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How to Improve Employee Retention by Improving Corporate Culture

By | Abila, Accounting, Corporate Culture, HR, MIP Fund Accounting, Nonprofit | No Comments

We’ve all seen the statistics: it costs several thousand dollars, and several weeks or months of lost productivity to fill vacancies. Nonprofits face additional employee retention challenges in a strong economy with low unemployment. Retaining skilled employees becomes more challenging in a strong, robust economy.

There is no one size fits all program you can put into place to improve retention. Instead, consider building a sustainable corporate culture that encourages people to feel loyal to your organization.

What Is Corporate Culture?

Corporate culture is the overall tone, mood, feeling and method of work that occurs within an organization. While difficult to define, it is easy to spot. A productive, positive corporate culture leads to loyalty, low turnover, and high productivity. A negative corporate culture leads to disgruntled employees, poor productivity, high turnover, and myriad other problems.

 

Improving Corporate Culture

The Harvard Business Review lists several methods to improve corporate culture.

 

  1. Clarify the organization’s vision. Nonprofits who successfully retain employees have a clearly defined vision for their organization. Pathway to Stop Diabetes, an initiative of the American Diabetes Association, has a clearly defined mission: “Our visionis simple yet revolutionary: find a new generation of brilliant scientists at the peak of their creativity, then provide them with the freedom, autonomy, and financial and professional resources to set them on the road to breakthrough discoveries.” A defined vision helps unite and clarify the work of everyone at a nonprofit, enhances company culture and is a central point around which all conversations can revolve  .
  2. Hire the right people. We know, it’s easier said than done, but hiring people who believe wholeheartedly in the vision is an important step toward building organizational culture and reducing turnover. Look for people with a demonstrated work history aligned with your mission. People’s actions speak louder than words when it comes to demonstrating their values, and their work history is the record of how they implement those values in their careers.
  3. Develop guiding principles. Guiding principles are the shared statements that reflect how to implement the mission and vision of an organization. They also document how you expect employees to behave, treat one another, and do their work. Guiding principles should include the ideas and concepts you would like to inculcate throughout the organization. A corporate culture that accepts and honors diversity, for example, might have as its guiding principle tolerance for all races, creeds, religions and sexual preferences; a corporate culture that values innovation might have as a guiding principle the embracing of creativity and the time needed to generate creative ideas.
  4. Build a compelling narrative. Narratives are stories and every nonprofit have its own unique story. Marley’s Mutts, a nonprofit animal rescue in Bakersfield, California, builds on the narrative of the founder’s battle with end stage liver disease and the role that Marley, his dog, had in helping him overcome hopelessness. That bond between dogs and people is what inspires all of Marley’s Mutts actions and programs including their prison outreach, special needs children’s outreach, and rescuing so-called unadoptable dogs from shelters around the world.
  5. Promote connections. People are less inclined to leave an organization if they feel strong connections to it and to others who work there. Millennials are often cited as lacking loyalty, but in fact, they simply have a low tolerance for boredom and the lack of interest in their work. Build connections to the organization through promoting challenging projects, increasing responsibility, and improving chances for advancement.

 

Building a strong corporate culture to improve employee retention takes time and effort. Make it a concerted effort among your leadership team, human resources, and managers to enact positive changes that build culture and improve loyalty.

 

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting is a technology firm empowering nonprofit and government organizations with effective software, consulting & training that can help you with your accounting needs. We are committed to finding the most affordable technology, the most powerful solution, and providing expert support. By leveraging technology and superior reporting, our team helps to free more of your time to devote to the important work of your mission. We bridge people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We are passionate professionals who choose to work in the nonprofit sector for the same reason you do – helping others. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

Understanding Generation Z in the Nonprofit Workforce

By | E-Learning, HR, Nonprofit, Training | No Comments

With Millennials being the largest generation in the workforce, it’s no surprise that recruiters have been working diligently to understand the needs and wants of this generation.  HR departments around the country have discovered and implemented strategies to connect with Millennials to recruit and retain them.  It just may be time that a new generation takes the spotlight: Generation Z.

Recently, Jason Dorsey, from The Center for Generational Kinetics, enlightened the audience at AICPA Not-for-Profit Industry Conference with an overview of what Gen Z is all about, and what that means for everyone else.

Here are the top six takeaways shared from Dorsey regarding Gen Z and the workforce:

Who is Gen Z? The Center for Generational Kinetics defines generations by life experiences and geographies – not a span of time. Gen Z is a group of individuals born 1996 to present date.

  1. Work Ethic: There’s hope for the future with Gen Z. Dorsey shared that Gen Z is anticipated to “leapfrog Millennials in the workplace due to their higher work ethic and lower expectations.” This is key to takeaway, as early Gen Zers are already out in the workforce and many are available for hire.
  2. Money Management: A major difference between Gen Zers and Millennials is the recession. Gen Zers are not as conservative with money, since they didn’t experience as much of the recession as Gen Yers.
  3. All the Technology: Gen Z is far more technology savvy than the technology-dependent Gen Y (Millennials). If you’re looking to hire a well-rounded, technology-savvy individual, then don’t overlook this generation of digital natives.
  4. Attention Span: According to our 2017 Member Professional Development Study, the attention span across Gen Yers, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers peaks from 30-minute educational courses to one-hour courses. Members of Gen Z are expected to have even less of an attention span, so fast-paced environments will work well for these individuals.
  5. Driver of Key Trends: With an entrepreneurial spirit, Gen Zers are going to be key in driving trends, which can benefit your organization in brainstorming new solutions, creative content, and money management.

If your nonprofit is looking to grow, then the needs and talent of this generation shouldn’t be ignored – they’re ready to get their hands dirty and take your organization to the next level!

Take a look at Welter Consulting’s previous blog post for some fantastic ideas regarding retaining millennials and other generations, Attract and Retain the Best Employees with Job Flexibility Offers.  Also, don’t miss out on attracting a board member from all generations and professions.  Check out Millennials: Ready, Willing, and Able to Serve on Your Board for more information.

 Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

The Skills Nonprofits Need in 2018 – and Beyond

By | HR, Nonprofit | No Comments

As you start thinking about the year ahead, it’s time to think about the skills your team needs to move your nonprofit forward. Whether you already have team members with these skills or you’ll need to hire new employees with them, the fact remains that these are the skills most sought-after among employers.

The Top 5 Skills Nonprofits Need Now – and Why

  1. Cloud and Distributed Computing: So much of our software is moving to the cloud we predict that site-based software and support is going to be hard to obtain in the future. For these and other reasons, it just makes sense to move things to the cloud. Not only can you save money on your software, hosting, and security, but it also enables better data sharing, storage, and updates. If you don’t have someone on your staff knowledgeable about cloud computing, consider adding it to an IT job description or finding a consulting firm to assist with cloud migration.
  2. SEO and SEM: Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing refer to specific tactics your website utilizes to boost its visibility and hence its clicks and interactions. Adding these skills to your nonprofit will be invaluable in the upcoming months and years as competition for clicks increases.
  3. Business Intelligence: Business intelligence refers to the ability to gather data and information from one or more computer systems and distill it into usable facts. BI system can synthesize financial, accounting, sales, marketing, donation, grants and other information into one report that your nonprofit can use for better business management. Without BI systems in place, your organization runs the risk of having to export multiple data files or reports and manually extract data from each to get the big picture of the organization.
  4. Network and Information Security: You may think that your nonprofit is safe from cyber attack, but in many cases it’s not. Cybersecurity is critical for nonprofits, many of whom rely on small teams and volunteers for assistance. And while many security breaches are preventable, you still need someone in your organization to advise your teams while troubleshooting and fixing your systems.
  5. Corporate and Nonprofit Law and Governance: Corporate laws, including laws that apply to nonprofit organizations, continually change. It’s important to have someone in your organization who understands their application to the nonprofit world and who can help you adhere to all laws pertaining to corporate management and governance. It’s also helpful to have an accounting team member who understands the nuances of pending FASB changes as they pertain to financial reporting, such as FASB 606 changes, which will impact grants and contracts.

Hiring or Outsourcing to Get the Skills You Need

To find the skills you need on your team, you’ll need to hire new employees, train current employees, or outsource the needs to a consulting firm.

Network security and high-level accounting are both examples of skillsets that can be outsourced to a consulting firm. In both areas, consultants may actually be a better choice, because they regularly interact with numerous organizations and work hard to stay abreast of the latest developments in their field.

Training is available through local colleges/universities and professional organizations. This may be sufficient for current staff members who need a refresher or update on specific skills.

As the new year approaches, make a commitment that you’ll work to ensure your team has the right skills to meet the challenges the future brings. To serve members, constituents, and others, you need to be on the cutting-edge of many areas that the corporate world emphasizes, too.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

The Qualities of the Superstar Staff Accountant

By | Accounting, HR, Nonprofit, Uncategorized | No Comments

Superstar staff accountants look just like any other accountants on your team. Like Clark Kent before he transforms into Superman, your top players are camouflaged behind business attire just like any other employee.

But inside, they share the qualities of top performers in many fields – athletes, artists, entrepreneurs. The qualities of top staff accountants are what makes leaders emerge from among teams and what transforms organizations from the inside-out.

The best news: top staff accountants are made, not born. In other words, these skills can be learned and practiced to become the best you can be. You don’t have to have innate talent. Everyone can emerge with leadership skills if they apply themselves.

The Hallmarks of Top Staff Accountants

  1. Accuracy: Accounting is a profession in which attention to detail matters. Most accountants are, by nature, very detail-oriented. Superstars also pay attention to any and all the details that matter. No details are too small or too beneath their notice. They make sure that every cent is accounted for and also acknowledge time, effort, and a myriad of other quantifiable items.
  2. Teamwork: Good employees work with others, but great ones understand the concept of building, participating in, and managing teams. Good teamwork means sharing your strengths and supporting coworkers by upholding your deadlines, agreements, and responsibilities.
  3. Deadlines: As with accuracy, accounting is a deadline-driven profession. Tax deadlines, payroll deadlines, and other filing deadlines are set by the IRS, state, and local tax authorities. Great staff accountants adhere to deadlines and plan so that they do not miss deadlines.
  4. Time management: Masters of their craft are also masters at time management. Along with meeting deadlines, they manage towards the deadlines so that they aren’t scrambling as deadlines loom. They understand and adjust their schedules to their workload, managing their time productively and efficiently.
  5. Big-picture view: Great accounting staff are able to take the big-picture view of their work. They can step back and assess the situation, and they understand how their efforts and those of colleagues support the organization’s mission and vision. They understand that their contributions and the contributions of others matter.
  6. Communications: Another aspect of great staff accountants is their ability communicate well with managers, subordinates, clients, and coworkers. They can explain complex rules and regulations or tax concepts to anyone, adjusting their language and description to the audience at hand. They write clearly and succinctly – and know when to send an email or pick up the phone.
  7. Integrity: Superstars shine with integrity. No matter if anyone is looking or not, the great staff accountants do the right thing consistently. They uphold high ethical standards and expect others around them to do the same.
  8. Excel experts: Spreadsheets are no problem for superstar staff accountants. They ‘excel’ at Excel, and don’t mind sharing their knowledge of spreadsheets, computer systems, or other things with the team.
  9. Always setting the bar higher: Like top athletes who aren’t content with breaking one records, top staff accountants always set the bar higher for themselves. They look for professional development opportunities as well as opportunities to learn new skills. Once they achieve a goal, they’re onto the next one. Top accounting staff always want to exceed their professional best.

How do you stack up to this list? If you feel exhausted just reading it, don’t despair. As we said at the beginning, great accountants are made, not born. Pick one skill on this list and focus on mastering it. As you work on each, they become second nature. Soon, you too will rank among the superstar staff accountants.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.