Many non-profits are still recovering from the economic challenges of the pandemic. Such economic threats as high inflation are causing business to stretch every dollar. Employees might see layoffs at other companies. This can create worry about their own job security. Be transparent about your non-profits financial situation to keep operations running smoothly.
Many non-profits not only are contending with inflation, but also are still struggling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as higher demand for services and reduced donations. What’s more, some experts are predicting a U.S. recession soon, while others are saying we’re already in one.
There may be several reasons for your staff to be concerned about your organization’s future. Be open with them about where you stand now and how you expect to fare financially in the coming year. You may want to provide some personal opinions to build rapport and ease anxiety. Your core focus should be on the facts and how you’re responding to and anticipating events.
Just knowing that leadership is listening and has a plan is enough to help some people go back to focusing on their work. However, employees must feel confident that your plan is well considered and likely to be effective. They also need to know that you’re being candid with them. Solicit staffers’ questions and answer them truthfully, even if the only thing you can say at the time is ‘I don’t know.’
Addressing Layoffs Head-On
Regardless of whether the fear is voiced, layoffs may be on staffers’ minds. Before they even ask, broach the subject to show you understand their concerns. Just be careful not to make promises you might not be able to keep. Although it’s fine to talk about the steps you’ll take to avoid layoffs, most leaders would be remiss to categorically deny that layoffs are an option.
It’s not enough to hold one meeting about the state of your non-profit’s finances and then go back to business as usual. Keep staff informed with frequent updates, using the methods that are most efficient given your workforce’s location. In-person or face-to-face video conferences are best for announcing big developments.
It may seem like only last week that non-profits were scrambling to hire enough workers to fill open positions — and, in fact, some still are in hiring mode. Perhaps your organization is currently in good financial shape. But if your budget begins to feel tight, be proactive and communicate the financial facts.
To help employees feel empowered, involve them in cost-cutting measures. For example, ask them for suggestions and make individuals personally responsible for managing specific tasks. For help budgeting and managing inflationary pressures, contact us.