‘Compensation has always been an issue for us’

HR Director at nonprofit on the obstacles for recruiting and retention

‘Compensation has always been an issue for us’

Even before the Great Resignation, recruitment and retention were challenges for nonprofits because they rely upon sponsorships, grants and other forms of funding.

“Compensation has always been an issue for us,” says Marianne Stemm, HR director at Columbus, IN-based Thrive Alliance, a nonprofit that provides housing, social, and caregiving services to southern Indiana. Thrive Alliance is almost 100% funded by the state. 

“We do regular compensation surveys to make sure we’re as competitive as we can be. I’m also transparent with job candidates and say, ‘maybe we can’t pay, but look at what else we offer,’” Stemm told HRD.

Read more: HRD America’s Best Places to Work 2022

Thrive Alliance’s just over 100 employees receive a full array of health, dental, vision and free life insurance, along with short-term disability, a 1% salary match for 401(k) plans, a generous paid time off policy and a pretty flexible schedule. 

Additionally, mental health benefits and resources have been in high demand since the pandemic began, as employees have suffered immense stress, anxiety and burnout. More than 80% of employees believe it’s their employer’s responsibility to help with mental health, according to recent data from Santa Monica, CA-based Headspace Health, a global provider of mental health and wellbeing solutions.

Yet, only 25% say that employers have maintained their focus on mental health in the last year. That’s quite the drop from the 71% who said their company increased focus on mental health following COVID-19. During the summer and fall of 2020, with employees working remotely, Stemm organized virtual counseling sessions and even group counseling to help alleviate stress and burnout. 

Fostering such a supportive culture is a tall task considering that Stemm is an HR department of one. “I’ve been doing HR for 30 years, but the last two years have been the most stressful with COVID-19 and the transition to working from home,” she says. “But our employees continue to do important work, so I try to help them have a good work-life balance.”

Thrive Alliance has been named one of HRD America’s Best Places to Work 2022. Read the whole list here.

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