So here you are on Valentine’s Day, sitting alone in tears watching The Notebook. Why? Because you’re a nonprofit manager who has had difficulty filling key positions in your organization.
Nonprofits regularly ask me why they are having problems hiring for a role. Often, it’s because the opening is a challenging one to fill (i.e. fundraising!); but sometimes it’s due to reputational issues. In this market, candidates are skittish about joining an organization with anything less than a solid character.
Candidates in the hunt for a job take into account several reputational factors when considering whether they want to work for an organization. Here are several dynamics candidates talk to me about regularly:
- Financial Stability – Is the organization financially stable? Has it had layoffs in the recent past? What does the 990 look like? If it’s a small, Mom and Pop shop, can it weather these difficult economic times?
- Turnover – What is the turnover rate? Is it abnormally high? Why are people leaving? Do they sense they are on the Titanic?
- Culture – What type of culture does the organization have? Is it a healthy, positive culture that helps employees learn and grow? Is it a vibrant, entrepreneurial place to work? Or is it “churn and burn”? Are there people in high in high places who are notoriously difficult to work for? What is the word on the street about the organization’s inner-workings?
- Impact – Is the organization really making a difference? Is there movement-wide excitement about what the organization is accomplishing? Or is the work stale, staid, and inconsequential?
If you’re the president, executive director, or hiring manager for an organization that may have reputational problems, take heed, but don’t give up hope. Remember that repairing or changing a reputation takes time, but it can be done.
In fact, if you take action now, next year you won’t be sitting alone watching a sappy Rachel McAdams movie. Instead, you’ll have a repaired reputation and a happy staff with whom to hang out.
Next month we’ll tackle the nonprofit’s point of view when considering a candidate with a questionable reputation.