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Latest Review of the Managers Program

“The 12-month Highly Effective Human Service Managers program jump started our leaders’ mindfulness of the critical elements needed to reshape our management landscape. The camaraderie and vulnerability experienced during the module discussions helped spark creativity and humility in our desire to be better leaders. The successful completion of the 12-month program has evolved into a recurring training program for future leaders, where past program graduates can mentor our future leaders. This program is a testament to how a program can challenge and shape the minds of those responsible for shaping a healthy culture of a thriving company.” Pathways of California (MM)


Quick Update: Membership

A membership option will be available in the near future. This feature will be geared toward management (supervisors, managers, directors, etc.) and will include videos on relevant topics. Additionally, I encourage individuals to email me directly at with topics they would like to see covered. It will be an annual membership fee (very affordable). Let me know your thoughts!

2021 National Engagement Survey for Frontline Workers Only

Several people emailed me last week curious to know what the survey results looked like when only focusing on frontline workers. The results were pretty similar across most questions. Some questions, like  question 7 (I feel supported by the organization) saw a 9% reduction in strongly agree/agree. This is meaningful since several recent research articles have pointed to the role of organizational support and employee retention (which is the focus of my just released book, Highly Effective Human Service Organizations. Question 9, (The organization inspires the best in me) also saw a significant decrease compared to the entire sample at a 7% decrease in strongly agree/agree.

Overall, it appears the organizational type questions incurred the biggest decreases for frontline workers.

2021 National Engagement Survey Results for Human Service Professionals

Analysis and insights from the survey:

  1. The sample size was lower than expected (4,401). This could be due to a variety of reasons like firewall issues at organizations, individuals choosing to not respond, etc.
  2. A key driver behind the results came from responses to question 3, how long individuals have been at the organization. 42.6% responded they have been at their respective agencies for 10 or more years. This impacted responses to virtually all other questions and skewed responses in a much more positive light (i.e. I plan to be at the agency in 2 years, supervisor relationship, feeling inspired by the organization, coworker support, supervisor relationship, commitment to the organization, etc.).
  3. Responses to question 15, satisfaction with how organization helps them process stress and trauma, were interesting due to only 31% responded as very satisfied or satisfied. This is an area of opportunity for most organizations, especially for new employees.
  4. Responses to question 17, what can the organization do to improve your commitment and engagement, were varied and consisted of 2,799 responses. General themes did not align with the positivity of most of the raw data from questions 4-16. Responses included frustrations with pay, supervision, lack of professional development, lack of organizational leadership, etc.

New Release!

40 chapters are devoted to helping agencies create rich and robust organizational cultures that support consistently highly levels of employee commitment, engagement, performance, and retention. See more information under “Books”.


Fear vs Growth Zones During COVID-19: Where are You? Your Colleagues?

2nd Edition of The Essential Handbook for Highly Effective Human Service Managers now available!

Updated with with new insights, examples, and supported with research. The ultimate resource to support your leadership development and maximize employee engagement, performance, and retention. See “Books” for ordering information.

25th agency now using the 12-month Highly Effective Human Service Managers Program!

Tim facilitated the kickoff meeting for the program for Hamilton County Job & Family Services on 10/7/19.

August 2019 newsletter for highly effective human service leaders.

Highly Effective Human Service Leaders August 2019

May 2019 newsletter for highly effective human service leaders.

Highly Effective Human Service Professionals May 2019

2019 Conference Presenter: Florida DCF Child Protection Summit

Tim Nolan will be presenting “Highly Effective Child Welfare Organizations”.

The Essential Handbook for Highly Effective Human Service Professionals: Written for Frontline Workers

This book is written specifically for frontline workers in child welfare, child protection, developmental disabilities, juvenile justice, and behavioral health.  Based on my work with over 9,000 human service professionals across 20 states. Bulk discounts available for orders of 100 or more.

See the Books page for more information.

2018 NACBH Conference Keynote and Facilitation

I was very honored to have the opportunity to provide the keynote address and facilitate several sessions related to improving employee retention. NACBH stands for the National Association for Children’s Behavioral Health. 60 executives attended the conference, with Pat Johnston, NACBH Executive Director, remarking, “Thank you for all you did to make NACBH’s conference a success, from quickly shaping up our loose bits into a cohesive whole, to delivering an energetic and responsive program in San Antonio. You’re easy to work with, know your stuff, deliver what you sell, and flex quickly along the way. It really was an absolute pleasure, Tim.”

18 Agencies Are Now Using the Highly Effective Human Service Managers Program

18 human service organizations with 15 to 150 management staff are using this innovative, 12-month program. Participants receive The Essential Handbook for Highly Effective Human Service Managers and a workbook. The program consists of 12 monthly module meetings where management staff come together, discuss specific chapters, and engage in various group activities. The organization also receives a facilitator guide for each module and ongoing technical support from Tim Nolan. The total monthly time commitment is approximately 1.5 hours.

This is the ideal professional development experience that will enhance leadership/management functioning of all participants, collaboration, and employee performance/retention.

How to Get Employees to Give More Feedback

Interesting article regarding how to get employees to speak more about issues occurring within the team. Most employees do not speak much, even when prompted by managers. This could be due to concerns about retaliation, being seen in a negative light, etc. Additionally, many employees simply have been socialized to not speak much, even when nearly everyone sees the same thing.


Is Your Agency’s Culture Toxic?

The below article outlines 8 issues that can lead to an organization being considered toxic to work for. Numbers 7 and 8, high employee turnover and lack of management accountability are symptoms of organizational dysfunction. Take a look at the article to see more. How do you contribute to the culture of your organization?


Experiencing High Employee Turnover? See This.

This article identifies 10 potential reasons for employee turnover issues in an organization. One of them looks at investing in a leadership development program. The Highly Effective Human Service Managers Program addresses several of the points discussed in the below article.


New 3-Day Training Being Offered for Supervisory Staff

Tim will be offering a three day, comprehensive training for supervisory staff in the human services focused on identifying the top reasons behind employee turnover in the field, solutions, and a variety of proven ways management staff can stand out as highly effective leaders. Feel free to reach out to learn more or stay turned for updates.

Sense of Accomplishment Needed for Employees
Recent research has identified the importance of sense of accomplishment in the retention of human service professionals. Of course, other factors influence retention, but let’s focus on how managers can focus on this area to improve the commitment of staff to stay with the organization and consistently perform at high levels.

Have you ever felt like you did not accomplish much in a particular day or week? Have you ever felt like your position may not have much impact? Your employees probably feel the same way and it is vital for you to take a few moments from time to time to point out the positive impact they have-for clients, the department, and the organization.

For example, it could be the individual that walks around the office and says “good morning” to everyone. This often has a large impact on people, especially if that person stops doing it. This is where we can pull that individual aside to let them know about the positive impact they have. Managers need to be aware and mindful of the little things their staff does so they can point these things out. Consider how one speaks to a client on the phone, the pride they take in the quality of their work, etc.

A quick observation can give your employees a significant boost.

Protecting High Performance Employees from Burnout

This is a common challenge for managers, we tend to lean on employees who always deliver. However, we may not be mindful of their stress levels and if we go to them too often we may be contributing to their burnout. See the below article for more information.


Vicarious Trauma and the Organization’s Role

Dombo and Blome (2016) studied vicarious trauma in child welfare workers and the organizational responses. They point out that, while most child welfare organizations and administrators are overwhelmed, there needs to be a cohesive organizational approach. Prior research found that up to 35% of the child welfare in an organization reported symptoms of vicarious trauma.

Prior studies have also identified the following self-care strategies: finding a better work-life balance, being physically active, engaging in creative activities, focusing on religion or spirituality, and adopting mindfulness meditation strategies.

A thought to consider: This study outlines the importance of adopting strategies throughout the organization that address self-care. Self-care is often spoken about, but it is typically left up to the individual to engage in self-care rather than the organization taking the lead. Referring employees to EAP is not adequate. What do you do to consistently help your staff? What does your organization provide?

Dombo, E.A. & Blome, W.W. (2016). Vicarious trauma in child welfare workers: A study of organizational responses. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 10 (5), 505-523.

10 Components of an Effective Leader

Google spent several years researching the components of an effective leader and came up with 10. You are going to want to see this, its a great summary of vital skills that all leaders need to excel. Which of these traits do you feel you do well? Which one(s) could use more attention?


Boost Your Emotional Intelligence with These Questions

A large part of effectively leading others involves being self-reflective. Emotional intelligence is part of the continuum and involves being self-aware. Self-awareness can be challenging because it means we need to look inward and ask difficult questions. See the below article for a few to consider.