Engaged employees mean lower turnover and more productivity, as well as results that directly affect your mission.
But finding and hiring highly engaged employees is difficult. You might ask – How can an employee be “engaged” before they’re even hired? Well, the highly engaged employee is often a person who simply leans in that direction in all parts of their life. That’s why finding them is so important for your nonprofit – because it’s easier to help an engaged employee thrive than to try to build one from the ground up.
Here are some signs of a motivated personality when you’re looking at hiring, or even internal development:
1. They don’t expect their organization or their leaders to provide all the stimulation in their workday or their job. They seek out new opportunities to engage in their job on their own. Complaining about a former manager or job not providing enough work satisfaction in an interview can be a red flag that they didn’t take that extra step to engage themselves at their previous job.
2. They know their performance speaks for itself, and they’re not worried about what their organization can give them, but rather about what they can give to their organization. They have a low sense of entitlement. (Although rewarding and recognizing them is important to keeping them engaged!)
3. They help inspire others to love your mission, including clients and volunteers. They can’t help but be excited about what they’re doing and that translates to others.
4. They are engaged despite the conditions around them. Even if their last job wasn’t perfect, they found ways to be engaged. And even motivation in other places of their life can show an “engaged” personality – like running a 5k to help a local dog shelter. Your job is simply to foster this engagement at work.
5. They enjoy shaping their own outcomes – and the outcomes of your organization. Being a voice in the direction of your organization, whether it’s something small like finding a better way to file invoices, or more strategic like new ideas for an annual campaign, they will feel happiest when they can give something to your organization.
6. They like to stretch the limits. This can be uncomfortable for leaders, but allowing engaged employees to think outside of the box can lead to some amazing results. And sometimes listening and showing you are truly interested in their input, even if it doesn’t get used in the end, shows that this behavior is not only welcome, it’s appreciated – and it should be!