In praise of the sector’s unsung HR heroes


It’s great to see the interim results of this years’ Charity Pulse survey revealing that morale is on the up among charity workers. The last few years have been tough for the sector and this is the biggest uplift in morale we have seen since the annual staff satisfaction survey began in 2007.

The fact that the economy is picking up must surely be part of the reason for this, but I think it would be unfair on some unsung heroes if we didn’t look a little closer to home as well.

I’m talking about the sector HR professionals and line managers who are working their socks off to make their organisations great places to work. I’m talking about the ones who really care about their people. The individuals who really ‘get’ that happy staff make productive staff; that happy staff make great team players and that happy staff are the ones who go the extra mile for the cause.

We hear a lot of talk about organisations like Google and Apple and their innovative working environments and practices. But research among workers tells us time and again that people are not that bothered about trendy décor and free cake (well, I might have got the last one wrong…) What they want is to be treated like an adult, respected for their skills and involved in decisions that affect them.

So staff morale matters. It’s not fluffy and it’s not just a nice to have. It’s one of the cornerstones of a healthy and successful organisation.

This has been the toughest few years that most of us have experienced in our working lives. Yet we are hopefully seeing a silver lining: better people management in the sector. If some of our charities have succeeded in bringing their people with them through all the turmoil, then perhaps the corporate sector will be able to learn a thing or two about staff satisfaction and motivation from their third sector cousins.

The survey is open for one more week, so please take part and share your experience. Lets keep shining the spotlight on this vital area.

You can take part in the survey here:

Frances Hurst is co-founder of Birdsong Charity Consulting