NFP: How to Turn Business Challenges Into Opportunities
A roadmap for Not for Profits
Spending the best part of the last 12 months speaking with NFP Organisations has allowed me to dive deeper into the challenges they face and gain an insight into how these challenges can be addressed. Attempting to deliver services with limited funding is by no means an easy task and there are a few main pain points that NFPs constantly deal with. I was made aware of the extreme difficulty managers face in the NFP sector when it comes to staff and volunteer management, especially when these individuals wear many hats – as HR isn’t their only focus.
Dealing with limited resources
The NFP industry confronts the entirety of challenges a for-profit organisation faces along with many more. They are being pushed to the limit with fewer resources and in turn they encounter issues, such as attracting and retaining talent, developing talent and culture. These issues intertwine and are faced by all organisations but have greater implications in a sector where funds are a major issue. Considering these challenges, one of the biggest obstacles they face is taking advantage of their resources effectively to assist them in managing these issues. In an industry where organisations rely heavily (and in most cases solely!) on funding this can be crucial in whether they achieve their purpose and deliver their services effectively to help individuals in need. The amount of times I’ve heard “it would be great not to manage all our processes using paper” means that taking advantage of resources and technology effectively can eliminate these three issues and have a positive flow on effect through all aspects of the organisation.
Using technology to hire, engage and retain talent
Utilising technology effectively can eliminate and reduce many problems organisations have in terms of employment and retaining staff, and therefore can lead to a better and increasingly efficient mode of delivering services. NFP organisations find it difficult hiring, retaining and managing their current staff. The amount of time HR managers spend on administration regarding staff and volunteers is significant. Having heard first hand over and over again the phrase “I wear many hats,” screams the need for technology, and if used effectively can improve the management of an organisation and in turn eliminate any administrational issues that inhibit or take up too much of an employer and employee’s time when they could be focusing on strategic or physical tasks in an organisation. Leading to a more efficient delivery of services, vital in the NFP sector.
The benefits of automated HR processes
Implementing a centralised workflow-driven Human Resources Information System (HRIS) would assist in turning around an organisation with limited resources allowing them to focus on other tasks within the organisation. Effectively managing staff and volunteers all the way through attracting, retaining and developing talent can eliminate a lot of other pains when delivering services. Re-occurring problems that managers have raised such as “not knowing when employee licenses expire” are time consuming tasks that can be eliminated by consolidating data using an HRIS and in particular would assist NFP’s in obtaining information quickly. By utilising metrics effectively it would allow managers to make strategic decisions surrounding their employees and create and develop the sort of culture they want to foster, which would assist them in addressing and eliminating key challenges. By improving the entire employee experience this will lead to a higher retention of quality staff where salary increases are simply not an option.
In an industry where empathy is key, managers need to be able to make decisions from obtaining data quickly and need to attract individuals with a strong personal alignment and belief in the mission of the organization. Utilising their resources efficiently and especially taking advantage of technology would allow a more focused approach when it comes to managing staff. Organisations would be able to reap the benefits of efficient staff management which would have cosmic positive effects.