Employee Engagement in Nonprofits Before and After COVID

During the past decade, employers have become increasingly aware of the need to attend to employees' needs that range far beyond essential compensation and benefits.

With the understanding that workers are sacrificing large chunks of their lives to commit to their respective nonprofits' success, leaders have turned their focus to employee engagement in nonprofit organizations to ensure that employees feel recognized and valued as individuals. Knowing that highly engaged teams provide 21% more profitability, it's a goal that is well worth the effort.

Something interesting happened to employee engagement before and after COVID-19. During the peak of the pandemic, employees were happy that their jobs were preserved and that they had income. It made it easier for employers and employees to band together for a common goal, despite working in a sudden and forced remote context.

Employees were able to find the work-life balance employers had long sought to provide. The question is, where do things go from here for nonprofits and employee engagement?

Employee Engagement in Nonprofit Organizations with a Remote Workforce

As some employees have returned to the office, many still work remotely, leaving nonprofit leadership wondering how to maintain employee engagement and morale with a dispersed workforce.

Many nonprofits are now facing challenges such as remote employees experiencing a blurred work/life balance, higher burnout and worst of all, less engagement with co-workers, the nonprofit and its mission.

Here are five tips to help you encourage greater employee engagement before and after COVID-19 restrictions.

1. Commit to regular employee recognition practices: It is a long-held truth that employees need to feel valued beyond receiving a regular paycheck and standard benefits. Employee recognition drives loyalty, engagement and mutual success. Your recognition can be as simple as sending a personalized email saying, "Thank you for your hard work!" or you might hold monthly Microsoft Teams calls acknowledging top performers, providing gift cards for restaurants or shops near their respective homes.

2. Encourage regular video calls: Whether your nonprofit uses Zoom, Microsoft Teams or another video calling platform, encourage its regular use. Schedule daily meetings that last 10-15 minutes and give everyone a chance to say good morning and give a rundown of their day to help everyone maintain engagement and offer support to each other. This practice helps provide and nurture the cohesiveness they might be missing by seeing each other organically in passing in the office.

3. Provide professional development and growth opportunities: Let remote employees know that you want them to grow with your nonprofit. Offer them the same training and educational opportunities that you would offer if they were on-site. When you are willing to invest in employees’ futures, they understand that you value them for what they do now and all that they can do in the future. Employees want to work hard when they feel that you are allowing for and creating more opportunities for their growth, advancement and eventual leadership as well as the ability to make decisions.

4. Keep everyone up to speed with consistent communication: Communication is essential in any professional setting, but it has become crucial and more complex than ever before in remote and hybrid work model contexts. For instance, prevent situations where on-site employees get important company news before remote employees. If your organization is about to experience disruptions, good or bad, wait until you can gather everyone for a video conference call to share the news and discuss the path forward.

5. Find nonprofit human resource solutions that can help: The right human resource practices can help you avoid missteps in everything from daily communication to paying unemployment taxes for 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Find solutions that help you and your team remain focused on your core mission, leaving operational matters to an outsourced nonprofit human resources solution provider.

Our UST HR Workplace can help your team focus on your nonprofit's mission and everyone's satisfaction and success. As a UST member, simply log into your Mineral portal to access live HR certified consultants, 300+ on-demand training courses, an extensive compliance library, and more.


More Blog Entries

HR Question: Addressing Wearable Devices

Question: Lately, we’ve noticed employees using wearable devices while working. We...

The Benefits of Team Building Exercises for Nonprofit Employers

As a nonprofit organization, it is essential to have a cohesive and productive team in...