Latest HR Dynamics Impacting Your Church With Tiffany Henning

Thanks for joining the unSeminary podcast. We’re talking with Tiffany Henning, founder of HR Ministry Solutions which helps with human resources in churches and faith-based ministries.

At the beginning of 2021, many churches were restructuring their staff. Now in 2022 with so much inflation, there are concerns about how to compensate staff fairly. These things combined with the fact that so many have left ministry over the last few years leave churches realizing they need to retain the staff they have and take care of them well. Listen in as Tiffany shares insights into current HR trends in ministry and changes you can make now.

  • Address harassment issues. // Aside from COVID issues, Tiffany says the second most common phone calls HR Ministry Solutions gets are about harassment issues. There is more unwelcome and offensive conduct these days, and so harassment issues can come up often within churches.
  • Align pay rates with market value. // In 2022 the biggest challenge has been compensation because of inflation and the difficulty finding new quality staff hires. Churches are realizing that they need to hold onto the staff they have and align pay rates with the current market value.
  • You have to be proactive. // By the time you hear from an employee that they’re not happy or they’re looking at other places, you’ve already lost them. Be continually plugged into your staff. Have “stay interviews” and ask your staff how they feel about working for you, what motivates them to come to work, what they are passionate about, and what would motivate them to leave. Download a sample Stay Interview template from HR Ministry Solutions here.
  • The top of the lists. // While your budget will ultimately drive compensation, studies show that pay is actually not number one on the list of what is keeping people at their jobs. They’re looking for time off, flexibility, work life balance, good culture, and to be poured into. These things cost time more than money, and if staff leaves you will spend much more time rehiring for the open positions than you would caring for existing staff on a regular basis.
  • Deciding on outsourcing. // Churches are taking more steps toward a flexible work arrangement by looking at what they can outsource, such as accounting and creative needs. There are many organizations that can do things at the fraction of the cost of a staff person. To decide whether some things can be outsourced, think about your compensation strategy and what things you really want to put your money into without causing a major shift in culture.
  • Regular check-ins with your staff. // Weekly and bi-weekly check-ins with the staff are becoming more common because regular, low key, honest conversations are healthy and needed with your team. They can help keep your staff from burning out and help you understand what issues they may be facing outside of the church. Having that relational capital really helps you understand and minister to your team while also leading people in a much better way.
  • Change starts at the top. // Culture changes come from the top down. If the lead pastor isn’t on board about making changes to better care for the staff, it will all fizzle out. Take a look at yourself and make sure you are involved in those changes to model them for your staff. Realize that one staff person going south can really tank your entire staff, and a big chunk of your church as well. Conversely helping your staff helps your numbers and the whole church.
  • Mental well-being. // The percentage of people in ministry that take anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication is big. It is a stressful job and one benefit people in ministry can really use is paid professional Christian counseling. Offer this as a benefit to everyone—even during work hours—so they can receive the help they need. Another thing to consider is allowing dogs in the workplace. Pets are emotional support animals and can help with your staff’s stress and mental well-being.
  • Free burnout webinar. // HR Ministry Solutions did a free webinar they are sharing with us called Identifying Staff Burnout & Learning How You Heal with a downloadable checklist you can use. Often church staff don’t realize they are struggling with burnout until they read through a list of the symptoms.

You can learn more about HR Ministry Solutions, sign-up for their newsletter, and book a free 15-minute consultation call at

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Episode Transcript

Rich Birch — Well hey, friends welcome to the unSeminary podcast. So glad that you have decided to tune in. You know today we have got a guest for you that it’s a real treat. I’m super excited to have Tiffany Henning with us. She is with an organization or runs an organization called ah HR Ministry Solutions. This…Tiffany’s an expert. I know I sometimes play one on the internet, but she actually is. Whenever I think of human resources issues in the church at the top of the list is Tiffany. She’s incredible. HR Ministry Solutions – they really do provide a lot of solutions for churches to ensure that their cultures are healthy and sustainable. They do consulting, she has all kinds of online resources, handbooks, you know, sexual harassment training, all kinds of good things. Ah Tiffany, welcome to the show. So glad you’re here.

Tiffany Henning — Thank you. I really appreciate it. I appreciate your enthusiasm.

Rich Birch — Oh no, it’s true like…

Tiffany Henning — Most people don’t get that enthusiastic outside of myself and my staff about HR, so thank you.

Rich Birch — No, no, it’s good. I know. Well I well for as a leader, someone who’s had teams for years, I know this is one of those areas—this is probably why I love you so much, love what you do—this is one of those areas we can either be defensive, like we just wait for problems to come up, or we can be, you know, we can be proactive and say like hey let’s go and actually put in systems that’ll help us build incredible cultures. And I know you are much more interested in the proactive, how do we get ahead of the game.

Tiffany Henning — Yeah.

Rich Birch — So fill out the picture – kind of tell us a bit more about HR Ministry Solutions. What did I miss there?

Tiffany Henning — Yeah, absolutely we are actually a faith-based organization ourself. So we only work with churches, church ministries, mission organizations, and the like. Um and we love it. We were really birthed out of our own experiences in the church. Ah, working in the church world, ministry and stuff, and really just have a passion for um, you know helping people in the ministry scale HR things and ah my staff have all either worked in the church HR, have done ah have done ministry in churches, or another ministry. Um, and we’re also married to pastors as well. So yeah.

Rich Birch — Nice. So yeah, real steeped in the church environment which is so good and this is why I reached out to Tiffany, I said okay here we are. We’re coming to closing in on 600 and some odd episodes and I really wanted to kind of tap your brain on kind of what you’re seeing. Out there in the environment. You talk to a lot of different churches. You are constantly connected with them. What would you say are a few of those kind of HR related issues that you just see as common or or you keep running into, you know, with churches in this season?

Tiffany Henning — Ah, you know that’s great there there just always is that overarching ah thing which is like staff handbooks. You know, I tell people outsource your staff handbook. I don’t know if you… even if you have an HR group of like 10, just outsource it. You will stab your eye out otherwise. I’m like…

Rich Birch — Haha, nice.

Tiffany Henning — You know, let us do it. Or someone else that you know. We do ’em specifically for churches and ministries so we know those extra things that you can put in or remove as a faith-based organization. Um, you know and aside from Covid, like the second most common phone calls we get are actually harassment issues. And um…

Rich Birch — Interesting.

Tiffany Henning — …because I think um, you know previously people think harassment is like Harry Weinstein you know, like like very tied with the the sexual piece. You know, do this for me and I’ll do that for you.

Tiffany Henning — But really, it’s it’s more nuanced nowadays. It’s more unwelcome conduct, offensive, you know it’s all in the in the interpretation of the victim and things like that. And in churches where you are hugs waiting to happen and you know our relationships are a lot different and closer and more casual than they are in the corporate world. I think that’s why it comes up a little bit more often. Or people just feel like your church, everyone needs to be wonderful and they forget we’re all human and messy in that.

Rich Birch — Hmm, interesting. Interesting. Yeah there’s there’s a ton. Um, you know, um, particularly on that that would be good to unpack, maybe at ah at a future date. I’ve been actually thinking about getting a bit of a panel together because that that definitely seems like one of those issues that obviously is not going away because as you say people are people. People are humans and there’s a lot there for us to wrestle through. And I know one of the things that I have run into as I’ve talked with leaders—in fact, actually just yesterday was texting with a leader. Um you know senior leader in a church, and they were they were comparing notes. They’re like, hey what’s happening on your compensation side and they were reflecting, hey they’ve seen a 14% increase—this is one church that was seeing a 14% increase in their compensation line this year because of just everything we’re seeing on that front. What what’s happening what are you seeing on that with you know, kind of out there in in the church world these days?

Tiffany Henning — Yeah, absolutely. It’s really interesting that the beginning of 2021, the big thing is everyone was restructuring their staff. They were realizing covid was here to stay, let’s restructure our staff and we have to change the way we do things, change the way we’re doing ministry. Um, you know shift people around, and and all of those things. This year the biggest thing has been compensation. Because as you mentioned, like inflation I think it’s like 6.8%, 7%, 7.9% – it keeps going up. And gas prices. So those things added to the fact that this whole great resignation which is people are just leaving ministry altogether, that finding quality ministry people, staff hires is getting more difficult and so churches are finding, hey I need to retain the staff I have and help them through just this high financial with housing and gas and everything. You know so they’re asking more for hey we need to align our our pay rates with market value more so. Traditionally people were like we’re just going to… it’s a church, it’s a ministry, you know you’re not going to get paid anything. But I’ve really seen the shift of, hey we need to pay our people what they’re worth to retain them because they also know, hey if we hire someone new, we’re gonna have to pay more than we’re than we’re paying now in order to woo someone over to, you know, our organization.

Rich Birch — Yeah, let’s can we dig in on that? Like what what should we be thinking about as we think about kind of the compensation issue? I’ll give you a story for my own past. We there was a key ministry leader—um, obviously not going to reveal any details here, but you know—a key ministry leader who ah, came to us and they were considering a move, and and literally kind of put us over a barrel. We’re like this other organization wants to pay me X and um, that was considerable. It wasn’t just like ooh this is a little bit. This is a pretty big jump. Um, and you know, what, basically, what can you do about it? And um, so you know we kicked it around as a leadership team. I loved… it was one of these times—the moral this story is I was wrong just so you know this is where this was heading. Ah you know, ah we kicked it around as a leadership team. Our finance director was like, we should not do this. Like if we do this ah, you can’t keep people just with money. Um, that, you know, will not work. And I was like no no, no, it’s going to be great. Like we’re going to keep this person; it’s going to work out. And yet that’s not what happened you know, we gave them the raise and within six months they actually still ended up leaving, actually to a different you know, different organization altogether. So I’m concerned when I… ao when I hear this stuff I’m like oh it’s anxious because of past pain. But how should we be thinking about our compensation in the season? What what if you were advising a church, you know what would you be kind of wrestling through that? What were some of the steps we should take when we think about those things?

Tiffany Henning — Those are great questions and actually that’s a really great example for you, because everything I know and everything I read says, you know if someone comes to you with a better offer and they bring it back for you to match, especially in the church world, you can match it all day long but within six months—and that’s what you said within six months—they’re probably going to be gone anyways because it’s not just a financial thing. There are other issues that are wooing them away and you know they think it’ll be the money that makes them happy and it’s not. So you’ve already kind of lost the person at that point. So really that first and foremost things is goes back to what you said just in the intro and when it comes to HR’s you have to be proactive. Because by the time you already hear from an employee that they’re not happy, or looking at other places, or whatever, you’ve already lost them, for the most part, you’ve already lost them.

Rich Birch — Mmm-hmm.

Tiffany Henning — And so or there may already be some bitterness or or issues that they’re dealing with that, you know at that point there’s too much water under the bridge. So you know the first thing I say—and I’m going to give you some steps on the compensation side…

Rich Birch — OK.

Tiffany Henning — …but one of the first things I say is you have to be plugged into your staff. Like don’t assume no news is good news. So well, we really recommend there is something called a stay interview. We love these. These are when you get with your staff and you ask them hey, how do you feel about working for us? What motivates you? What what are you passionate about? What motivates you to come to work? What would motivate you to leave our organization? You know, just really getting those, finding out what would cause them to leave, what would lure them to leave, and what keeps them there. Because those are the conversations you have if they’re like, well you know, really you know what would would lure me to leave is if I had a better role in leadership, or something like that. And you’re like, wow I didn’t even know this person… you know this person is a custodian and I didn’t even know they wanted to be a pastor. (I had that situation before just so you know.) I didn’t know they were interested in the pastoral track. And so really gives you an opportunity to pour into those people before it became a unrest in their heart and mind. Um, you know when it comes to pay, when it comes to market ranges, we also understand—and everyone understands in the church world—your budget is going to ultimately drive it. You can’t pay market range if that takes out your whole budget.

Rich Birch — Yes, totally.

Tiffany Henning — Yeah, like you you know, but there’s a lot of other things that you could do. In fact, all the studies now show that pay is like number 4 or 5 on the list of what people are looking for. They’re looking for time off, they’re looking for flexibility, they’re they’re looking for work/life balance, they’re looking for good culture. And they’re looking to be poured into. So those are the things and most of those things don’t cost you a penny.

Rich Birch — Right.

Tiffany Henning — I mean they cost you a little bit of time, you know. And yes, time is money, but think about how much time you’re going to spend rehiring that position if they leave.

Rich Birch — So true.

Tiffany Henning — And any other relational capital that comes up, you know, with that person leaving especially if it’s not a good thing. So you know totally in that um, really time off is a huge thing that you could do that, at the end of the day for the most part, is not going to cost you an extra penny. Now if you, you know, have a preschool and you got to hire a substitute, yeah, that cost you money. You know if you have a worship leader and you got to hire someone to replace it for Sunday, yes, that costs you money. But for most of your staff , they cover for each other. And so making more time off is a way. Number one people are more rested; it prevents them from getting burned out. Um you know and everything like that. The flexibility is allowing them to work from home, giving them boundaries, don’t text them at three o’clock in the morning, you know…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Tiffany Henning — …realize the world will stop won’t stop spinning if they don’t answer that email or text right away. I mean really, we we as the church world are so bad at that, but we need to understand that God calls us to a lot of things, not to always be attached. He caused… like you look at Jesus and yes, he ministered to the 5000, but even when there were still needs, he pulled away. He invested in his 12, he invested in his 3, and even pulled away for himself to go hang out and pray to God, and just kind of give him some rest. So we really need to model that. Sorry that was a ah huge tangent there. But…

Rich Birch — No, no, no, no, no, it’s so good. Actually I’d love to stick on this kind of flexibility thing. One of my hunches—again, this is where you’re the expert I’m just the person that talks to people—ah I hear more and more, you know, these kind of flexible working arrangements, whether it’s like fractional roles—even at the senior level. Like a fractional executive pastor or um, you know more remote stuff going on, or more part-time roles, or job-sharing, those kind of things, which seemed like they were um, like churches did them, but it was kind of like the total flexibility or the total sum of them was like well we have part-time staff and we have full-time staff. That was kind of it…

Tiffany Henning — Yeah.

Rich Birch — …like we don’t have all of this. Are are we seeing more of that? Are you seeing more of kind of a bunch of different ways that churches are doing that? Is there anything we should be thinking about if we’re going to take a step towards a more flexible staff arrangement?

Tiffany Henning — Um, yeah, there’s a lot of things that churches are doing. One of the things are is they’re outsourcing things a little bit more than traditionally. Accounting is actually one of the big things we’ve seen a lot of outsourcing. And then of course a lot of the creative things you know, huge huge churches that maybe really want to have their hands on certain things, you know, we understand. But when you start to look at all the organizations and companies out there that can do your graphic design, can do certain video, can do things at a fraction of the cost as a staff person. Like really figure out what your first things first are, figure out your compensation strategy, where do we really want to put money into, and then that’ll help you figure out, okay, what can we outsource without causing a major shift in our culture. Um, you know, but when it comes to the whole flexibility, absolutely a lot of churches have, you know, they used to be: everyone needs to be in here from this time to this time. Now they have like one to two workdays where everyone is, you know, or one day that everyone’s expected to be in the office and then flexible arrangements for other people. Granted some of your support staff may still need to be there. I mean a facilities worker can’t really work remotely.

Rich Birch — Yes, yes.

Tiffany Henning — You know, but maybe they could work at three o’clock in the morning. I don’t know.

Rich Birch — Right.

Tiffany Henning — But you know really kind of figuring that out. Um how it works for them. I think definitely another piece is like stay-at-home parents. Like parents who have kids to be able to work through that and work around that. Um that is ah the huge value. And I have to say like our organization, ah, you know as well as I, love staying home here. Like I love people who are coming back into the workforce. I love that because they are some of the hardest workers, and most passionate people that I’ve seen in the workforce.

Rich Birch — Yeah I love it. And when you think about you know that whole, that kind of touches the staff structure issue. You kind of mentioned this earlier but again thinking that last year was it was like the year of the video editor. Like if you were a video editor and were like, you know, I’m sure there’s I would love to know the statistic of how many like 21-year-old video editors in churches got hired in 2021, because I think it would be tens of thousands of them. Like it was It’s like every church has found the guy in the youth group who can do video and now he’s like embedded in the church staff. So there was that were some of those kind of covid reaction hires. But then as you said there’s that’s kind of shaking out. What are some of the trends you’re seeing on that front as you think about kind of you know, rethinking realigning staff structure?

Tiffany Henning — You know that’s really good. There’s a lot of um online pastors – that has become a huge thing as well. But when they’re looking at staff structure, we really see again it goes back to 2021 and now people streamlining a little bit more. Like you used to have like an executive pastor that was over 17 people…

Rich Birch — Sure. Yes.

Tiffany Henning — …and you know there’s no way to really pour into 17 people and really have your eye on the ball. So what we’re seeing more is people really empowering people under them. Um, and being more involved in the day to day of your staff. Now that doesn’t mean micromanaging, but again going back to that 21-year-old who is doing the video video editing, they may have mad skills in video editing but this may be their first job ever.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Tiffany Henning — They may not know you know they may not have leadership skills. They may not know how to interact with people. And honestly they may not make the best mature decisions. I’m not saying all 20-year-old, 21-year-olds are like that, I am just saying we need to understand and not assume that okay they they know this stuff. You know so we’re seeing people ah, being a little bit more intentional and not leaving these people out in the island by themselves. They’re really kind of pouring into them more.

Rich Birch — Love it. So good. Okay, so one of the things that I know is a passion for you is really this whole area of organizational health. That really, we’re trying to focus on how do we make sure that our staff are healthy. And you kind of touched on this when we were thinking about the compensation part. I’d love to kind of dig in a little bit more. What are we seeing as kind of best practices around increasing you know, making this a great place to work, not just a place that’s a paycheck, making this the kind of place that people want to come to. What are some of those things that, you know if a church calls you up and is like, I think we need to you know we need to fix… I’m not sure where to start. Where where would you what kind of things we’d have them thinking about?

Tiffany Henning — In their culture?

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Tiffany Henning — You know what? Honestly the first thing and probably the biggest thing right now is is really the shift from, oh we’re all on the front lines and we’re ministering to God together—not that that’s not true but um—seeing their staff as also people they need to disciple, that they need to pour into, not wait for an annual review to have an issue, to have these discussions. So really weekly, biweekly check-ins are becoming more common. And honestly, they’re more healthy because you can have honest conversations that are more low key and don’t feel as heavy. And these weekly or biweekly meetings start to build relational capital with your staff. You have more of a chance to see them starting to burn out before they even get there. You have a better idea of knowing what’s going on in their personal life, so when they’re late every day you find out, you know you know that their whole staff their whole family has been struck with covid, and is having a really hard time. So again, having that relational capital really helps you understand and and minister but also lead people in a much better way. Yeah.

Rich Birch — Yeah, you know I literally was just talking to Scot Longyear. He is a lead pastor of a church in Indiana called Maryland Community Church was ironic for the name, but and he was literally just we were just talking about this. They a part of their staff responsibilities, a part of their what they do is their personal discipleship time, like their devotions. Like he’s like that is baked into I pay my staff to do that. And he’s like you know he’s like I know that sounds crazy. It’s like shouldn’t they all just do it. He’s like well I want to make sure they do it because I know if hey my team is growing spiritually if they’re developing as people, trickledown impact on the church is going to be amazing. And I was like wow I I don’t know any church—I’ve never heard I said this to him—I don’t know any church; I’ve never heard a church articulate it like that. That say like, hey where we want this to be a part of—it’s obviously it’s and it’s a it’s a given expectation—but the fact of saying hey do we want this to be a part of your you know, did you do that this week? Let’s talk about it. Ah, is fantastic – I love that. When you think about this discipling staff, what is that what are some other are they have you heard of any other kind of innovative practices or things that have stuck out to you around kind of increasing the spiritual development of our team as they serve with us?

Tiffany Henning — Yeah, um, and and actually let me take a little rabbit trail for a moment…

Rich Birch — Yes, yes, love it.

Tiffany Henning — …and this is ah this is a heavy comment but this is what we see a lot. We will deal with ah HR people, Ops people, even sometimes executive pastors, people who want to see the change. But they’re not always the top level leadership, and so sometimes they’re trying to lead-up which is extremely difficult. But when it comes to culture, it really really has to be from the top down. Like I’ve been in organizations and I’ve worked with people in organizations as the HR person they’re trying to lead laterally, but if the executive Team ah you know, lead pastor, whatever, if they are not on board and modeling this and pushing, it making it a core value, it’s going to fizzle. So I really really encourage um, people to you kno,w in those levels to really kind of take a hard look at themselves and feel like am I part of the problem first. And invite you know, trusted advisors into their life to speak into them. I worked with a church once where the person was telling me that that they wanted to start this thing with staff of prayer and worship, and all this stuff and and the lead team was basically like that’s fine as long as we don’t have to be involved in it. And you know and it was like and I understand from a mindset of their schedules are so busy already.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Tiffany Henning — But at the same time again. We need to realize we need to model what Jesus models, and realize that really one staff person going south can really tank your entire staff and a big chunk of your church…

Rich Birch — So true.

Tiffany Henning — …so pouring in your staff really is helping your numbers, is helping the the building, helping the box. Ah you know, all those – the 3B’s the bodies, box, buildings – it really you know directly affects those things that maybe even the churches who want to grow are not thinking about so.

Rich Birch — Love it. Any other areas when you think about you know, kind of reshifting to staff health, thinking about staff health, is there other other things we should be thinking about on that front these days?

Tiffany Henning — Um, you know mental illness is kind of the catchall word. But I the percentage of ministry people, pastors, people in ministry, that take antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication is huge. I think it’s close to 40% to be honest with you. There’s some loose surveys in that, and that should be extremely telling to us. The number one most stressful job year after year in all these us surveys are social workers. And so if pastors are not social workers, I don’t know what they are. You know?

Rich Birch — Sure. Yes, yes.

Tiffany Henning — So really, it is the most stressful job, and you don’t ever check out of it.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Tiffany Henning — You know and when you’re ministering when you have a relationship with God and you’re ministering to people about God It really becomes tied together a lot. So when it when it comes to the health of your workers, again pouring into them, getting getting a handle on where they’re standing, making some of those additional benefits flexible as well. I think a couple benefits that are also really good is paid professional counseling. I cannot say that enough. And maybe require your people to do it. And here’s the thing too for your married spouses. Um have them do it with their spouse as well. I read an article—it might have been by Carey Nieuwhof a couple months ago—and it was about the ah the most overlooked person in the church, and it was the pastor’s spouse. So you know that is that is a huge thing.

Rich Birch — So true.

Tiffany Henning — Because again what happens at home affects their work. So I think offering professional counseling—that doesn’t mean your your board members or elders are counseling them—like a professional Christian counselor. That way they know it’s confidential but they have a place to process through everything that they’re going through and feelings. And then one other (weird) but one other really top benefit um, that has come to the surface, like I mean it’s not weird, but it’s ah dogs in the workplace. Or animals in the workplace.

Rich Birch — Really?!

Tiffany Henning — That has become huge. It’s funny I was I was um ah, looking at a Christian organization. Ah you know their business but they’re Christian that serve churches, and I was looking at their staff handbook, and they have an entire section -an entire section in their handbook! – on dogs in the workplace. And I was like wow, that’s interesting to me that they they really have that core value. But when you think about this whole thing over the last decade about you know dogs and cats and whatever being emotional support animals, there really is truth to that. You know obviously you’re going to have to set some groundwork, you know, ground rules about barking, and keeping them separated, and the types of animals that come in the workplace, as well as their their bowel movements elsewhere.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Tiffany Henning — Am I allowed to say that on podcast?

Rich Birch — Yeah, that’s fine.

Tiffany Henning — Um, ah anyway, but you know what I think there could be just super super high value in that. Especially if your people are feeling stressed and everything like that, there is this correlation between pets and people’s well-being and mental well-being, so that also could be a very good answer. Again, you have to make sure people aren’t allergic and and kind of scale certain work groups and departments. But there definitely is a way I think to integrate that.

Rich Birch — Yeah I love that. I’ve I’ve definitely I’ve, so I’m a dog person. Love I love my dog. She’s fantastic. She’s like a little bit – she’s a rescue, which is fantastic, but a part of the outcome of her being a rescue is she’s quite a nervous dog.

Tiffany Henning — Yes.

Rich Birch — Not aggressive but just nervous. Like she like it’s freaked out at the weirdest stuff, and so I’ve sometimes thought like it’d be fun to take her to the office. I’m like no, that’s like way too nerve-racking for her, that will be like you know crazy.

Tiffany Henning — Yep.

Rich Birch — But yeah, that’s cool though – I could totally see that Well I think particularly again, that’s seems like a post-covid thing.

Tiffany Henning — Yes.

Rich Birch — Everybody got a dog over Covid and then now it’s like, now what do we do with them?

Tiffany Henning — I know.

Rich Birch — You know, kind of thing which is yeah, that’s really cool.

Tiffany Henning — I know and they all got rescues like I have a German shepherd That’s like your little dog…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Tiffany Henning — …and trust me when that dog gets scared over the Instapot and anything like that and she tries to climb on you – not just sit on your lap like climb on top of your head like she’s trying to get tall. So yeah I definitely – she would not be a good go-to-work dog.

Rich Birch — Yeah, that’s fantastic. That’s so good. Um, so I love earlier you talked about the stay interview, which I’m like I don’t know why I’ve never heard of that before. I’m like that’s such a great idea. Um, are there, when you think about um kind of the mental health area, and to kind of getting back to that, are there other are there ways to bring up mental health with our team in a way that respects them that doesn’t like, no one likes to be told they should go to a counselor. No one likes to be told like, hey you should do that. How can we do that? You know, we’ve tried to be the kind of environments that are ah, definitely pro-counseling and like we’ll talk about it as leaders, and talk about positive experiences as individuals, or like I talk about about me and my wife when we’ve been in counseling and just how positive that’s been. Outside of kind of the general culture setting if it, what kind of conversation could we be having, or or how could we approach that conversation to say, hey like you know there may be some issues here that you you should be wrestling through. Any advice for us on that front?

Tiffany Henning — Yeah, again, it goes back to having those weekly/biweekly check-ins.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Tiffany Henning — You build relational capital. You can ask those questions. Hey, on a scale from 1 to 5 how stressed are you? Um, heard this great question—I don’t know where I saw it—this great question many years ago leaders can ask the people under them: how will I know you’re stressed out? What will I see like?

Rich Birch — That’s good.

Tiffany Henning — And I always jokingly say you know you will see a sixty four ounce Dr Pepper from Seven Eleven right next to me as long as as well as some Hostess product. That’s how you will know I’m stressed out.

Rich Birch — Yes, yes.

Tiffany Henning — Or I’ll have angry eyes. You know?

Rich Birch — Yes, that’s great. That’s a good question.

Tiffany Henning — So those are the those are the things as well. I would recommend this—people may not agree with me—and I recommend this. The last two years has been super hard and I would be surprised if the majority of your staff wasn’t burned out or headed that way. Um, the people who’ve been with you for 2 years. It’s been a crazy 2 years for all of it because not only have we scaled it in the workplace in the church, but we scaled it in our personal lives, with kids at home, not at home. We scaled it working from home now and blurring the lines between work and and home. Those boundaries you know we have ou our phones set to ding every time we get an email. So those kind of things um, you know are difficult. In light of that, I would almost say number one, pay people their hourly wage to go do counseling. So have them do it in the middle of the work day or whatever. So pay them because then you can require them to do it. Um, and again, let them know, hey we won’t we don’t know, even if we recommend that you go to this person – there’s confidentiality.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Tiffany Henning — So whatever you talk to them about, we’re not going to know.

Rich Birch — Right.

Tiffany Henning — So if you want to badmouth the pastor, whoever…

Rich Birch — Yes, yes.

Tiffany Henning — …you know work through that on that, because I guarantee if they have issues they’re talking to someone.

Rich Birch — Right.

Tiffany Henning — So it’s probably someone you don’t want them to talk to.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Tiffany Henning — But back to the thing of everyone feeling the burnout, and if you don’t want to specifically pick people, say hey we’re going to roll out this new, you know, benefit and stuff, and we’re going to start requiring all our staff to go on a quarterly basis. Or every four months, or twice a year, or whatever, and we’re going to pay you to do that. So do it as a blanket statement because again the people that you know are stressed, or burned out, or headed down that road, for everyone you see like that there’s probably 10 more who are well on that road.

Rich Birch — Right.

Tiffany Henning — Um and so in fact, we just recently did a burnout webinar, and had a lot of resources including a checklist as well. I don’t know if you’re able to podcast to to have resources for them…

Rich Birch — We’ll link to it. Absolutely.

Tiffany Henning — …but I’ll I’ll give that to you so that you can have it because I think this would be something goodf or their staff to do. Because we we did a 3-part email series and in the history of our organization, that is the one email that got the most responses ever. People going, oh my gosh I didn’t realize I was until I checked off you know, 14 out of the 15 things. And so I think it’s that way with burnout – people don’t realize that they’re that way until they kind of step back, look at a checklist, and go oh wow – yeah, maybe I am.

Rich Birch — Maybe I am that. Yeah well I’d love to get that. We’ll put that in the show notes. We’ll link to that in the show notes. So people could pick up that resource, watch the webinar – that would be fantastic.

Tiffany Henning — Absolutely.

Rich Birch — So so helpful. Like, friends, as you are seeing, Tiffany’s just a wealth of knowledge but then is so helpful, like just I just love how open she is to helping. I want to make sure that we point people to you, but before we get there, anything else you want to share? Any kind of last minute words just as we kind of shut down today’s episode?

Tiffany Henning — So um, you know what, probably the the wrap-up thing I would say—especially because we’ve been talking a lot about staff; we’ve been talking a lot a lot about pay—that I really think of it as like you know, getting a car and taking care of a car, or paying for the oil changes paying, for the tune-ups. Yeah, it costs you along the way. But you are not going to have at 3 years the whole transition break down so, and have to replace that. And that’s what’s happening – we haven’t done oil changes with our staff. We haven’t because we haven’t had the time, and we haven’t had the money, and I totally understand that, but you have to step back and look at the full picture. The amount of time you’re going to spend and the amount of money you’re going to spend is going to be like 5 times than if you invested in that person to begin with.

Rich Birch — I love it. So good. Love it, Tiffany. Listen friends, I want you to drop by – this is what I want you to do: go, scroll to the bottom, put in your your name, email address. Tiffany’s—I was saying this to her before—the the emails that that that they send are super helpful. I look at them all the time. It’s one of those ones I open. I’m like, hey let’s take a look. You’re always on topic. I feel like you’re reading my brain sometimes because you’re you know, hey what’s this question? I’m like I’ve been wondering that! And then their HR Ministry Solutions has got the answer for me. But um, is there any other place we want to send them online? So – anywhere else we want to send them online to kind of track with you guys?

Tiffany Henning — No, I say, you know, just what you said – sign up for our newsletters. Ah, you know we have free 15 minute calls, whether you want to talk about our services, or just ask an HR question. I always say the first call’s free. So you know, take advantage of it. Ah, free is a very good price. So ah.

Rich Birch — Yes, I’m glad you mentioned that because now that you’ve said it I want to point people to this. I think this is crazy. I’m like I think it’s amazing that you’ve opened yourself up, open the organization up to say hey, like we’ll we’ll get we’ll jump on any call 15 minutes answer a question or just get to know you better. Again, you could just get that you see that it’s a link on the top right hand corner. I know there’s a lot of executive pastors that would say free is a good price point. So um, why don’t you drop by there and and book one of those calls. You’ll get a chance to see the goodness that is HR Ministry Solutions. Appreciate you being here, Tiffany. Thanks for for being here and hope to have you on and ah, future episode again.

Tiffany Henning — Yeah, absolutely. Thanks, Rich.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.