Not-for-profits must grasp pandemic opportunity

Posted on 03 Jan 2022

By Matthew Schulz, journalist, Our Community

Ransom Holly landscape

Leadership expert, Leading Edge author and Emergent CEO Holly Ransom says not-for-profits have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to attract the best talent to their organisations.

Presenting the latest address in ICDA’s Rethinking the Community Sector quarterly lecture series, Ms Ransom said 80% of Aussie workers suffered burnout in 2021, while 40% of the global workforce was ready to quit as part of the “Great Resignation”.

Yet this upheaval represented “an incredible opportunity for organisations in the community sector, to attract extraordinary talent who want purpose”, she said.

Ms Ransom said the “forced pause” triggered by covid-19 lockdowns had prompted many talented workers in many fields to ask themselves, “Is it worth it?”.

Many had questioned their current situation, she said, and found themselves asking, “Is what I’m doing, that commute into the city to work for an organisation, where it’s not about much more than the bottom line, is that really what I want to spend my life doing?”

Those same skilled workers were considering: “Do I want to be involved in something that’s got a mission? To do something that’s about something that’s bigger than me? That’s going to make a contribution to the generation who will come after me?”

As a result, not-for-profits had an exciting “window of time” in which they could press their “incredible appeal” to other disaffected workers, Ms Ransom said.

This would combine the community’s sector’s “purpose-driven focus” and its status as “best in class with flexibility of work” to pitch for new talent.

“We've got a really exciting opportunity to add skills and talent back into the workforce,” she said.

Ms Ransom’s talk also spanned many of the biggest challenges facing not-for-profit directors and executives, insights she gleaned from having access to a broad spectrum of global leaders in researching her recently published book.

Ms Ransom’s views come on the back of ICDA’s own recent study that warned that NFP employers are not immune from the threat of the Great Resignation, with 40% of workers in the sector tempted to leave their current jobs.

ICDA members can listen to a replay of Ms Ransom’s address for free as part of their membership, along with the first presentation in the series by Save the Children CEO Paul Ronalds.

Next in the series will be renowned ethicist Simon Longstaff with the topic “Fixing the culture: What is the board's role in dealing with toxicity in the workplace?

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