How to Keep Amazing Staff

_In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way._Everyone I know prefers to be successful and treated fairly. I’ll go out on a limb and bet that holds true of the people you know, too. “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” are principles upon which our country was founded. They are the values that have been taught to us since we were young. So why would anyone think that should change when entering the doors of an office?

Those who work in the nonprofit sector tackle some pretty big goals: feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, share the arts, protect the earth — the list is quite endless. Let’s step back, and take an objective look forward, as we review four ways to keep these amazing people on board in 2018.

Clean Up Toxic Cultures

Bad bosses can make the staff physically sick. In How a Bad Boss Can Make You Sick, Forbes contributor Amy Rees Anderson cites a study where 77% of employees actually experienced physical symptoms of stress from toxic workplaces. What happens when someone is out sick? More work for the rest of the staff. If that’s not bad enough, ongoing toxic behavior at the office can creep into personal lives and spread like a virus.

Toxic internal cultures can also tarnish the external image of your organization. Your staffers are talking to your stakeholders and most likely posting on social media. What type of message is being conveyed about the organization? Internal toxicity can harm even the best external branding and impact donor relations.

Rethink Cutting “Unnecessary Costs”

When reviewing budget items, it may be tempting to cut money earmarked for professional development. Not so fast! At best, cutting this means you’ll have a staff that is not up on the latest trends and information in the field. At worst, it conveys a message to your staff that they aren’t worthy of an investment.

Whether it’s an online course or registration for an industry conference, an investment in professional development can pay high dividends. Healthy workplaces demonstrate to employees that they are valuable and valued.

Be the Change You Want to See

Want a happy, healthier and more balanced workplace? Let it start with you.

Model the behavior you want to see from your staff. In the same way that a toxic person can negatively impact an organization’s culture, an inspiring leader can motivate and move others to give their best.

Here are some basics to get started:

  • Be clear about your vision for your organization, expectations, and definitions of success.
  • Provide the team with the tools and information they need to perform.
  • Demonstrate that you value everyone.
  • Be inclusive so everyone recognizes they are a stakeholder in the organization and its outcomes.
  • Be a real, 3-dimensional person: show that you have multiple interests, that you desire and care about happiness, and that you want to continue to learn.

“When you prohibit failure, you kill innovation.”
– Dan Pallotta

Maybe you don’t know everything yet… and that’s okay. Showing that you are not always perfect can help your staff relax, think more creatively, and help your organization become more innovative.

Amy DeVita is a publisher, entrepreneur, mother, wife, social media enthusiast and fan and avid supporter of the nonprofit/ for-impact sector. She has written for Top Nonprofits and Third Sector Today; she has been quoted on pieces about social media and social impact on The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast. She was named to the Leading Women Entrepreneurs in NJ Monthly and she is a member of Social Media for Nonprofits’ Leadership Council. In her spare time she enjoys kayaking, yoga, hiking, traveling, and playing Scrabble. Amy lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and two dogs. In 1984 she earned the “Most Improved Average” honor on her bowling league.

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