Of all the important activities your organization does, hiring the right employees should be at the top of the list. From chief financial officer (CFO) to grant writers, the strength of a nonprofit is determined by the people who work to achieve its mission.
Whether your organization is new to the scene or a fixture in your community, recruitment costs, or costs associated with attracting, locating, and interviewing new employees, are an inevitable expense.
No matter how utopian your nonprofit’s culture is, there’s a 99 percent chance that some percentage of your employees will eventually retire, transition jobs, receive promotions, or otherwise move on from their roles. Even if all your employees are in it for the long haul, you will have to fill new positions as your organization grows and expands.
“Every open position is the equivalent of losing money, as you are without the capacity to perform the work of that position,” says Benjamin Freedman, CEO of Weiser Innovations, “and nonprofits filling critical needs in their communities can’t stand to lose funds, particularly in the throes of the global COVID-19 pandemic.”
But despite the extensiveness of hiring, nonprofit leaders seldom budget for hiring or set talent acquisition as a priority within their strategic plan.
Talent acquisition professionals have the tools and experience to expedite and streamline the employee recruitment process, saving your organization money (a job vacancy costs the average employer around $500 a day) and ensuring the right people are brought in.
“Even the greatest organizations in the world experience attrition,” Freedman says. “Organizations need to understand the value of talent acquisition and not take it for granted because your nonprofit will not be able to achieve its mission without the right people running it.”
Why work with talent acquisition experts?
The world is unpredictable, and suddenly losing your CFO or a key program director could leave your organization in a serious bind.
“Organizations aren’t thinking about the cost of bringing on people, which is of critical importance, and unfortunately, overlooked,” Freedman says. “You never want to be in a position where you have two weeks to locate a new CFO. Your programs are going to suffer and it’s hard to recover from that.”
Making space in your budget for talent acquisition services is an obvious solution, enabling your organization to locate top candidates, efficiently fill positions, and mitigate the financial and productivity losses associated with job separations.
Talent acquisition specialists are responsible for hiring strategy as well as sourcing, attracting, interviewing, and hiring new employees. They coordinate with managers to identify hiring needs, direct the recruiting cycle, as well as create a hiring plan of action that can be implemented in the long term and deployed as soon as a job vacancy appears or in some cases prior.
Using a talent acquisition service either as an external or internal resource enables more efficient and effective hiring, which in turn prevents burnout by team members tasked with managing a departed employee’s workload while waiting for their position to be filled.
“When a position is open a month, two months, four months, six months…. Everyone else has to work extra for that, and you now have extra burnout,” Freedman says. “Employers need to think about how to prevent this.”
Can’t HR manage recruiting?
Human Resources professionals have a lot on their plate: from developing, maintaining, and enforcing company policies and practices, managing employee relations, administering benefits and sometimes payroll. HR managers are responsible for all employee and compliance-related issues.
“If HR is focused on hiring people, how are they also going to be focused on doing all the things necessary for the people you already have?” Additionally, HR professionals are not talent acquisition professionals. Although grouped together, they are very different functions that require very different skill sets. Freedman remarked, “If an organization doesn’t have an HR team and hiring falls upon the manager, how are they supposed to know best practices or have the capacity for recruiting when they are already shorthanded?”
Utilizing talent acquisition experts with specific experience in interviewing and recruiting allows your organization’s HR professionals and managers to focus on their most critical tasks — taking care of your employees, so they can take care of your community.
Finding the right fit can save your organization money
It takes between 8 and 26 weeks for new employees to reach full productivity — and the average company loses between 1% and 2.5% of their total revenue in the time it takes to bring a new hire up to speed.
More complex jobs — like financial officers and program directors — skew towards the longer end of the 26-week timeline, but the time it takes for a new employee to reach peak productivity is significantly influenced by their previous industry experience and skills.
Talent acquisition specialists have a deep understanding of how to navigate talent pools to find the most appropriate candidates, improving your likelihood of finding a great fit.
Diversifying your recruitment pool is crucial
Many organizations have issued public statements of commitment to increase the representation of African Americans and other marginalized communities in the workforce. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs have been around for decades, but navigating Title VII laws and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulations can be tricky.
Working with the right talent acquisition specialist can help broaden your organization’s recruitment pool and eliminate “blind spots,” by – for example – including Historically Black Colleges and Universities in college recruitment efforts or developing relationships with civil rights groups who can assist in identifying qualified candidates.
Talent Acquisition with 501(c) Services
501(c) Services provides professional talent acquisition services to our more than 3,000 nonprofit clients through our HR Services program.
About the Author
Lia Tabackman is a freelance journalist, copywriter, and social media strategist based in Richmond, Virginia. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, CBS 6 News, the Los Angeles Times, and Arlington Magazine, among others.