Results detailed that Jewish summer camp is the largest feeder to the sector’s workforce

Leading Edge, an organization founded in 2014 to build a robust talent pipeline for Jewish nonprofits, released today a report detailing the results of its second annual survey of employees in the sector. A total of 4,470 employees across 68 Jewish organizations participated this year, including 31 organizations who took the survey for the second year in a row. Leading Edge has now surveyed 92 unique organizations and roughly 10% of the total workforce of the Jewish nonprofit sector in the United States.

“This in-depth examination by Leading Edge helps us understand more about the sector including who we are, what motivates us to excellence, and how we can best live our values in the workplace,” said Executive Director Gali Cooks. “As organizations focus on becoming great places to work, the Jewish nonprofit sector will be able to better attract, retain, and develop talent – our most precious resource.”

The Leading Edge survey focuses on employee engagement: the level of connection, pride, motivation, and commitment a person feels for their work. Employees respond to questions about their workplace culture, the critical factors that drive their levels of engagement in their job, and what motivates the likelihood that they will stay or leave their place of employment – and the Jewish nonprofit sector as a whole. The 2017 report notes that Jewish nonprofits are excelling in several areas: connecting employees to mission and imbuing in them a sense of organizational pride; establishing environments of respect; and collaborating within departments.

The report notes five areas where major improvements are possible for the field:

  1. managing performance
  2. ensuring adequate people resources
  3. promoting advancement and retention
  4. collaborating organization-wide
  5. establishing cultures of transparency

All of the organizations that accept the invitation to participate in the Leading Edge survey agree to embark on a thoughtful, ongoing process of addressing the growing edges that emerge from the survey. Leading Edge offers organizations an onboarding and orientation process to the survey, as well as one-on-one consultations with an organizational development expert who walks them through the survey results and their implications, and discusses ways to take action.

“The scope of this survey offers our sector a critical piece of research, and each organization that participates also receives an important diagnostic tool for creating a meaningful internal shift,” said Board Chair Jeff Solomon. “While benchmarks are valuable, Leading Edge believes it is most beneficial for organizations to be able to compare their data year over year. We intend to survey the field on an annual basis, understanding that improving workplace culture is about ongoing effort that takes time, practice, and commitment.”

This year, results detailed that Jewish summer camp is the largest feeder to the sector’s workforce, with 44% of respondents indicating that they were campers and 32% having worked at camp. This year’s results also contain a large sample of Millennials.

“By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials,” said Deputy Director Mordy Walfish. “If we want to build an environment where employees will grow and rise to positions of power, we have to care about the experiences of young people in the workplace today. The survey helps us understand these employees better and provides us a window into the future.”

The complete report is available for downloaded here.