Strong Branding Helps Nonprofits Recruit Top Talent

As the internet has made job searching easier than ever, find out how some association professionals are recruiting and retaining staff.

The current economy has obviously created a buyer’s market for organizations looking to hire, but that doesn’t mean employers should rest on their laurels, especially when it comes to retaining talent.

At a Bisnow event—Association and Non-Profit Human Capital Strategies—I attended last week, a group of panelists shared their insights into recruiting and keeping top talent.

The number-one strategy for nonprofit recruiting is a strong company reputation and having a mission that resonates with people in the community.

On the issue of acquiring the right employees—those who best fit an organization’s culture—one of the most significant recruitment tools the panelists discussed was employer branding, a growing trend in human capital management.

Eighty-three percent of global recruiting officers say employer branding is critical to their ability to hire top talent, according to the study “The State of Employer Branding” conducted by professional networking site LinkedIn, which surveyed 3,028 recruiting professionals around the world. The same study also found that more than 51 percent of companies increased their employer brand investment in 2012.

Among global nonprofits, research firm Blackbaud found that the number-one strategy of successful nonprofit organizations in recruiting was a strong company reputation and having a mission that resonates with people in the community.

So what can nonprofits and associations do to enhance their employer brand?

Word of mouth, first-person advertising from current or past employees is one technique. Jim Zaniello, president of Vetted Solutions, who spoke on the Bisnow panel, said former employees can become an alumni network, actively endorsing and recruiting for their old organization.

Current engaged and happy employees are also likely to endorse your organization. Panelists suggested keeping employees happy with generous benefits packages that may not compete monetarily with for-profit companies but may offer better work-life balance and opportunities for professional development such as leadership training programs.

Employers can also use social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to advertise their organization’s mission, culture, and benefits.

“Whether you believe in [social media] or not, you have to be there, and you have to be consistently there,” Zaniello said. “Candidates have a choice as to where they go to work. They are looking at all types of social media.”

Keeping top talent has also changed with the evolution of the internet, which has made job searching easier than ever, including for those already employed.

According to a CareerBuidler Q4 2012 Job Forecast study [PDF], 74 percent of workers are actively searching for a new job or are open to a new opportunity. That’s a significant chunk of the workforce open to leaving their current positions, and panelists agreed that organizations need to prepare for the possibility.

Don’t assume your employees are happy. Ask them what they like or don’t like about their jobs in the form of a stay interview. The results may better inform the types of benefits packages, training programs, and working environments that organizations offer employees and ultimately help them to retain their human capital investment.

What are you doing to recruit and retain top talent? What kinds of programs and benefits are you offering your employees to keep them engaged in their jobs?

(pixelsaway / 123RF Stock Photo)

Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!