Civic Ventures, a think tank that explores and develops "encore" opportunities for people at or approaching retirement age, has published a trio of reports that explore generational issues in nonprofits.
An Encore for Nonprofit Leaders: Making the World a Better Place, Continued relates the experience of three nonprofit leaders after retiring from their jobs and how they moved into their encore careers.
Each person had to wrestle with their desire for autonomy and more leisure time, their heartfelt duty to continue giving back given their experience and education, and their need for money.
All three of these professionals went back into some sort of paid work within the nonprofit sector. Their stories of how they came to their decisions and their changing views of a "good" retirement are helpful for other nonprofit leaders who are approaching retirement.
Clearly, retirement is not what it perhaps once was. Expectations have changed, economics have certainly impacted retirement plans, and the need to consider one's needs for engaging and disengaging need to be balanced.
Rewards at Work: Inspiring Productive Employees Across Career Stages acknowledges that it is common now to have four generations working together in the nonprofit sector, and calls for viewing "age and generational differences as systematically as we see other aspects of diversity and think creatively."
The report does just that by suggesting that nonprofits develop a menu of rewards that can be assembled according to the career and life stage of a particular worker. There is a chart of such motivators, both traditional ones such as compensation, and nontraditional ones such as wellness programs and mentoring. The menu ranges across the dimensions of Life, Health, Work, and Money, with a variety of ways to reward employees, depending on their wants and needs at particular life stages.
Also included in this excellent discussion are five low-cost, and quick ideas/rewards that the authors says boost engagement across multiple career stages. These five appeal to an employee's intrinsic needs, such as the need for self-affirmation, and his/her extrinsic needs, such as raises or bonuses.
The top five rewards are:
- An engaging, empowering culture
- Incentive compensation
- Peer-to-peer rewards
The report discusses each of these and suggests ways that a nonprofit can fairly easily supply them.
A New Career Narrative: Will Nonprofits Lead the Way? is actually a blog post by Frances Kunreuther, author of Working Across Generations: Defining the Future of Nonprofit Leadership. I found this article to be very insightful, capturing the questions that are raised for those of us reaching the end of our primary careers when the rules have suddenly been dramatically changed.
Kunreuther says, "We boomers were sold on a 35-year work trajectory that would lead to a graceful and economically viable exit. But the reality is the work trajectory for us and the generations that follow is closer to 50+ years."
She then calls for a new career narrative and suggests some possibilities that include:
- Reshaping the ladder...perhaps we need a bell-shaped curve rather than a ladder with a beginning and an end.
- Thinking about lattices...a way to move across organizations and sectors, rather than just up in one or two.
- Getting leaner, meaner and multi-generational...restructuring operations in order to intentionally attract, retain and integrate a workforce of various ages by creating cross-generational spaces in our organizations.
Together these three reports might help you or your nonprofit begin thinking about generational issues, as well as your own personal career path.
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