By Dave Monaco, Subject Matter Expert.
Want to raise the anxiety level of nonprofit executives or board members? Engage them in yet another conversation about how to do a lot with a little!
Indeed, discussions about how best to allocate an organization’s ever-finite resources of time and dollars dominate many a meeting agenda. Even with a laser-like focus on mission, nonprofit leaders regularly confront difficult budgetary choices and have to cut critical non-programmatic areas.
Employee professional development is one such cost-saver that can prove to be a short-sighted decision. Research from corporate and nonprofit sectors shows that organizations who invest in their people promote healthier workplace cultures, improve employee retention, and steel themselves for the inevitable departure of key leaders.
When wrestling with knotty budgetary decisions and evaluating their professional development programming, nonprofit board members and executives should consider questions such as these:
- Does our investment in professional development signal to employees that their growth is among our highest priorities?
- Are the professional development options we offer relevant to the needs of our employees? Are they personalized and varied enough to engage our team members?
- Do our professional development investments promote greater organizational alignment and cohesion? Do they bring focus to our strategy? Does our training improve how our team executes on the implementation of our organizational vision?
- Does the nature of our employee development programming expand our organizational leadership pipeline?
As leading HR and workplace industry analyst Josh Bersin suggests, organizations should focus on continuous learning opportunities across four paradigms:
- Education: traditional, trackable learning such as courses and reading
- Experience: workplace-based, such as stretch assignments and shadowing
- Exposure: relationship-based connections with peers, mentors, coaches
- Environment: tools and systems for feedback and to support the work
Organizations typically allocate 1%-5% of the operating budget for professional growth. Learning experiences need not be expensive. In many cases, with some creative thinking, they require minimal funding.
The moss+ross team stands ready to assist clients in building and implementing a comprehensive and thoughtful employee development program – one which will return ample dividends in the years to come!