HR Managers Not in Tune with NFP Employees -Study

A workplace study on attracting and retaining staff in the Not for Profit sector has found
severe discrepancies between the perceptions of Human Resource managers and the employees - revealing some NFP HR managers are extremely off the mark.

The report: Maxxia Workplace Insights surveyed more than 1800 employees and employers in the Not for Profit sector.

Of the 200 NFP HR managers who participated in Maxxia’s study, almost half (45%) agreed that finding and keeping good staff was their greatest challenge.

The study looked at a potential ‘perception gap’ between what NFP HR leaders and NFP staff considered as attractive for employees to join the sector and what might prompt them to leave.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of NFP employees said that having the relevant skills and qualifications was a key reason for joining the sector, compared with just five percent (5%) of NFP HR leaders who believed this was the case.

The report noted the findings as important as they indicated that while NFP employees wanted to use their skills and qualifications to positively impact others, some NFP HR leaders may be potentially underestimating future or existing employees’ desire to employ both their capability and their compassion.

Other areas where the difference in opinions between HR leaders and employee occurred was regarding the importance of flexible working hours, work-life balance and stability of employment.

Maxxia CEO Michael Kay said this provided insight into motivations which may deserve “heightened attention” when recruiting people to the sector.

Thirty-five percent (35%) of NFP employees said they chose the sector because of its flexible hours. Only six percent (6%) of HR leaders believed flexible hours was an attraction.

Almost 30 percent (30%) of employees were attracted to the sector because of the work-life balance. Only three percent (3%) of HR leaders rated this as an attraction.

Opinions were more closely aligned when it came to reasons for joining the sector.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of NFP employees said they were attracted to the sector because they wanted to make a positive impact on people’s lives, compared with the perception of NFP HR leaders who said they believed 60 percent (60%) of employees chose to work in the sector for this reason.

Kay said ensuring the NFP sector could attract and retain the right mix of skilled and qualified staff was critical for its long-term sustainability.

“The results of the study are a number of key insights that consider why people join the NFP sector, what drives their intentions to stay, what would trigger a decision to leave, and which demographics are most pre-disposed to working in the sector,” he said.

The study also identified a broader range of other contributing factors. While poor career progression and low wages were the top two reasons for employees leaving the sector, poor morale, poor management and too much stress followed close behind.Poor career progression opportunities were cited as the prime driver from both NFP employees and HR managers alike for employees considering leaving the sector (34% and 38% respectively). 

Comparing NFP workers with the broader workforce as to their reasons for considering leaving an organisation, confirmed these triggers were largely the same for all workers, the top five reasons are in part amplified among NFP employees.

This was especially the case among employees who said the quality of management was a trigger for leaving, with six percent (6%) more NFP employees than the total workforce listing this as a reason for considering leaving.

The strongest and most prominent reasons that loyal employees stated for remaining with
an organisation was because the organisation helped them reach their potential; management genuinely sought to look after the best interests of staff; and employees have trust and confidence in the organisation’s leadership.

Only 10 percent (10%) of employees chose to work in the sector because of the level of pay.

The report found NFP managers’ performance perceptions were lower than those of managers from the total workforce in the following areas:
• 16 percent (16%) fewer NFP managers were excited about their future career prospects with their organisation;
• 14 percent (14%) fewer NFP managers agreed they had clear performance targets;
• 12 percent (12%) fewer NFP managers agree they are given regular feedback by an immediate supervisor to help improve their performance.

On a more positive note the survey found that Not for Profit employees are generally happier and more satisfied with where they work and what they do than workers from other sectors.

The survey found that 66% of NFP employees are very satisfied or extremely satisfied with their current role compared with 56% of total workforce employees.

View the full report here.

Maxxia website link:

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