Coping with Change / Passion and Commitment Under Stress
These two reports from Canadian Policy Research Networks complete a series on human resources in Canada’s non-profit sector. Similar to previous publications in the series, the Coping with Change report uses 1999 Statistics Canada survey data, this time to examine the human resource strategies that non-profit organizations use to cope with their “turbulent environment”. There are some surprising findings, including the fact that the non-profit sector has been “as active as others in raising employee skill levels, improving product and service quality, and increasing employee participation in decision-making”. The statistics in the report show that the “culture, recreation and associations” group of organizations has been particularly innovative in introducing new or improved goods, services or processes.
The authors argue that the non-profit sector has “a comparative advantage over other sectors in areas such as individual control over work, shared decision-making, and mutual respect and trust in the employment relationship”. Pay is lower in the non-profit sector, but the authors argue that the sector remains attractive to many because of “the unique opportunities it provides to serve our communities”.
However, the synthesis report of the series (Passion and Commitment Under Stress) notes that the intrinsic rewards of working in non-profits are being undermined by unstable funding, low salaries, heavy workloads and lack of opportunity for advancement. To counter these problems, the report recommends more long-term funding, support for capacity-building, a non-profit human resources sector council, more competitive salaries and benefits, and high quality workplaces.