Examination of the Jewish nonprofit sector is a critical benchmark in the groundbreaking campaign by top philanthropists to shift workplace culture.
November 29, 2018
Leading Edge, an organization focused on building a robust leadership pipeline for Jewish nonprofits, released today a report detailing the results of its third annual survey of employees in the sector, with tips for how organizations can promote growth in key areas. A total of 7,300 employees across 105 Jewish organizations participated in the 2018 survey. Over the past three years, Leading Edge has surveyed roughly 10% of the total U.S. workforce of the Jewish nonprofit sector..
“The Leading Edge Employee Experience Survey is a critical tool to help the Jewish nonprofit sector manifest our core values,” said President & CEO Gali Cooks. “When leaders participate in this process, they become aware of what changes are needed to become even better places to work.”
The fifty-two (52) organizations that have now taken the Leading Edge survey more than once are making steady, incremental changes that are positively influencing employee culture—75% either improved their scores from year to year, or simply started and remain strong overall.
“While taking the survey is by no means the solution to all workplace challenges, it is a useful tool for organizations to understand their strengths and gaps as an employer,” said Amy Born, Senior Strategist for Organizational Development. “It’s a testament to the field and leaders who do this work that they not only care about the community but the people who serve it as professionals.”
The Leading Edge survey focuses on employee engagement: the level of connection, pride, motivation, and commitment a person feels for their work and how likely they are to stay or leave their place of employment – and the Jewish nonprofit sector as a whole.
Among the key survey findings:
- Jewish nonprofits excel at: connecting employees to mission and imbuing in them a sense of organizational pride; establishing environments of respect; and collaborating within departments.
- Senior leadership, direct managers, and internal communications have the greatest impact on people’s desire to stay or leave their organization.
- Employees place a high value on flexibility within the work environment.
The report also notes a few areas where improvements would further advance the field:
- Strengthening internal communications
- Managing performance through appropriate and ongoing feedback
- Ensuring a more even distribution of work across portfolios
- Setting and communicating an organizational compensation philosophy
- Fostering organization-wide collaboration
- Promoting transparency in advancement opportunities
All of the organizations that participate in the Leading Edge survey agree to embark on a thoughtful, ongoing process of addressing the growing edges that emerge from the survey. Leading Edge offers organizations an onboarding and orientation process to the survey, as well as one-on-one consultations with an organizational development expert who walks them through the survey results and their implications, and discusses ways to take action.
“The Orthodox Union has benefited significantly from participating in the Leading Edge Employee survey,” said Rabbi Ari Rockoff, Director of Leadership Development at the Orthodox Union. “This is the third consecutive year that we have participated and the results have enabled us to develop a targeted strategy in our approach to staff engagement that has already had a transformative impact. Through our work with Leading Edge, we have learned the importance of building a culture of professional growth and development and investing in our most important resource… our people.”
“The Leading Edge Employee survey has had an incredible impact on Bend the Arc and our work on organizational culture,” said Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc. “Each time we’ve participated, the results have enabled us to more clearly assess our strengths and growth areas and benchmark ourselves against our past progress and other comparable organizations. Through our work with Leading Edge, we have made significant strides in our internal communication and transparency, our management practices, and our shared expectations as a staff.”
The full report can be downloaded HERE