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How to get the most out of your staff

In the charity world, a lot of our attention is dedicated to our service users, supporters and funders. But what about those people who carry out the good work? Staff are an essential part of an organisation.

The performance of your organisation is directly linked to the performance of those behind it. And when you support those staff, it also benefits the people they’re working in service of. Not to mention the wonders your support can do to staff retention – this ensures that you get to keep the most talented individuals who are passionate about your cause. So here are a few ways that you can support your team and bring out the very best in them…


Invest in cost-effective and relevant development opportunities

By doing this, management, staff, and volunteers will gain an appreciation of the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve the organisation’s goals. They will also discover their own areas of improvement and get the chance to address them. By investing in your team and their potential to grow, you show them that you believe they’re capable of doing more and that you’re willing to help them get there. What better way to prove that you care about their future? A strategic investment in development opportunities will deliver better, more relevant results.

Tip: Regular catch-ups and one to ones are the perfect opportunities to discuss how your staff see themselves developing. Use this to share your feedback and listen attentively to their needs.


Improve internal communications and get more involved

When you improve internal communications, staff, volunteers, as well as trustees will be empowered to actively participate in setting and achieving the aims, objectives, priorities, and progress of the organisation. When people feel that they’re in control of an outcome, they’re much more likely to participate. Giving your organisation the opportunity to truly flourish as you maximise on everyone’s input. A good idea can come from anyone, regardless of how long they’ve been working for your organisation or their seniority. So make sure you give everyone ample opportunity to get involved and contribute to the direction your organisation is heading in. There will also be greater opportunities for feedback and dialogue so that people become more involved, feel valued and supported, and know their work is recognised and appreciated.

Tip: Remember to make your system fair. Whatever way you choose to collect feedback from and communicate with your staff, make it clear that everyone has a voice.


Set out roles and responsibilities clearly

If people gain a clearer understanding of what is expected of them and how their role contributes to the success of the organisation, they will have a greater sense of purpose in what they do, as well as a stronger commitment in what they can achieve. Creating a brand or team structure that filters out your organisation's mission and vision will help your staff to connect the dots and see how their activity contributes to the bigger picture.

Tip: Have a team meeting and get everyone involved in this process. It will help your staff to understand their individual role as well as the importance of their team.


Improve recruitment systems

An improved recruitment system will attract better job applicants and select the best candidates. Better recruitment systems will also encourage and reassure volunteers that they would be working with a dynamic and well-managed organisation. Making the recruitment process as simple as possible is key to attracting the very best candidates. With over 65% of candidates failing to complete applications across all sectors, it’s incredibly important that you keep their attention from the get-go. Ask for a CV and cover letter, make your job title as clear as possible and always get back to people, regardless of whether they’re successful or not.

Tip: There are plenty of ways to make sure that you’re attracting the best talent there is to offer and here’s a guide to help you (PDF).


Create a more supportive environment

Ensure that effective team working is in place; people identify closely with the organisation’s aims and purpose, and staff demonstrate co-operation. The best way to do this is to make sure that you adopt an approachable nature and encourage staff to ask questions. The easier it is for staff to communicate with one another, the more they’ll be inclined to collaborate and produce high-quality work. 

Tip: Collaboration is key to creating a thriving work environment. Make sure that you’re encouraging team members to pair up and work with others who’s strength is their weakness.


Aim for external recognition

When you strengthen your reputation, you strengthen your staff’s, and vice versa. Pro-actively seek out other organisations, institutions, and awards that are appropriate for your work. Also, support your staff in their pursuit for individual external recognition. As an added bonus, funders and members of the public will be impressed.

Tip: Always give credit where it’s due. Sharing the success stories of staff members and teams gives everyone in the organisation a positive boost.

Further information

Content for this HowTo was contributed by CharityJob, an NCVO Trusted Supplier, who provide a recruitment site for voluntary sector jobs.

Get more tips on recruiting and managing staff in our knowledge bank section.


Page last edited Jul 10, 2017 History

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