July 11, 2007
Author: Carol Rivchun, President, Y.O.U.
Now that some time has gone by since we worked with SVP, I can really appreciate that the most important impact the organization had on us had to do with improving our human resources management. At the time of our engagement, we said we wanted to meet the needs of employers, use more volunteers, and by doing that we would build capacity. We thought we were in for brainstorming meetings with lots of new ideas. However, the SVP volunteers began by taking me and a few of our staff through a two hour in-depth evaluation of our staff abilities and how the organization operates. They identified the fact that our job descriptions didn’t effectively hold our staff accountable to what we said we wanted to accomplish right now (let alone what we might do with more ideas!) Not everything we wanted staff to do was in the job descriptions, and supervisors’ job descriptions didn’t have leadership abilities identified that would help them be better supervisors.
That meeting opened my eyes and made me realize we had a ton of work in redeveloping job descriptions for the entire organization – before we even got started with the new ideas. Ugh! But SVP volunteers walked me through a process, so we had only 2 templates for the entire organization- all job descriptions were in alignment with our strategic plan as well. In addition, one SVP volunteer offered the help of his HR Director. Next thing I know, I’m sitting in the offices of a Fortune 500 company, having the HR Director give me all of their templates, how they do evaluations – everything. What a treasure trove! They had probably spent thousands developing a state-of-the-art evaluation process, and we got to ride on their coat tales. We adapted all their processes to our needs. So, to get ready for change, we changed the way we evaluated our staff. It took about 3 years (evaluation cycles) for us to get effective at evaluating and providing the proper feedback/discipline for those who don’t meet goals, but it has made us an achievement-oriented, continuously improving organization, and we are much stronger today because of it.
Next, the SVP volunteers also helped us with the other things we intended to do, but the HR work ended up being the most transforming. It turned out that we didn’t seem to be able to integrate some of the projects we intended to. Why? Based on the evaluations and job descriptions, I observed that we weren’t organized effectively to implement these changes. We then developed an entire new organization chart, and this became the structural change we needed to become more effective in meeting the needs of employers. No matter what new programs or projects we want to come up with, we understand the importance of the leadership and accountability that will be integral to the project.