The differences between employees and volunteers are obvious, but sometimes the similarities aren’t as clear. But similarities do exist. For starters, both employees and volunteers will likely seek alternatives when they find themselves routinely giving far more than they are getting from their relationship with an organization. And in both cases, turnover is problematic.
We invest significant effort in identifying, recruiting, and training volunteers to serve as effective commissioners. Turnover hurts. A part of the solution may be as close as the values of our Scout Law: Consistently practicing all 12 of them in our volunteer relationships can have a positive impact.
Think of just one, loyalty, and how administrative commissioners can use it effectively to retain team members. Writing recently for Inc. magazine, Brent Gleeson, a former Navy SEAL, spoke of the positive impact leaders can have on their teams by consistently demonstrating loyalty in just four ways:
“Never throw anyone under the bus. As a leader, redirect praise to your team members and protect them from criticism. If you need to talk to a team member about a misstep, do it behind closed doors.
“Never leave anyone behind. Instill in your team the belief that every person on the team is as important as the next. Include everyone in the celebration of success. And don’t blame any one person for a failure. Publicly thank people … for their contributions to the team.
“Try to be as candid as possible with your [team members], and never lie to them. Loyalty is built on trust. If your people don’t believe you’re being forthcoming with them, they won’t trust you with their backs.
“Give [team members] your unconditional support. Don’t turn your back on them if they mess up. Help them figure it out, and be as loyal during the bad times as during the good.”
There are 11 more points to the Scout Law that can be equally effective in helping us increase retention of those commissioners we work so hard to identify, recruit, and train. Put them all to work.