As a manager for many years, I have sat through numerous PNL (Profit and Loss) and Balance Sheet reviews. Some years the reviews are better than others. Organizations use these reports and review sessions to gauge how the organization is doing with sales or donations, expenses, and assets. The organization must be managed and stewarded, and this is one way it is done. What is reported is true and actual but never reveals the invaluable contribution and total worth of the organizations most valuable asset. Why all this talk about accounting reports and management? The reason is that the most valuable asset in any organization is either overlooked or identified incorrectly. Leaders must recognize that people are an organizations most valuable asset. Labor costs are tangible expenses, yet the total impact of the people is intangible. Most organizations, not all, fail to see the worth in having a Human Resource (HR) Strategy and goal for their organization. No matter what type of organization you have, if you lack a HR strategy and goal, you lose money and don’t invest in the most valuable asset you have, people. Not only do you lose money, you often loose some of the best performers in the organization directly affecting culture and efficiency. Volunteer organizations are not exempt and must work harder in this area of creating a culture were people are valued as an asset and a strategy is in place to keep them. There will be turnover in any organization, the right strategy and goals will limit and minimize the effects. This is a direct result of the company culture and values. Does your organization value people? Does your organization have a HR Strategy and goals? There are two main ideas or principles I want to address when it comes to volunteer and employee retention regardless of the organization having paid employees and/or volunteer staffing.
1. Organizational Culture and Values and Their Influence on Retention
Organizational culture happens either by intentionality or default. Organizations have to work to create the desired culture it wants. Culture is cause and effect, responsive to those who are apart of it especially the leaders of an organization. People will work harder and stay in organizations longer where the culture is people friendly and where people are celebrated. In this type of culture there is no lack of vision and people take ownership of the vision. They are given a chance to be a key component of the success of the organization rather than a tool or replaceable object used. When an employee or volunteer takes ownership, and is appreciated for their contribution, they work harder and are generally happier than people in other type cultures. When this happens, retentions rates are higher and replacement costs of training are reduced. You don’t spend time, money, and energy on intangibles and at the same time become more efficient in current daily activities.
2. Volunteer or Employee Performance Influence On Organizational Culture and Values
Volunteer and employee performance will have an affect on culture. The goal of any organization should be to replicate the culture and values of the organization into each person. A leaders responsibility is to bridge the gap between desired, perceived, and actual culture. Culture is a leadership responsibility and what you do, as a leader will set culture. Are you setting the desired culture and values of your organization? If you appreciate people and their contribution, they will in turn feel apart of the organization. When people feel apart of something, they are invested in the outcome. People want to have value and input value into what they do.
Create a strategy and a culture where people are seen as the most valuable asset and allow them to be celebrated. Be intentional about creating a culture around people and see that people are incorporated as part of a process and not seen as usable and disposable tools. This will decrease the intangible cost of the organization and increase efficiency, which directly affects profit positively. The strength of any organization is not only seen in the amount of money they have, but also what kind of people makes up the organization.