Strategies to attract, retain and grow talented teams

In a tight labor market, companies compete to hire and retain top-tier talent. This becomes especially challenging for many not-for-profit organizations. Budget constraints and limited resources can make it hard to find and retain quality staff. When candidates have the power to be selective, what can an NFP organization do to differentiate itself as an employer from the many opportunities that exist?

A strategic approach to talent acquisition and retention benefits both the organization and the team. Tight labor markets give candidates leverage. They can afford to be selective when searching for an organization that offers the best overall package. Even in the not-for-profit world, the most desirable candidates seek benefits such as a progressive corporate culture, flexible work practices, advancement opportunities and competitive compensation.

Ensuring that your organization can compete in a tight labor market requires taking a close look at your hiring and retention practices. A strong corporate culture and attractive hiring and retention strategies will attract quality candidates who are poised to remain loyal for a longer period. This leads to an engaged workforce that fuels an improved bottom line. Below are some methods that I have found effective for elevating corporate culture.

Focus on leadership development

At Clark Schaefer Hackett, we use a combination of in-house and third-party resources to identify team members who possess character traits that will make them effective leaders. These traits include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.

We offer a Leadership Development Academy to our team members. Staff apply to attend the academy, which consists of a two-year program that allows team members to obtain a comprehensive understanding of leadership issues, ranging from public speaking and giving high-impact presentations to conflict resolution. Each academy class selects a project that will have an impact on the organization. At the end of the course, they present their project to our executive management team. Successful past projects include:

  • Transitioning to a one-firm concept brand in lieu of a geographically based brand strategy.
  • A career progression guide, which has become a cornerstone of our HR, succession planning and retention strategy.

Our leadership academy was launched in 2009, and multiple graduates have risen to the level of shareholder or principal. To help shepherd future leaders through their careers at CSH, we assign an experienced mentor to each academy student. We have found it effective to use mentors from other offices to broaden the perspectives of both the mentor and the mentees.

Organizational cohesiveness

We want all team members to feel included, and we foster groups to help team members form relationships with their peers. We have an Advancing Women in Leadership (AWIL) group and a Young Professionals group. Firm management supports these groups, which provides team members with the time to participate in all events and meetings.

As we have offices in Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan, these groups are supported throughout the firm. We encourage AWIL and YP members to participate in joint meetings with similar groups from other companies. Joint events allow our team members to exchange ideas regarding effective programs and to benchmark our offerings relative to their peers.

Improve the talent at your organization

Talent attraction and retention is an issue facing many companies. We can help create a culture of continuous learning and development through our Strategic Talent Management services. These services include talent assessment, recruiting and executive training, leadership development, change management, cultural transformation, process improvement and much more.

For more information on how you can apply some of these ideas at your organization, please contact your Clark Schaefer Hackett professional.


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