Sponsored by George Fox University
Home Archives October 2009 Compare and contrast

Compare and contrast

| Print |  Email
Thursday, October 01, 2009
BY ADAM DAVIS AND SU MIDGHALL

candc_1Two important themes emerged in a comparison of the inaugural 100 Best Nonprofits survey and those from the 100 Best Company survey: The two groups of employees are very similar in the importance they place on what makes a great workplace, but their satisfaction levels with several key issues are very different.

The 6,700 employees who participated in the 100 Best Nonprofits survey and the workers who participated in this year’s 100 Best Companies survey all ranked satisfaction and importance of 50 workplace qualities in six categories: benefits and compensation; work environment; decision-making and trust; performance management; and career development and learning. (Ten questions on sustainable practices were surveyed but not used to rank Nonprofits or Companies. The responses to those questions are used to rank the 100 Best Green Companies.) Because many of the same questions were asked in the two surveys, responses were easily compared among employees of these two business sectors.

Employees in the Nonprofits and Companies surveys reported virtually no differences in what workplace qualities were important to them, with the exception of two questions. Nonprofit employees’ rated slightly higher the importance of “fairness for differing racial, gender, sexual-orientation, or disability groups” and of the “organization’s broader support for the community.”

These were not major differences, but were the most noticeable among all of the workplace qualities. As one employee noted about his nonprofit employer: “The management team is great and is made up of both men and women. Women are held in equal esteem as men. The board is equally balanced between men and women.”

As a whole, employees in the nonprofit survey assigned their highest importance ratings to two workplace variables: “treatment of employees by supervisors,” and “pride and belief in the organization.” The latter item clearly reflects the mission-driven quality of nonprofit organizations and their employees, while the former speaks for itself. Nonprofit employees assessed all workplace characteristics to be of relatively high importance.

While importance ratings were highly consistent in this survey and differences between both groups of employees on areas of importance were quite small, there was a much bigger difference between the groups with the satisfaction ratings of the 50 workplace qualities.

Nonprofit employees were most satisfied with having “clear understanding of the organization’s mission and purpose,” “fairness for differing racial, gender, sexual-orientation, or disability groups,” and “pride and belief in the organization.” As noted earlier, the latter was also one of the most important aspects for employees. One employee commented, “There is a sense of family and pride in the work that we do, we work hard and have a fun time doing it.”

candc_2By contrast, nonprofit employees rated their least satisfaction with “opportunities for increases in pay and benefits,” “rewards for top performance,” and “timely discipline and termination of poor performers.” The lowest satisfaction ratings were around compensation structures, but it’s important to note that nonprofit employees were making a distinction between opportunities for financial growth and learning versus their actual compensation.

Many of the largest differences between employees in the 100 Best Nonprofits survey and those in the 100 Best Companies survey were in career development and learning, not benefits and compensation. While many nonprofit employees saw career development and learning (including opportunities for increases in pay based on performance) as an area in which their employers can improve, employees in this sector demonstrate strong mission-driven dedication to the organizations in which they are employed.

These employees value, and feel they experience the benefits of, a flexible work environment that allows for the balancing of work and family life, which promotes fairness toward workers from all groups, advances a commitment to the betterment of the community, and promotes sustainable practices.

Through the results of this survey employees are telling a story to their nonprofit employers that they want more dialogue about how best to retain their highly qualified staff. This includes opportunities for pay increases, performance-based promotions and rewards, acknowledgment by management for performance, and the organization’s commitment to general career and salary advancements.

Adam Davis and Su Midghall are principals at Davis, Hibbitts and Midghall, a Portland-based research firm. DHM is the research partner with Oregon Business in the 100 Best projects.

 

More Articles

Q&A: David Lively of Organically Grown Co.

News
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
OGCLogoBY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

Demand for organic food continues to soar: Last year, sales of organic food rose to $32.3 billion — up 10% from 2012. In Oregon, organic produce wholesaler Organically Grown Co. has been championing organic growing methods for four decades.


Read more...

Trends in business succession

News
Thursday, July 03, 2014
TrendsBY TED AUSTIN & MIKE BAELE | GUEST CONTRIBUTORS

The Office of Economic Analysis announced that Oregon is currently enjoying the strongest job growth since 2006. While this resurgence has been welcome, the lingering effects of the 2008 “Great Recession” continues to affect Oregon businesses, especially with regard to estate planning and business succession.


Read more...

OB Video: Building trade ties with the EU

News
Monday, June 16, 2014
BritEmbCampionBY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

The Oregon economy could get a boost from a new trade agreement being negotiated between the U.S. and the European Union.


Read more...

Updated: Disrupting innovation

News
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
070814 thumb disputive-innovationBY LINDA BAKER  | OB EDITOR

The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation  — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment. 

Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.


Read more...

Why I became an Oregon angel investor

Guest Blog
Monday, July 14, 2014
AngelInvestBY TERRY "STARBUCKER" ST. MARIE

I really didn’t know that much about angel investing, but I did know a lot about the entrepreneurial spirit.


Read more...

OB Video: Oregon MESA

News
Thursday, June 26, 2014

ThumbOregon Business hosts an informal roundtable discussion about the Oregon MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) program.


Read more...

The global challenge

News
Friday, June 27, 2014
062714 thumb globalmarketBY JASON NORRIS | OB BLOGGER

Over the last several months we have seen a wave of cross-border acquisitions, primarily U.S.-based companies looking to purchase non-U.S.-based companies. There are a few reasons for this, but the main culprit is the U.S. corporate tax system. The United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS