Much of the writing done about the future of recruiting, hiring, and retention has been focused on measuring current trends against their 2019 levels. The theme, whether stated or unstated, is wondering when we can “return to normal” or whether that is even possible. On the one hand, the COVID-19 pandemic has lessened enough that in-person work and life are now the norm, and inflation is showing signs of sustainable reduction. On the other hand, most consumers don’t look at a slowdown in the growth of the Consumer Price Index as a sign of positive change — prices will seem ‘high’ simply because even though the rate of inflation has decreased, the dollar-level of prices is still significantly above where it was in 2019. This has created intense wage pressure in the job market and leaves many pessimistic about a return to “normalcy” on par with 2019.
A tight labor market, a continuation of the “quiet quitting” phenomenon, the prospect of AI and job automation, and an aging workforce all ratchet up the pressure on organizations to reexamine the way they work, how they hire, and how they engage their employees. While wage demands will remain key, many workers also report wanting to find value and meaning in their work, which is a key advantage for nonprofits. A tight labor market may be a struggle for nonprofits looking to hire but unable to compete with greater wage demands, but it will also reward those organizations that can clearly communicate their values, be transparent, and be open to flexible work models. Here are some of the key hiring trends for nonprofits in 2024:
An emphasis on value over quantity
Because nonprofits typically struggle to compete with private and public sector wage rates, they will need to capitalize on the dynamics of the “quiet quitting” phenomenon to attract talent. Because of the tight labor market, employees are often asked to do too much, work inflexibly, and stretch their responsibilities too far without a significant increase in compensation. For most, earning more will be the main goal, but for many, working on projects and for an organization with altruistic goals is in itself a form of compensation.
In 2024, the nonprofits which “win” in recruiting and retention will find ways to offer their teams meaningful work that is done on a flexible schedule, with remote options, generous leave policies, and documentation of the direct impact that their tasks have on the mission of the organization. Another way to provide value is to offer employees benefits that cannot be easily quantified and assigned a dollar amount, such as training programs, networking events to help them build career connections, and mentorship. Finding ways to make employees feel valued and feel like their work has value gives them something that a high compensation cannot provide. It may not be enough to always recruit in the numbers you want, but it can help you get more invested team members and more consistent quality work out of your team.
Skilled jobs may be a struggle to fill
The hiring pressure will be highest at the “top” of skilled work, with technical and STEM skills being the most difficult to fill. This is not just because of a shortage of technically skilled employees, but also because there has been a jump in employees looking to leave that field. Engineering in particular, including electrical, industrial, and civil engineering, has been hemorrhaging employees. A shrinking number of skilled workers means more pressure on those with the skills to work overtime or multiple roles, which leads to burnout.
This pressure will be a struggle for nonprofits who need technically skilled employees. The shortage will likely drive wage demands higher and higher, possibly out of reach for many organizations, let alone nonprofits. As stated above, you can help attract these employees by using value and flexibility, but that may not be enough to solve this shortage.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) will reshape recruiting practices
One of the key expectations organizations face is incorporating DEI into their project roadmap, recruiting practices, and labor relations. Internal pressure to account for the needs and issues faced by marginalized groups in the workplace will likely lead to significant changes, and there will be added attention to recruiting practices. Traditional “network” recruiting may need to change, as people’s networks can have implicit biases that exclude marginalized job candidates. These changes should be documented and shared with workers both current and prospective, as 56% of modern workers value diversity in their workplace.
Because nonprofits often emphasize their role as drivers of these kinds of values, there will likely be an added expectation among employees that DEI is adequately addressed. Fortunately, making strides in this area can create a self-fulfilling culture of diversity, which can help with recruitment, retention, and the quality of work. Although it is not always a stated aim of DEI, it is well documented that a non-homogeneous team and culture creates better outcomes and happier employees.
Partner with 501(c) Services to start 2024 with confidence
As experts at assisting nonprofits with HR, our goal is to help you be as effective in your hiring and HR practices as you can be. Maximizing your potential to meet your organization’s goals and aims can be difficult, but having a team of HR professionals with decades of experience on your side can be invaluable, and our UI program can help you free up more resources to accomplish your mission. If you’d like to learn more about our team and services, get in touch with us.
501(c) Services has more than 40 years of experience helping nonprofits with unemployment outsourcing, reimbursing, and HR services. Two of our most popular programs are the 501(c) Agencies Trust and 501(c) HR Services. We understand the importance of compliance and accuracy, and we are committed to providing our clients with customized plans that fit their needs.
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The information contained in this article is not a substitute for legal advice or counsel and has been pulled from multiple sources.