Leaders of small congregations often say, “We can’t afford to hire as many people as we need.” Leaders of large congregations say the same thing! If your vision is ambitious, you will always need more staff than you can afford, no matter what resources you have at your disposal. Fortunately, there is another way.
Fifty-eight percent of professional workers say they are “more productive when working virtually, even if there are distractions such as a spouse and children at home.” This finding from a survey by the global consulting firm Korn Ferry is one of many indications that for some American workers, productivity has improved. How about your congregational staff? Has their productivity increased, decreased, or stayed the same since February 2020?
In the next year it is likely that your congregation will have to fire someone. As we come out of the pandemic, every congregation will have to reevaluate its staffing structure. Do you have the right people with the right skills to lead your congregation through the next chapter? Some new hires may be needed, requiring painful terminations to free up precious payroll dollars. Acting with integrity as you fire people can make all the difference in helping your congregation cope with difficult transitions.
How is remote work changing us, and which of the changes will remain once the pandemic is over? What problems are arising as staff work from home, and what advantages are turning up? What does this all tell us about the future of work in congregations? I am working on an Augsburg Fortress book about working remotely, and I want to share some of my early findings with you.
Almost every congregational staff calls itself a team. But are they really teams? In many, perhaps most cases, staffs have hierarchical leadership with staff members working in “silos.” When this is the case, they are not teams. What are some key characteristics that reveal whether or not a staff is a team?
Terminating a staff member is difficult under the best of circumstances. When the congregation gets reactive in response to the termination, leadership becomes especially tricky. Five guiding principles can help you navigate the turbulence than follows a dismissal.
Don’t automatically replace departing staff with another person doing exactly the same work. Use staff turnover as an opportunity to examine how those dollars might be better used in a different staff configuration.