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Confronting the Workforce Crisis: Part One – The Pandemic

Learn strategies that nonprofits are utilizing to address workforce challenges from the pandemic.
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It’s been said that employees are an organization’s greatest asset. Even further, the best assets of employees are their abilities, knowledge, and experiences they bring to the workplace.

In the nonprofit sector, attracting and retaining talented employees is crucial for driving mission success. However, in the current environment, organizations are facing major staffing hurdles due to high demand and low supply.

In our previous article, we used findings from the Forvis Mazars 2024 State of the Nonprofit Sector Report to highlight six major factors contributing to the current industry workforce crisis. They include but are not limited to:

  1. The pandemic
  2. Employee compensation
  3. Funder priorities
  4. Stress and burnout
  5. Executive transitions
  6. Talent development

This article will explore some strategies nonprofits are employing to address the first factor.

The Pandemic

In addition to the physical harm caused by the virus, living through the pandemic left a lingering emotional toll on many. The shutdown and seclusion of the pandemic created fear and anxiety that is still being felt today. The trauma of that time caused individuals to rethink their priorities, resulting in a new focus on health, self-care, personal needs, and social engagement.

These priority shifts caused organizations to make changes in the way they manage their staff.

To attract and retain quality employees, many nonprofits are offering flexible scheduling, encouraging remote work, and creating childcare assistance. Here’s how they are executing on these offerings.


Job recruiters report that the number one thing prospective employees inquire about is no longer salary, but flexibility. Job seekers want to know if the organization will allow them time to care for personal needs. One1 national study shows that 72% of workers indicate work-life balance is a very important factor when choosing a job. And more than half (57%) of job seekers say evidence that a new job would come with a poor work-life balance is a deal breaker.1

Embracing flexibility helps nonprofits attract employees who value work-life balance and helps retain staff who prefer a certain degree of autonomy in their work schedule. Remote work, part-time positions, and flexible hours are appealing to individuals who may have other commitments, such as caregiving responsibilities or continuing education, making it easier for them to join the nonprofit sector. 

Here are some examples of workplace flexibility:

  • Staggered hours – This gives employees control over their working hours, allowing them to choose when they start and finish. This can be useful for employees who need to accommodate personal commitments such as caring for family members or picking up children from school.
  • Compressed hours – A condensed or compressed work week allows employees to accumulate the same number of hours in fewer days than a typical five-day work week. For instance, an employee might work 10 hours over four days. Organizations receive the same number of hours worked by their employees, but employees have an extra day to schedule appointments, run errands, etc.
  • Passion pursuit – Individuals can grow mentally, emotionally, and physically when they take time to pursue passions or hobbies. Organizations that give employees dedicated time off to explore their out-of-work selves reap benefits, as passion activities can enhance employee skills, increase engagement, and boost morale. Examples include outdoor recreational activities, community service and volunteerism, social engagement and community building, educational growth (such as reading books or learning a new skill), and relaxation. In addition to helping individuals, sharing passions can strengthen bonds between coworkers and create deeper relationships.2

Remote Work

Some organizations have adopted a work-from-anywhere policy that allows employees to complete work in any location they desire. Remote working provides many benefits for individuals and organizations alike, such as:

  • Reduction in employees’ travel time, costs, and stress of navigating a daily commute.
  • Expansion of the pool of available employees; remote working allows employers the option to hire individuals across the globe.
  • Improved retention; remote work can help grow job satisfaction, which may improve employee loyalty and help organizations reduce costly turnover.

Childcare Assistance

Helping individuals with childcare is another critical step toward alleviating the workforce shortage. Working parents often struggle to find quality childcare at an affordable rate. The national average price of childcare in 2022 was $10,853 per year. In some parts of the nation, it can cost more than double that rate.3

Organizations can lessen that burden by offering their employees support in this area. Childcare assistance programs make workplaces more family-friendly and can lead to many positive outcomes, such as increased productivity, improved job satisfaction, and a decrease in absenteeism.

Organizations can provide childcare assistance in a variety of ways:

  • On-site daycare – Larger organizations can offer a facility at the workplace that can benefit parents and ease the anxiety of separation from their child/ren.
  • Family stipend – A family allowance can help employees pay for family-related expenses.
  • Extended paid leave – Beyond legal requirements, organizations can offer this as an option, giving parents a chance to bond with newborns without fear of losing their jobs.
  • Paid time off (PTO) –Granting employees compensation for personal time off, vacation days, federal holidays, sick leave, and maternity and paternity leave policies are not a requirement of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), but they can go a long way toward employee wellbeing.

The U.S. is the only industrialized country that does not guarantee paid family leave.4 This is why it is imperative to create a family-friendly workplace where everyone can grow.

In addition to helping employees, organizations can reap tax benefits through various childcare programs. The Employer-Provided Child Care Credit can save employers on eligible expenses, and the credit can help offset actual federal income tax liability.5 Employers can reduce the taxes they owe by taking the credit for expenses related to providing a childcare facility to their employees.6

How Forvis Mazars Can Help

Ultimately, each organization plays a vital role in helping their employees balance work and personal responsibilities. By offering flexible schedules, remote work options, and childcare assistance, organizations can enhance employee satisfaction and improve their effectiveness.
If you have any questions or need assistance, please reach out to a professional at Forvis Mazars.

  • 1“20+ Vital Work-Life Balance Statistics [2023]: Is Work-Life Balance Your Second Priority?”, June 29, 2023.
  • 2“To Retain Employees, Support Their Passions Outside Work,”, March 30, 2022.
  • 3“Annual Price of Care: 2022 Child Care Affordability,”, January 1, 2023.
  • 4“Child Care Benefits for Employees: The Ultimate Guide,”, January 1, 2023.
  • 5“Employer Guide to Childcare Assistance and Tax Credits,”, April 28, 2022.
  • 6“Employer-Provided Child Care Credit: Estimated Claims and Factors Limiting Wider Use,”, February 24, 2022.

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