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The nonprofit sector is not alone in under-prioritizing HR

Many studies show that prioritizing human resources needs to come from the top. Historically, the ability of nonprofit organizations to invest time and resources into HR has been difficult for a host of reasons, such as competing priorities teamed with overstretched bandwidth of C-level management. Interestingly, the nonprofit sector is not alone in this situation. A recent survey by Deloitte found that the vast majority of business leaders do not believe that HR plays a critical role in company strategy and operations, and more than 50% do not have a Chief Human Resources Officer or comparable executive who is dedicated to people issues.

The result of this kind of thinking can be detrimental to all types of organizations, whether they are private businesses or nonprofits. Even in this “buyer’s market” of talent, organizations risk falling into common pitfalls if they do not view HR as a strategic, value-adding function of their organizations.

Short of capital to support these efforts falling from the sky (or being provided by funders), what can nonprofits do? We make a number of suggestions for how nonprofit leaders can invest in their most important resources—their people—without breaking the bank in our survey report The Voice of Nonprofit Talent.

Still, until nonprofit leaders recognize the importance of these issues, they will continue to take a backseat to other “more important” priorities. We think it’s time that human capital gains the spotlight it deserves. Without the ability to recruit, retain, and develop people, nonprofit organizations cannot truly reach their potential and succeed.

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