Regardless of industry, the key priorities remain the same for every organisation – ensuring productivity and an optimal service for end users by finding, securing and retaining the best people.
But this quest for hiring success is arguably more important for NFP organisations, given the sensitive nature of the problems you are tackling. Finding the right people is not just vital for growth and commercial gain but also to ensure that the service delivered to potentially vulnerable individuals is of a consistently high standard.
While there’s no guaranteed route to hiring success, there are steps you can take to ensure your organisation is as well-placed as possible. Here are just five...
1. Strengthen your network
Every HR professional’s contacts list is overflowing with people that offer a varying degree of professional support. While there’s value in having fingers in many pies, there’s also a lot to be said for a focused and tight-knit group of likeminded contacts, who face the same challenges and are looking for similar solutions and opportunities. This is particularly true in the NFP industry, where recruitment challenges are heightened due to skills shortages, and smaller budgets. The industry is also fairly unique in that every organisation is, in some way, fighting for the greater good. So, although competition for a small talent pool is high, ensuring the right person is in the right role is ultimately the mutual goal.
2. Centralise your processes
NFP is certainly not the only sector guilty of operating a decentralised recruitment service, but it can definitely add to the already challenging process for NFP organisations. Having staff handling recruitment processes that would otherwise be focused on other critical HR tasks, such as developing watertight employment contracts or overseeing staff delivery of care, should be a major cause of concern. A decentralised team can also, more generally, have a detrimental impact on the efficiency of the overall recruitment process, as multiple members of the same team pay to advertise for similar roles, and end up screening the same people, wasting both time and money.
3. Put security first
Given the very human nature of the service typically offered by an NFP organisation, you can only ever be as good as the people you hire. A bad hire can be not only reputationally damaging, but can also put the people or communities in your care at risk. Your first priority when building a recruitment process should be the security it offers you in the decisions you make. Do you really know your candidates, and - in particular - are their referees genuine and reliable? And could you provide evidence of due diligence should it be requested by auditors or regulators at a later date?
4. Build your pipeline
While it’s a key requirement for every HR team, it’s particularly important for NFP organisations to plan for the future and establish a pipeline of potential talent. And that’s not to say you should always be on the lookout for new hires. With all the work that goes into getting new recruits on board, many organisations fail to dedicate the right amount of time to also ensuring they retain existing talent. The consequence of this is the very real risk that your best staff are lost to a competitor, because your HR efforts were spent looking for the next best thing.
5. Don’t be afraid to do things differently
Just because something’s always been done a certain way, that doesn’t mean it’s right or the most effective approach. Often this is the problem HR teams face as they continue to stick to the status quo. Old, traditional methods must make way for new, more efficient ways of doing things. Whether that means adopting new technologies, or simply a new way of looking at a problem, all HR departments will reap the rewards of a recruitment process and practice audit.
Ultimately, every organisation is different. While there are commonalities that we can draw on, really understanding your own organisation, industry and talent pool is critical to identifying, attracting and retaining the best people. What is consistent for the entire NFP sector is the need for efficiency, validity and accuracy. Exploring the use of tech-based, secure solutions to overcome the risks and downfalls of tired, old business processes will ensure that NFPs not only survive but thrive into the future.