates and retains employees.

  • Care - care about them, care about the work they do (however junior they may be), care about the cause you are all working for and be genuinely committed to both being a great employer and achieving the organisation's mission
  • Communicate - communicate what they're doing well, communicate that they're appreciated, communicate how they can improve, communicate your plans for them, communicate how their work is making a difference and communicate about your vision for the future of their team and the charity
  • Engage them in plans - create a shared vision for your team and get their buy in and regularly feedback on how that is progressing, how they have contributed and how they can continue to do so
  • Lead from the front - get involved and don't be afraid to roll your sleeves up.  Your team will often need help, be the one who stays late cleaning up after events to help them out and don't ask a team member to do anything you wouldn't be comfortable doing yourself.
  • Develop them - even if there's no budget for a pay increase find ways they can grow and learn from sitting on project teams to presenting plans to senior staff. Talk to them about how they feel they are developing in the role and what might offer them more opportunity for growth.
  • Celebrate successes - the big ones and the small ones.  In a fundraising team often the special events, corporate and major donors teams get lots of glory as they bring in large chunks of income but what about the person ploughing through the data or collecting £200 from a Scout group?  As a leader your attention has value so make sure you share it around and spend time with all members of the team.
  • Credit people for the work they've done - there is nothing less motivating than a boss who steals your glory and nothing better than a boss who always credits the team and the people within it for their successes.
  • Give people freedom to be themselves - trust them to use their own style and initiative and don't micro mange them. 
  • Create opportunities to spend time together socially - make it easy for social interactions to happen, whether a Friday night at the pub or a monthly picnic lunch where everyone brings something in. Ask the team for ideas of what they would like to do too.

These are all simple things but we know from experience that the charities that are putting these approaches into practice are the ones who retain their staff and attract high quality candidates.


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