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Posted by on Mar 2016 in All Stories, Features, Member Support, Slider | 0 comments

Is your staffing and salary strategy on track?

Two woman and a man sitting around a desk For non-profits, the drive to be effective and sustainable can translate into cutting costs – at all costs. Facing unpredictable funding, pinched resources and rising costs, non-profit housing providers have to make tough choices between meeting their operational costs and providing competitive salaries and benefits for their staff.

It’s easy to fall into this mentality, but short-term savings can make your organization less effective and create staggering costs in the long run. Long-term sustainability requires long-term thinking. In the name of financial fitness, here’s why investing in the people behind your organization makes sense.

You can’t afford not to

Finding and keeping talented staff can be tough for non-profits, who aren’t known for offering the highest salaries or the best benefits. Employees may be drawn to an organization’s mission, but the pull of earning more in other sectors can create a ‘revolving door’ effect.

A 2013 survey by the Ontario Non-Profit Network and the Mowat Centre found more than two-thirds of non-profits experienced challenges with recruitment and retention in the past three years. When asked why, participants pointed to low wages and salaries as the top obstacle to recruitment and the second most pressing barrier to keeping staff.

The price tag of higher salaries and better benefits may be hard to stomach, but the long-term costs of turnover are worth considering. The Canadian HR Reporter pegged the cost of replacing an employee at anywhere from 25 to 200 per cent of that person’s yearly salary. While it’s tough to pin down, high turnover can have serious impacts – financially and otherwise:

  • More time and money spent recruiting and training new staff
  • Lost productivity while new staff adjust
  • More pressure on existing staff, dampening morale and leading to further turnover
  • Less capacity to plan for the future – creating a cycle of short-term thinking

In an environment of already reduced resources, non-profits can’t afford to face these costs and barriers time and time again.

We’re facing a youth deficit

According to a 2014 RBC report, Canada’s workforce is aging, and labour force participation continues to decline. Within Ontario’s non-profit housing sector, a large portion of chief staff officers (56 per cent), property managers (42 per cent), senior managers (36 per cent) and property management staff (45 per cent) are within ten years of retirement age.

ONPHA members are pressed to recruit future leaders, with succession planning coming in as the top concern in our 2015 Membership Survey. Addressing this youth deficit is key to keeping organizations strong and sustainable – and competitive pay is one of the biggest factors driving young professionals away from, or towards, the non-profit sector.

Now more than ever, finding ways to offer more competitive salaries, benefits, and work environments is key to the long-term vitality of our sector.

What’s better for staff is better for tenants

It’s easy to pit program, maintenance, and operational costs against the cost of salaries and benefits. But investing in attracting the best people can have big benefits for the tenants we serve. Intuitively, we know that organizations staffed by passionate, engaged, and skilled staff are in a better position to deliver on their missions and achieve stronger outcomes for their communities. We also know that social housing tenants are better off when they are served by staff who are knowledgeable about the housing sector and the barriers they face.

This can get lost when it comes time to set budgets and salaries, but it’s the shift in thinking we need to move beyond the buildings and focus on the people that are at the heart of social housing communities.

Is it time to review your staffing and salary strategy?

Understanding how your organization’s salary and benefits levels compare is crucial to setting a compensation strategy that helps attract and retain the right staff.Cover of ONPHA Salary Survey Report. Text reads 2015 Ontario Non-Profit Housing Compensationand Benefits Study. Image of a woman with high-rise apartment in the background

Just released, ONPHA’s 2015 Non-Profit Housing Compensation and Benefits Study breaks down wages, salary, and benefits information for over 2,000 employees in Ontario’s non-profit housing sector, from executives and property managers to maintenance and support staff.

Property managers, boards, and HR directors can use the detailed breakdowns by size, region, and type of housing to benchmark and set salaries at the right levels. The report also covers experience levels, employment status, pay structure, and hours worked, to help you develop staffing and HR strategies tailored to your organization.

Get the report here for the information you need to attract and retain the right staff and plan more effectively for the future.

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