Today, I’m going to take some time to review the common struggles that nonprofit organizations face when it comes to leveraging technology in the human resources space. While these charitable organizations may already have many resources in terms of volunteers, connected board members and the intellectual capital of staff members, what they often don’t have is a robust set of technological resources to aid them in running the business of their organization – especially in the HR department, where individuals are often tasked with doing more with less.
So how do you make a business case for funding and implementing human resources software programs for your non-profit organization? Here are five reasons that non-profit organizations use HR software companies and implement a paperless HR process:
1. The Professionalism and Image of Your Organization
While many nonprofits seem to have embraced social networking and do a savvy job of emailing about volunteer opportunities and fundraising outreach efforts, when it comes to advertising available job openings and collecting applicant data, many fall behind the curve compared to other organizations their size (and even smaller). Read: Are you managing your applicants in an Excel spreadsheet or meticulously organizing resume emails into different Outlook folders on your desktop?
Or, when you are actively recruiting potential employees at a career fair or on campus for college recruiting or internships, are you collecting resumes in hard copy form due to the absence of an easy means for applicants to submit their employment application and resume on your organization’s website? If so, then you are left with a disheveled stack of resumes that don’t necessarily indicate to which job opening one should be associated (and that can be tedious if you happen to be subject to any compliance reporting requirements that task you with matching up applicants’ expressions of interest to a specific job opportunity). Plus, applicants don’t always answer the questions you need to know about one’s specific qualifications for an opening in the content of a resume.
So, ramp up your HR technology to be as credible as the rest of your operating procedures. By utilizing an affordable applicant tracking software application, you offer interested candidates the ability to submit their employment application and resume electronically right on your organization’s website. The branding of the ATS portal can even match that of your own site so that many applicants do not even realize they are exiting the organization’s website.
With this approach, gone are the hassles of collecting paper resumes at job fairs – simply hand out business cards that direct interested job seekers directly to your applicant tracking portal website. The added benefit is that only truly interested people will make the effort to apply and that means you spend less time wading through candidates who aren’t even passionate about working for your organization.
2. Organized Volunteer Application Management
If your process for allowing individuals to apply for paid positions with your nonprofit organization is less than efficient, then odds are that your process for collecting volunteer position applications is not much better. But how can you streamline this process using web-based technology when your volunteer positions require that different questions be asked of applicants compared to questions asked of applicants for paid positions?
Look to your recruiting software portal to potentially accommodate the ability to have more than one version of an external application. One version will tend to be your regular external employment application, while another version may be used as your volunteer application. Then, you may list both open paid positions and volunteer positions as opportunities on your website.
Take it a step further and utilize the job-specific screening questions that should be available to you. Associate specific questions with different volunteer opportunities to help screen volunteer applicants up front before any in-person interviews are conducted.
3. Empower Decentralized Hiring Managers to Manage Job Listings and Applicants, and Onboard New Employees
Depending on the size of your non-profit organization, you may have many people working in different areas across different locations. This can lead to the creation of silos within the organization, and that means that communication isn’t always a two-way street. When it comes to managers’ awareness of job listings available outside of their own department, or applicants that have applied elsewhere that should be considered within a manager’s own area, the manager is often in the dark. Or, I probably don’t need to remind you of the struggles that can be associated with collecting employment paperwork from new non-profit hires during the onboarding process. But there are ways to overcome these obstacles with an infusion of the appropriate software-as-a-service (SaaS) application for human resources.
With an applicant tracking system, hiring managers may be assigned their own restricted login credentials so that when they use the ATS, they will only access job listings and/or applicants that are specific to their assigned span of control. If you want to facilitate managers’ ability to proactively seek applicants across different areas of the organization, then allow managers to consider applicants who may have applied for similar positions, but in other departments or branches. An effective applicant tracking solution will also allow managers to collaborate via the web-based portal to assign qualified candidates to other managers for consideration, either via status code and/or email notification.
By setting the proper expectations and giving hiring managers more autonomy in the applicant selection process, human resource professionals can free up time in their day to devote to other more strategic and/or pressing HR responsibilities.
Non-profit organizations may look to employee onboarding software to make the process of onboarding new hires paperless. Instead of passing paper copies of required forms back and forth between HR and different organizational facilities, new hires are invited to submit answers to questions on basic employment paperwork via an easy-to-use survey-style web portal that even allows individuals, hiring managers and HR staff to approve and electronically sign paperwork.
4. Do More with Less When Charitable Contributions Are Down
While an economic downturn affects businesses beyond the nonprofit realm, its effect on this industry is very apparent when considering the charitable contributions to and funding for such organizations. Nonprofits are normally accustomed to “doing more with less” given the lack of profit; however, when the economy turns sour, the cliche becomes real.
The possibility of spending money on a web-based application for your organization may seem daunting, or even wasteful at first. After all, haven’t the Excel spreadsheets always been “good enough?” But as staffing numbers have shrunk and individual contributors in HR are responsible for sorting through the sea of applications and paperwork, the opportunity cost of not implementing an efficient, time-saving application is negligible when compared to the lower productivity of your existing team and/or the cost of hiring more people to manage the workload (since the absence of HR technology requires manual processes which inevitably take longer).
5. Engage New Employees in the Same Way You Want Them to Engage the Beneficiaries of Your Non-Profit Organization – Oh, and be Green Too!
Not everyone is interested in working for the nonprofit segment, as it may be hard to turn down the sometimes more lucrative compensation and benefit plans offered by the for-profit world. But many people who do work in nonprofits tend to be especially passionate about helping others and the mission of their organization, and any sacrifices that may accompany that choice are worth it.
Employees of non-profits strive to create awareness within the community, and within the target audience for the services of the organization. This of course requires them to be actively engaged with their non-profit’s goals, procedures, communication methods, etc. so that they can effectively convey this information to others. A significant part of ensuring this employee engagement starts with the effective onboarding of new employees to the non-profit organization. You want their initial experiences with your organization to be nothing but positive after they have made their decision to join you…no “buyer’s remorse.”
Using technology to make the process of collecting new hire information more intuitive will give your new employees a favorable impression of your organization, and at the same time, its a great green initiative for being environmentally conscious. Employee onboarding software advantages include reducing data entry errors while also speeding up the process of obtaining approved paperwork – despite the possibility of multiple facilities at different locations in your organization. Your new employees are anxious to get started on the real work of your non-profit…don’t stall them by making the onboarding process tedious or unnecessarily difficult.
How have you created a business case for HR technology in your own nonprofit organization? Learn how to leverage technology to gain efficiencies in your own organization. Schedule a live demo with ExactHire today!