Nonprofit organizations are crucial to a nation’s workforce. And while a nonprofit organization with hard working employees have a better likelihood of achieving, and even surpassing its organizational goals, it can just as easily suffer a loss in productivity if employee disengagement is not addressed. Organizations need to learn to identify which variables are negatively affecting their employees’ satisfaction levels in order to prevent the contagious effects of employee unhappiness.
Why are leaders out of sync with employee needs?
After the Harvard Business Review surveyed 1,000 U.S. employees, results indicated that supervisory employees significantly lacked awareness surrounding both their own emotions as well as the emotional needs of their employees. The survey provides evidence on how communication issues between the management and employees can prevent the organization’s leaders from being truly effective, which can, and in turn, keep the organization from succeeding.
In order to uncover the impact of employee disengagement at nonprofit organizations, the Unemployment Services Trust (UST) conducted a survey involving more than 1,500 respondents—consisting of supervisors, executives and staff members from nonprofits across the US. Like the Harvard Business Review, UST’s final report revealed a disconnect between what supervisors and employees thought led to an engaged workplace.
Around 70 percent of nonprofit employees rated the quality of communication from their leaders or supervisors as ‘somewhat good’ to ‘extremely good’. However, supervisors and leaders completely overestimated their quality of communication to what the employees actually thought.
How nonprofit leaders can bridge the communication gap
Simply put, employees want to be heard. In fact, nearly 40 percent of employees said that respect for their feedback regarding the organization and its leadership is a leading variable that influences their job satisfaction levels. Employees need to know that their opinions matter and that the organization cares for their personal growth as well. According to the UST Report, the most commonly employed method for soliciting employee feedback is through annual or bi-annual meetings/surveys. Unfortunately, when supervisors listen to their employees’ feedback so infrequently, the issues may no longer relevant at the time of review or frustrated employees may have already started looking for employment opportunities elsewhere.
The good news is leadership communication styles can always be improved upon given the right attitude and resources. Some basic methods managers can incorporate are making small talk with employees, consistently asking for suggestions and effective solutions, giving timely recognition to an achievement and keeping conversations clear and brief. By simply setting aside the time to talk to the employees to better address employee needs can significantly improve employee engagement levels—increasing retention and strengthening your nonprofit from the inside out.
Want to learn more about the latest nonprofit turnover and employee engagement trends? Get your free copy of the “2015 UST Nonprofit Employee Engagement & Retention Report” today.