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Are your lousy systems affecting staff retention?
12 April 2011, by , in Executive, No comments

I was working with a client on the selection of a new data management system. In one of our early conversations, we talked about the “costs” involved with maintaining the current database. The usual costs came up: direct costs like paying outside contractors to maintain and patch the database and the indirect costs of staff inefficiency due to having to manage data in multiple data sources.

I then asked the following question: “Do you think these poor systems have had any affect on staff retention?”

My client asked, “What do you mean?”

I explained, “For example, during exit interviews, has staff ever mentioned that the tools they had to use to do their job were inadequate and that it played a part in his or her decision to leave?”

My client looked at me with a stunned look and said “You know, we’ve had several staff leave in the past two years, and I know that in at least two cases, staff specifically stated that our outdated database affected their ability to do their job effectively. One staff person said she had grown tired of constantly fighting the losing battle of trying to get better tools to do her job, so she finally found another job.”

Think about the tools you provide your staff. Whether it’s your database, your phone system, or any other piece of technology that they need to do their work effectively and efficiently, are you providing them with the best tools you can in order to do their job well? Your best staff will only hang around so long until they decide that it’s time to move on to a place that WILL invest in good technology.

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“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

“We came to Wes because we were very frustrated with our existing AMS and we wanted to improve our capabilities as soon as practicable. Wes very quickly helped us through a process of identifying our needs, identifying potential vendors, and selecting a new system that we’ll be able to move into very quickly. I especially appreciated Wes’s candor about our processes as well as the systems we were looking at. He was a great resource to have in a period of high anxiety for our organization. I would highly recommend Wes for any similar project.”

Jack Chiasson, CMP Executive Director
National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
International Registration Plan

“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”

Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance

Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
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