Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Knowledge Workers: Asset Not Cost

Daily Drucker 7:  Attract and hold the highest-producing knowledge workers by treating them and their knowledge as the organization's most valuable assets.

In the orchestra field, the principal asset of the business is the musicians.  Without them, the organization ceases to exist.  But what about the staff?  Orchestra staff members are typically intelligent individuals, most with formal training in music, who made a conscious decision to work at a non-profit and sacrifice short-term monetary gains in return for the love of the organization or the pride in their work.  Keeping these workers is vital to the sustainability of the organization and field.  Far too often I have seen colleagues get burned out with the time and mental investment demanded by the company and management and see them take jobs at other non-profits who pay better and require less or move into for-profit jobs.

Staff retention is just not about salary and benefits, but being honest with the staff about how the organization is investing in them would help with retention.  Often the first items to get cut in budget-crunches is staff development and training.  But without better staff, how can the organization become more effective?  Robbing Peter to pay Paul only lasts a short time, until Peter goes to work for Paul.

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