Governance can be defined as: The combination of policies, systems, structures and strategic frameworkwhich a governing body puts into place to ensure that the leadership of an organization makes appropriate decisions.
Or, in less fancy, layman’s terms: Overseeing the control and direction of an organization. Governance models refer to how the authority chain and framework interconnect. These models ensure decision-making remains effective and that correct accountability is assigned to board members and/or managers of an organization.
With more competition than ever in the workplace, both nonprofit and for-profit organizations consistently find themselves faced with challenges as they seek to maintain success and stay on course. Deciding on a particular governance model can be a challenge in itself, as each organization is unique. There is no right or wrong governance model; at some point, every organization must decide which one fits them best. Many organizations adopt a combination of various board governance models that often evolves with time. When organizations face a new life cycle or phase, when operations become unstructured, when roles become ambiguous and board members dissatisfied with their roles, or when a CEO, a college president, a church’s senior pastor, or several board members leave, it may be time to reevaluate one’s governance model.
Adopting a new board governance model might seem daunting. But it needn’t be. Changing models is a bit like changing one’s lifestyle. Let’s say that someone has spent the past few years eating cheeseburgers and Fritos and watching Seinfeld reruns from the comfort of their couch every night. One day, they wake up and realize they’d like to change their life, get healthy, swap the burgers for green smoothies and the reruns for time at the gym, working on their fitness. They might feel eager, but understandably a bit overwhelmed. Where to begin? Which way to go first? This is a bit like that. Changing governance models entails abandoning well-established ideas and replacing them with new ideas and roles. This change takes time, energy, resources and resolve. It may feel confusing at first. But over time, clarity and greater ease does come. With the right model in place, any organization can succeed.
Let’s take a look at the five most common board governance models for nonprofit organizations.
Advisory Board Governance Model
Many nonprofit organizations choose to use the Advisory Board Governance Model. An advisory board is the platform that an organization’s president or CEO consults for assistance or advice. The president or CEO may carefully choose a team of trusted individuals as part of this board. Each board member possesses a set of professional skills and unique talents that will be useful to the nonprofit, and in most cases, they provide these valued skills at no charge. A quality advisory board can boost the reputation and credibility of a nonprofit. This is an excellent model for nonprofits concerned with achieving high fundraising and public relations goals. The advisory board may serve as the main governing board of a nonprofit, or the organization could utilize additional models that offer special expertise, such as a young professional advisory board. This model is often appealing to board members, because these younger members bring valuable contributions to the table, and meetings tend to be informal and task-oriented. While this model can initially be effective, challenges arise when board members face liability issues because accountability mechanisms become ambiguous. This model is not limited to nonprofit organizations. The Advisory Board Governance Model can be the first step in governance for small but growing for-profit organizations. It is an effective way to introduce new ideas from leading experts in variety of career fields.
Patron Governance Model
The Patron Governance Model looks very similar to the Advisory Board Model. However, it includes a few distinguishing factors. With the Patron Governance Model, boards comprise individuals who either possess a great deal of personal wealth or wield significant influence in the nonprofit’s field. The primary duty of this board is fundraising. Board members may contribute their own funds to the organization, or they might reach out to members of their network to contribute as well. Generally, under the Patron Governance Model, board members in this model have less influence over the president or CEO than with the Advisory Board Model, other than running the risk of losing funding. This model can be very helpful, but the board cannot be relied upon for governance tasks, like vision development and organizational planning.
Cooperative Governance Model
Many nonprofit organizations do not have an official president or CEO. In this case, the Cooperative Governance Model works well. Under this model, the board makes decisions for the nonprofit as a group of equals. This is a highly democratic model, as no board member has a higher standing or more power than another. This model is often used when the law requires a nonprofit to have a board of directors; it works best when each board member is able to show an equal amount of commitment to the organization. Challenges may arise, however, when personal morale declines. Under this model, there is no effective way to ensure accountability for individual actions.
Management Team Governance Model
The Management Team Model is one of the most commonly used governance models. With this model, the nonprofit acts similarly to a for-profit corporation. Instead of hiring people or teams to handle human resources, financing, fundraising and public relations, the board forms itself into committees to do these things itself. This model, which rose in popularity in the 1970s and has continued to gain momentum, is often used by volunteer organizations such as home school associations, Girl and Boy Scouts and other hobby groups. Challenges under this model arise when board members refuse to delegate authority and become micro-managers instead, resulting in inconsistent decision making and resentment and discontent among staff.
Policy Board Governance Model
The fifth common board governance model is the Policy Board Model, also referred to as the John Carver Policy Governance model. This model was developed by John Carver, author of Boards That Make aDifference. Carver, an esteemed psychologist who has co-authored five books and worked as a business officer in small manufacturing, understands both the business and psychology ends of organizations. He trademarked the Policy Governance model and has consulted with businesses in nearly 20 countries. Under his model, the board delegates much of their trust and confidence in operating the group to the CEO or president, and the CEO holds regular meetings with the board to update them on the nonprofit’s activities. With the John Carver model, there are very few, if any, standing committees on the board. Typically, the board is secondary to the CEO in overall power. The CEO is responsible for the staff, and the board typically does not interact with staff. However, the board and CEO work together as a team, meshing their skills and ideas. Members are often recruited because they have demonstrated commitment to the values and mission of the organization. Many nonprofits use this model, often combining it with other models to create a more specialized advisory team.
As with nonprofit organizations, for-profit (corporate) organizations use five common board governance models. The Traditional (Structural) Model is the oldest of the models, its use dating back to as early as the 1700s, when corporate structuring began. Many government organizations still use this model, as do many law firms. This model is built upon the concept that the board is the legal ownership entity and speaks as a board, while members of the board speak on behalf of the board but do not have an individual voice outside of the organization. The Board Chair is usually structured to be the official “voice” of the board, but only speaks in a way authorized by the board as a whole. Under this model, the board usually delegates responsibilities to the CEO or the board committee.
While the Traditional Model can be effective, it is no longer as widely used and presents some unique challenges. When the board delegates its powers, accountability and expectations sometimes become muddled. Another challenge arises when the CEO creates management operating committees that overlap with board committees which hold similar responsibilities. This can lead to confusion among staff about their roles, as board members cross boundaries between governance and operational management. Organizations still using this model have recently reduced the size of the board and sought board members capable of governing as a whole, versus merely representing constituents.
The Carver Board Governance Model, common among nonprofit organizations, is also popular among corporate organizations. In the words of John Carver, who, again, popularized the model over the past 20 years, this model is a “rigorous academic approach to a practice area that has had very little research over the years.” The Carver Model addresses two fundamental concerns: the board defining the organization’s goals, and creating policies by which the board and management team must abide. The board’s prominent role is to create policy to guide management and also guide the board in its governance work. John Carver suggests that, under this model, a competent board chair member should have the freedom to take action in the area of governance.
Challenges in this governance model arise when the board focuses its time on building policy rather than actually attending to other pressing responsibilities. While creating policy (such as how many meetings to implement a year) is helpful to create structure, and can potentially protect the board and organization, this model doesn’t always help to establish clear expectations or ways to measure success. This model works best when an organization looks beyond policy and creates a comprehensive strategic business plan and budget.
Every great organization creates and implements a strategic plan that aligns with their Board of Directors’ vision for the future. Learn more about IHN HR’s Strategic Planning Processes here:
Under the Cortex Board Governance Model, developed by John Por of Toronto, the board focuses on clients, community, legislation and best practices of similar organizations, so they can define the standards they wish to adhere to in their own organization. The board’s main role under this model is to clarify and set outcomes, so they can measure success. The board may set up an accountability framework, identifying which roles the board, CEO, staff or other members should assume. This model helps ensure transparency and accountability, as it helps organizations establish clear outcomes and measurements of success. Challenges with this model arise, however, when board members don’t fully understand the business and must rely on the management team to do much of the research. This model can also be tricky when organizations do not implement mechanisms or report structures to measure performance against new outcomes. However, these things can be developed over time. Focusing on what is important, versus what is convenient, is key for organizations that use this model.
The Consensus Model, alternatively known as the Process Model, stems from the idea that all board members are equal, with an equal vote, responsibility accountability and liability for decision making. This model recognizes, however, that board members offer different areas of expertise, knowledge and wisdom. Under this model, board members must decide how issues will be discussed, how differences of opinion will be handled, and how members will reach a consensus on timeliness and agenda management. Many small, family-owned businesses or corporations with no shareholders use this governance model. Challenges arise when roles remain undefined, necessitating that issues must be sorted out among the CEO and board members. When disagreements arise under this model, board members often turn to Robert’s Rules of Order or the Parliamentary Rules of Order for guidance.
Competency Board Governance Model
The Competency Board Governance Model, sometimes referred to as the Skills/Practices Model, is also used in organizations. This model focuses on development, and ensures that all board members possess appropriate knowledge and skills. Relationships remain a key factor under this model, with special focus on communications and trust. Board members are often assessed to ensure their behavior matches the expectations of the organization, and that they work well together, as a team. While this model is very appealing for many organizations because of its relationship-driven quality, it can run into challenges when clear policy is not implemented. Having an experienced board member mentor newer board members can be an effective strategy.
If this information is new to you, or feels overwhelming, please don’t let it be! Choosing the best board governance model for your nonprofit or for-profit organization doesn’t have to be like pulling teeth. Your organization is unique and one of a kind. Therefore, your model will be as well.
Here are some questions to consider when reevaluating your governance model or establishing one for the first time:
Do we have a clear understanding of the purpose of our organization?
What are our organization’s basic values?
How do we measure our organization’s success?
What are our financial resources, and will these resources be reliable for the next several years?
Do we believe our organization should be run as a cooperative, or a collective? In other words, should staff participate with board members in the governing?
How much time is each board member wiling to devote to the organization?
What is our expectation for board member meeting attendance and commitment?
How will we hold board members accountable?
How useful is each committee we have? Could we eliminate any?
How will we handle disagreement?
How much trust does the board place in the CEO or president?
How satisfied are our current members with board performance?
As board members, to whom do we wish to be accountable?
In the words of John Carver, “A carefully crafted, conceptually rigorous purpose of governance … forms the heart of board effectiveness.”
What is the heartbeat of your organization? What really makes you tick? Remember, it need not be a one size fits all. Your organization is unique, complete with a distinct purpose, vision, skillset and team. Take some time today to ponder which one of these board governance models might work best for you.
Concerned about the Board Governance Model at your organization? The benefits of having a trusted partner to guide you and your team to excellence is invaluable. Contact us today. You—and your employees—will be glad you did.
Rise with us by implementing our high-performance human-resource programs. E-mail us here.
Mark A. Griffin is president and founder of In HIS Name HR LLC. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter
Post-COVID-19 recruitment has been unquestionably hard for employers, with many struggling to find quality employees in the aftermath. Religious-exempt employers have had an especially difficult time.
Organizations such as Biblical higher education institutions, Christian ministries, camps, and churches have found that mainstream secular platforms no longer assist them in target hiring. For example, Christian employers frequently used Facebook to connect with potential candidates, but in recent years many social media programs stopped allowing recruitment ads that target Christian applicants. Keywords such as “Bible,” “Jesus,” and even “pastor” are flagged as well.
Handshake, the most prominent job portal for college students gives universities the opportunity to block religious employers. Here, at In HIS Name HR, we have experienced this firsthand.
These setbacks have left Christian employers discouraged, wondering how they might maintain their voice and find quality candidates in this even more challenging environment. We have an answer.
Yes, a new day is dawning, and help is on the way.
The day is coming when employers can cast their net to the right side of the boat and watch as it quickly fills up.
Welcome to Job Shepherd, a platform that will change all this for you.
Job Shepherd was created to meet the demand by Christian employers, including ministries, camps, churches, colleges, and Christian for-profit companies in their search for qualified job candidates.
Job seekers can once again identify opportunities in sales and marketing, office administration, pastoral work, counseling, worship leadership, and higher education positions, like provosts and executive leadership.
Job Shepherd offers job seekers free guidance to find the right position within the right organization, one aligned with their values. With a few simple clicks, job seekers can explore a vast array of opportunities in any of these fields, and find themselves one step closer to the career of their dreams.
Job Shepherd, however, doesn’t stop there. In this portal, job seekers will find an abundance of additional online career help, including articles that share career advice and provide free tips on resume writing, career development, and interview skills.
These invaluable resources are always free for job seekers.
Employers seeking quality employees have just as much to gain. Job Shepherd offers a plethora of job postings to enable employers to find their ideal hires, as well as free articles on how to identify and secure great employees. Additional employer resources are available as well.
Running an organization is too big a task to be managed alone by entrepreneurs. To attain an entrepreneurial vision, a leader must search for and hire the best employees. Today, the rapidly developing economy has made the process of hiring talented people more significant than ever.
The role of the human resource department is substantive in organizational success, to the point where it can indeed be called the backbone of any organization. To earn a competitive advantage, firms need to train their HR teams. And when you have the right people on your team, that expense can be significantly reduced.
The pandemic has forced organizations to rethink and often readjust human resource strategies and practices, because the number of organizations that are surviving the pandemic is lower than the ones that are failing. The optimal selection of one’s people is one of the main reasons why certain organizations are surviving and even succeeding, despite the challenges they’re facing.
The real question is: Do you want to waste precious time and investment on making bad hiring choices? Definitely not!
There are two ways to find the best people for your organization when such uncertainty is widespread: 1) by marketing a job opening in the best possible way; and 2) by accurately identifying the right staff for your organization.
How to Market Your Job Opening
Marketing is not just about how to sell your products and/or services. No, marketing is one of the most reliable ways to select the right people to staff your organization. Let’s look at how to market your job opening(s) to source the very best people for your organization.
Have Your Employees Get the Word Out
The majority of vacancies are being filled through networking. Word of mouth is one of the easiest, most cost-effective, and efficient ways through which you can market a job opening. Your employees are the best ambassadors of your healthy organizational culture. Encourage your employees to discuss vacancies on their social networks and among their friends and family.
Paid Social Media Services
Alongside using your own social media vehicles, you should also invest in paid social media channels, such as LinkedIn and others, as the power of social media advertising today is hard to ignore. Even better, develop a comprehensive social media plan that comprises paid social media channel strategies.
Job posting sites are a great way to effectively market your job openings, with numerous authentic, efficient job-posting websites, like Indeed.com. The more job posting sites you market on, the greater the chances of getting the right and best people for your company.
Direct Traffic to Your Website
Do a swift audit of your website to ensure your career page is easily accessible. For example, if it takes more than five seconds to open, and is not attractive enough to interest the brightest minds in your field, it’s time to redo it.
If you’ve done all of this, well done—you have marketed the positions right. But now comes the bigger task…
Selecting the Best Candidates
Follow these useful tips on how to best search for the right people for your organization:
Identify the ideal candidate for your organizational growth plan
All too often, organizations fail to consider how the position they want to fill fits into their organization with an eye to its further expansion. Before creating a job description for a vacant post, it’s critical to clearly understand the need and role of the vacancy in the future growth of your organization. If you do this right, you will create the optimal job description, one tailored to help you access the right people.
Conduct a thorough assessment of a candidate’s references
Do you thoroughly evaluate every candidate’s references before you hire them?
If not, why not? References are a terrific opportunity to glimpse the working behavior and patterns of your preferred candidate with their coworkers and employers, along with what they can offer to your company in terms of performance. This is too important to dismiss or cut corners. Always comprehensively assess the references a candidate provides before finalizing their hire.
Pair your interview with data
The importance of face-to-face interviews cannot be denied, but it is not the only thing you should rely on when searching for new employees. Add data to your interviews, such as technical competency tests and questionnaires that evaluate skills. Be careful of unlawful testing, it could cost you millions. (Learn Why Here)
Gauge the interaction between your potential candidate and your team
Again, an interview is not sufficient to select the right candidate; you also should arrange for your prospective candidate to meet and casually interact with your team in a way that allows the candidate to relax and be themselves. Have one or more team members take the candidate for a tour, or for a cup of coffee or breakfast, where they can relax and be themselves. Just remember, though, that every interaction with a candidate, whether formal or informal, is legally viewed as a part of the interview process. That means your team must know what they can and cannot legally ask. The idea is to determine whether or not a candidate is a good fit with your organizational culture. Not only that; it also works in the reverse, by giving your candidate an idea of what they can expect in terms of their future coworkers and the prevailing culture.
Work with your potential candidate
Have you considered working with your candidate before confirming their hire? Add some hands-on work to the interview procedure. This is an excellent opportunity to see them in action. By encouraging them to devise ideas for a fresh project or carry out a small part of the job you’re hiring for, you will get a clearer idea of how the candidate works.
Ask them what tasks they feel they cannot perform well
No one is a master of everything. Asking them where they feel their skills are weaker or need further developing will help the candidate understand your professional expectations of them and give you an opportunity to discuss what improvements and training you may want to arrange for them.
Need Help Hiring the Right People?
No organization can justify wasting monetary or non-monetary resources by investing a huge amount in training their human resource department, especially when uncertainty prevails in this current challenged economy.
Organizations operate more efficiently and cost-effectively when they are smart enough to tap human resource outsourcing and consulting services.
Don’t know how to find great people? No problem!
In HIS Name HR has been offering HR consulting services with a Christian worldview for the last 10 years.
And given the critical, often unprecedented challenges raised by the coronavirus pandemic, In HIS Name HR has developed high-performance remote human-resource programs by implementing different technologies designed to promote safety, including FaceTime and Zoom. Our company also provides guidance related to HR practices to attain success and prosperity within your organization.
Concerned about the HR programs at your organization? The benefits of having a trusted partner to guide you and your team to excellence are invaluable. Contact us today. You—and your employees—will be glad you did.
Rise with us by implementing our high-performance remote human-resource programs to help find great people! E-mail us tE-mail us here.
Mark A. Griffin is president and founder of In HIS Name HR LLC. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter
Whether you are a Christian For-Profit, Ministry, Church, Camp or Higher Education Institution, recruitment can be difficult. Even before Covid-19, employers had difficulties finding qualified candidates. Many organizations did not know where to look for candidates or could not find employees skilled to match available positions. Many organizations face the same situation, the problem is less a dearth of potential suitors than knowing where or how to search for an ideal match. I believe the best way to find qualified candidates is to focus first on establishing long-term relationships. Only then will your network proactively refer candidates to you because they know of and trust your organization. We believe having a great strategy in place will pay dividends in the recruitment of exempt and non-exempt staff, regardless of your organizations, product, or service.
Consider your favorite brands and businesses. Maybe they include a clothing company, a coffee shop, or perhaps a particular hotel or car. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve developed a relationship with these brands. Think back to when you first discovered that brand or business. For example, you chose a random coffee shop one day. What drew you in the door? Was it the aroma of the roasting beans? The cozy ambience, the savory scones? Or the friendly employees? What made you choose to return, again and again? What made you rave about this place to your friends, family, colleagues? Subconsciously, we develop relationships with the things we care about, just like we do with the people we care about. Relationships are the key to the success of any organization.
Now more than ever organizations must break out of mediocrity. Organizations have an obligation to their people to strive for excellence, to be world class, and to be high performing. Far too many organizations, ministries, churches, and nonprofits fall victim to a defeatist attitude, thinking no one wants to work anymore, we can never find candidates, Covid-19 has ruined our chances of growing, often giving up before they’ve hardly begun.
IN HIS NAME HR believes an organization should strive to become—and maintain—excellent; and will remain intact no matter the storm. People can become discouraged, even disillusioned, by the slow deterioration of service or quality they witness within organizations. Leaders must become focused to allow organizations to grow versus failing. We should do everything with excellence, or not do it at all.
If you, as an employer, have drifted from your organizations vision, try recalling what initially ignited your excitement and passion for that organization. How did you feel when you gained your first big client or made your first big sale? Elated, no doubt! Inspired! How did you feel when you got the keys to your first office and saw your nameplate on the door?
If you’ve lost your pizazz at your current organization, can you recall when things went awry, or your enthusiasm began to fade? How can you gain that excitement again? Simply put, if you as a leader, are not excited about your organization, chances are employees won’t be either. To attract excellent employees who will experience that same initial enthusiasm, you might have to do a bit of housecleaning first. Let’s look at what that might entail:
First, create an awesome workplace. Create the kind of work environment where you would want your loved ones to work. The best way to attract people is to first make the people who currently work for you and agree your organization is a best place to work! Create a process and check in regularly with your employees to make sure they are satisfied with their working environment. When employees feel encouraged, noticed, and heard, they’re much more likely to be productive and perform well. Take time to listen to them. Find out what motivates them and makes them tick. Go out of your way to make each employee feel recognized. Learn their favorite coffee flavor, their pet’s name, or their favorite hobbies. If they’re due a raise or a proper bonus, give them one. Make sure that if an employee were to run into a future employee on the street who asks about their work environment, they’d have nothing but stellar things to say about you and your company.
Next, develop a clear employer brand. Organizations should be marketed to candidates. Given that the competition for quality candidates is fierce, you want your organization to look its best and stand out. Create a recruitment benefits fact sheet that affirms to your potential employees why they would want to work for you. List the benefits, but also include employee testimony. See an example of a recruitment benefits fact sheet here. Create only job posts that reflect the culture of your organization—that’s critical. Build excitement. (Creativity and humor go a long way.) Do you have a cool coffee bar in the break room, annual employee barbecues, team building events, or an onsite gym? Perhaps you’ve got a great city view, offer flexible working hours, or host an annual super fun holiday party. Asking employees why they love working for you also reminds themof the reasons and renews their enthusiasm. You can see why taking the time to take this step is a real win–win.
Lastly, create your network. Most organizations, because of turnover among or an absence of HR professionals, do not have a formalized network through which they can broadcast vacancies. And that’s a problem. Organizations should consistently mine for talent, and the surrounding community should be aware of the organization and have a general idea of what they do and what their hiring patterns and processes are. At any given time, you should ideally have a pool of candidates to choose from. No one wants to find themselves scrambling at the last minute, searching frantically for employees the way folks did during the 2021 COVID-19 employment crisis Having a reserve of candidates to call on, and a robust network, ensures you hire only the top, sought-after candidates.
In high-performing organizations, the community knows who you are and what it is you do. If they don’t know, you have a community relations problem. To succeed, organizations must spend time marketing themselves as a great place to work. Doing so is also an effective form of marketing to potential customers. People want to buy products and services from organizations that treat their employees well. The problem is that many organizations do not create such a network list. Ask yourself: “Does every one of my friends and family know what I do?” If those closest to you are not aware of your company or could not easily tell someone else what you do or what you represent, your networking may need serious work. Network today, and it will pay dividends in years to come.
Due to developing relationships takes years, it’s imperative to start as quickly as possible. To begin, have your person that is responsible for HR set up appointments and start meeting and networking with organizations in your area, such as these listed below, to improve awareness of the opportunities you offer.
Colleges – Many have student work and career centers. Consider creating internships, which are the perfect opportunity to showcase your company and assess potential employees with little risk to you.
High Schools – Get to know the guidance counselors, as many can be very helpful. If certain schools offer career days, consider setting up a booth and speaking with students. Make sure you bring adequate marketing material to pass out.
Vocational and Trade Schools – Forging relationships with these will provide you the technical employees you need.
Refugee and Immigrant Placement Organizations – This is a wonderful opportunity to help people start a new life. Just because someone is a refugee or immigrant doesn’t mean they don’t possess desirable skills and expertise.
Other Local Nonprofits and Organizations – Seek out ones that match your organizational values. Check LinkedIn and other social media platforms and/or make a list of friends you know who are involved in or have started a nonprofit organization.
Agencies on Aging – Many organizations help our seniors find meaningful work.
Churches – This is a logical place to connect with people. Start with five churches in your area and grow this network over time. Some churches host career or networking events; consider setting up a booth there. Many churches also offer mothers groups, like MOPS (Mothers of Pre-schoolers). As stay-at-home moms transition back to the workplace, they will be looking for an ideal environment. Consider speaking at one of these groups free of charge to put your name out there.
Radio Stations – Many (Like WJTL) have job posting programs to help the community.
Local Veterans Groups – A great way to connect with men and women who have served our country. Many will have extensive training and education. Nationally, the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation has an extensive list of resources that organizations could support and develop relationships with.
As you tap into all your networking communities, create a checklist with the contact information of each organization’s contact person and be consistent in sharing vacancies/opportunities when they come available. You can easily create an e-mail blast to let people know when vacancies are posted. Also, in the checklist, include all the regular places you post the ads or send the vacancy info.
At the end of the day, you want your workplace to be excellent and a great place to work for all employees. By ensuring you are creating an ideal work environment, and make your branding known to your community, you’ve already taken the first important steps. Networking may take some initial effort, but in the end, it will be more than worth it. Relationships are priceless. Start creating them today!
If the pandemic, has you stressed out, let our 10 years of serving clients nationwide benefit you. We are the leaders in human resource consulting and outsourcing services from a Christian perspective. Let our experts assist you in in developing a plan for you to help in these hard times and save yourself unnecessary pain and stress!
In His Name HR helps organizations build high-performance human resource programs. E-mail us here.
Mark A. Griffin is president and founder of In His Name HR LLC. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter
Post-Covid-19, workplaces are now settling into a new reality.
For nearly 80 years, Wycliffe has helped people around the world translate the Bible into their own languages. Wycliffe believes that the Bible is God’s Word to us, and something that everyone should be granted the opportunity to understand in a language and format that speaks clearly to their hearts. Nearly 2,000 languages around the world are still awaiting a translation project to start. Once people receive Scripture in their own language, lives often change in amazing ways. People are transformed as they discover Jesus Christ and enter into a right relationship with God. That’s why Wycliffe Bible Translators exists: to help speakers of these remaining languages experience the Bible for themselves.
Finding organizations with professionals who are doing an excellent job in this area can be difficult. But with God, divine appointments happen to me often. I had the opportunity to meet with Jennifer Holloran, Chief Operating Officer for Wycliffe Bible Translators. During our discussion it became very apparent that Jennifer’s leadership, as it relates to employee development and engagement, would benefit us all if it were shared.
Mark: Jennifer, thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me. I think what strikes me upon reading the culture of Wycliffe is how intentionally you are working to integrate your MVVs into your HR practices. As you know, we have built our firm, In HIS Name HR, on this practice. That’s because an organization with a well-crafted MVV always seems to keep its employees focused. Can you tell me how you have ensured your employees remained energized and focused in the face of this chaos we call Covid-19?
Jennifer: Thanks for asking, Mark. In many ways, Wycliffe was particularly blessed in the timing of the start of Covid-19 regarding this issue. We had completed an update to our mission, vision, and core values in March 2020, a process that involved gathering feedback from our global staff and working with our Board to craft wording that would serve us for this next season of ministry. So, as we entered the Covid-19 pandemic, we had already developed these guiding statements before finding ourselves in lockdown.
However, even that good timing would not have been enough to keep people engaged over 2020 and into 2021, especially given the many dividing issues that have come up on top of the pandemic. While we consider all of our guiding statements important, we have given particular attention to our core value of Loving God and Loving Others in response to this difficult time. We put out regular content to our staff through a spiritual formation series we call Deeply Rooted, we talk about this value frequently in our staff meetings, and we bring our staff back to the core of who we are and what we do, regularly.
While we would not say that we have done this perfectly, and the hybrid work environment makes alignment more challenging, we strive to help our staff stay unified and focused on what matters most.
Mark: We know that some of the ways in which we now do our work in our organizations, given the pandemic, have persisted and become normalized. What types of changes do you see to what we might call the “new normal?”
Jennifer: I think we have all realized that the hybrid work model is here to stay. Similarly, for organizations like ours that work in a global space, many questions remain about the future of work travel for face-to-face relationship building and problem solving. We have all found ourselves stretched by finding ways to build and maintain relationships, and to grow and strengthen our community and culture with our staff, in this season. We all have to become better at clearly defining our organizational culture in this kind of environment, because we can no longer rely on some of the methods we have used in the past.
I also believe that we will continue to wrestle with the challenge of staff engagement and staff retention. I recently had the opportunity to attend an HR conference where much of the discussion was about “The Great Resignation,” as the impact of the pandemic is causing people to think about how they want to spend their lives. This reality creates both a challenge and an opportunity for us. It means we need to become even more intentional about building trust and instilling purpose in our staff.
For nonprofits and Christian organizations, we have the opportunity to attract and retain staff in this environment because we offer meaningful work that makes an impact on the world. We can do this much more effectively when we have clarity about our mission, vision, and values. When we know who we are, and what we do as an organization, and we can articulate that clearly, it helps people to opt in and stay committed.
There’s one other aspect I want to mention here: The last 18 months has taken a real toll on people. Burnout, stress, anxiety, and depression are realities for many people, including ours, as they adapted to a changing work environment and shouldered concern for their families, friends, and churches. We have an opportunity to shine here by showing care for our staff above and beyond what they do for our organization. Let’s remember that our staff are more than just their work. If we can get into that habit now, it will serve us well today, and into the future, beyond the pandemic.
Mark: Were you able to establish new work patterns that promote engagement to help employees effectively deal with and overcome feeling isolated?
Jennifer: For many years, Wycliffe has had a combination of staff who have worked remotely from headquarters and staff who have worked completely in-office. So, we had some patterns established before the start of the pandemic to help people stay connected. Instead, what the pandemic has taught us is that we had a lot of work to do in the area of staff experience. We have always had staff who participated in events virtually, served on virtual or hybrid teams, and primarily stayed connected with organizational information through digital means. However, it was humbling and beneficial for those of us accustomed to an in-person experience to discover what it felt like to participate in the organization remotely.
Today, we talk more about how to make sure that any organizational event or activity has the virtual experience in mind. We see the work of connectedness as a two-way street. As leaders, we have a responsibility to make accessible pathways for virtual connection and make those pathways as inviting and inclusive as possible. At the same time, we need our staff’s commitment to show up, read the information that’s sent out, and participate, so we now talk about that with our staff more.
Mark: How are you building team cohesiveness when many employees work remotely?
Jennifer: One way we work on team cohesiveness is to emphasize the importance of teams with our managers. We see teams as one of our most important avenues for culture building. For us, that includes asking our managers to host weekly times of team prayer and devotions and encouraging our managers to attend and debrief organizational events together with their teams.
Team cohesiveness involves helping teams work effectively together and binding the team together, from top to bottom. We see that as a combination of top-down and bottom-up: cascading communication down through our layers of leadership and encouraging feedback up the supervisory chain to invite thoughts, ideas, and concerns from multiple levels of the organization. Now, I realize that accomplishing this always sounds easier than making it an ongoing reality. Still, we believe it is a goal worth striving toward to help us operate together effectively as a team.
Mark: Did you find it necessary to revamp most of your employment policies due to Covid-19? How were policies and procedures added or changed to reflect current practices?
Jennifer: The policies and procedures we have found most impacted by Covid-19 include those that have to do with workplace safety and flexible work arrangements. Immediately upon the initial lockdown, we instituted many safety practices to help our essential workers come into the office safely. In addition, we have continued to adjust our policies and procedures around workplace and public safety as needed, based on CDC guidelines, local Covid-19 community transmission numbers, and the advice of medical professionals keeping an eye on the latest research findings.
On the flexible work arrangement side, we have found that Covid-19 has served as a catalyst for good conversations about what matters most to us regarding in-person vs. remote participation. For now, we have settled on a 60/40 policy for staff at the headquarters (60% of their FTE in-office and 40% remote). Alongside that policy comes new expectations for managers as they learn to measure productivity and hold people accountable while creating a sense of community in a hybrid setting with their direct reports. We still have much to learn as we see how these policies and practices work in real life.
Mark: How have you been able to develop programs to support leadership in its ability to manage a distributed workforce?
Jennifer: Like many organizations, this area is heavily a work in progress for us as we continue to learn more about effectively managing remotely. We have tried to provide support through technology like Zoom, Slack, Google Workspace, and other connectivity options. Additionally, we have encouraged healthy rhythms in the life of managers with their teams—regular one-on-one check-ins, team meetings, etc.
Our leaders oversee very different kinds of teams—some have entirely in-person teams because of the type of work they do, some have hybrid teams, and others work with globally situated teams that have to manage significant time-zone and connectivity differences along with the everyday challenges of remote teaming. Rather than establish one kind of program to fit those different scenarios, we have worked toward guidelines within which managers have a lot of flexibility to address their unique situations. We want managers to be part of the creative problem solving needed to create workable solutions for the future.
At the same time, we also see the need for a stronger focus on leadership development. We cannot expect leaders to thrive in increasing complexity if we have not helped them build a solid foundation in leading themselves and leading others, and, for senior leaders, leading the organization. So, we give attention to developing a leadership development program that will ensure our leaders have a solid platform of leadership principles on which to stand.
Mark: I meet with many executive leaders who, in private, admit they are really worn down, losing steam. All of the divisiveness and emotions that have permeated the world in the past 18 months are a lot for many of us to take. What one piece of advice would you share that has helped you motivate key leaders as we try to navigate toward what may become our “new normal?”
Jennifer: Mark, I wish more executive leaders would admit this openly! It shows that executive leaders are human too. But, seriously, my advice is: Don’t feel alone. I believe most executive leaders are feeling the fatigue of the past 18 months. We have been called to lead during a very challenging season.
Two pieces of advice have been beneficial as I have worked with leaders during this time. First, give yourself grace. Take the steps you need to take to lead from a healthy place, not just for you but also as an example to your organization. That could mean examining your energy level and your priorities and applying what you learn to your calendar.
Second, view the changes that have happened around us as an opportunity for creativity and innovation for the future, rather than as a temporary stopping place before going back to “the time before.” We cannot go back to the world as it was before. Instead, we have an opportunity to rethink some of our past norms and practices that have not have served us well—maybe upon reflection, those practices weren’t healthy or well-aligned with our mission and values. Instead, we can institute new ways of working that truly reflect who we want to be and how we want to reach our mission and vision.
Mark: We at IHN HR believe that the most successful organizations have their MVV integrated into their HR practices, ensure it is used in recruitment, build it into their annual goal and review process, and also make it a focus within career development. Can you tell us how you are accomplishing this?
Jennifer: I agree with you, Mark. I would take this statement broader, in that our mission, vision, and values must drive our strategic priorities and our supporting operations, with HR serving as a critical player in helping our people encounter our guiding statements repeatedly. Now, I can tell you—we don’t do this perfectly today, but we are currently in the process of reviewing all of our HR policies and practices to make sure we have designed them to support where Wycliffe needs to go in the future.
When I say “all HR policies and practices,” I would encourage HR practitioners and leaders to think beyond the obvious ones, like recruiting, onboarding, and performance management. We need to look for alignment in the less obvious aspects, too. For example, when we have to help our staff resolve conflict, do our methods reflect and reinforce our values? If we have to conduct a layoff, can we do it in a way that communicates our values in the process and potentially leads the former staff person to stay committed to our mission and vision, even if they no longer have the employment connection?
Mark: Thank you, Jennifer, for taking the time to meet with me today. We will pray for continued blessings over Wycliffe Bible Translators’ employees, their families, and all who meet the Lord through their efforts. May the Lord continue to bless you, so you prosper in all you do.
Mark A. Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In HIS Name HR LLC. He has over 25 years of HR experience. In His Name HR helps organizations build high-performance human resource programs. Follow him on Facebook, Twitterand LinkedIn.
In His Name HR helps organizations build high-performance human resource programs. E-mail us here.
Knowledgeable, experienced, skillful employees are crucial for any organization to stay ahead in a rapidly growing competitive economy. With several recruits lined up, hoping to be hired, choosing a promising candidate is a big task for any human resources department.
After a time-consuming recruiting process, even if HR does find the right candidate, the next big problem arises: How to retain those new hires with the organization?
The simple answer is by formulating a strategic, systematic, and well-tailored employee onboarding program. You may not know this, but a great onboarding program ensures that about 70% of employees stay with an organization for the next three years.
If, being an HR manager, you would welcome updating your next onboarding strategy, let’s look at some quick tips and unique ideas on this.
Purpose of an Employee Onboarding Program
The Society of Human Resources Development (SHRM) defines employee onboarding as:
“[T]he process of helping new hires adjust to social and performance aspects of their new jobs quickly and smoothly.”
A practical and organized onboarding program helps new employees to feel they’re a part of the organization and helps them to understand your organization’s culture in an encouraging environment. Moreover, effective onboarding experience helps recruits gain knowledge, develop skills and feel connected to your organization. This makes them more enthusiastic and enables them to perform their jobs to full capacity.
So, the positives of onboarding include:
Helping new recruits acclimate to the organization
Facilitating relationship-building between employees
Goal setting, recurrent manager check-ins, and employee development programs, which educate them as to what’s expected from them and where they can improve, to bring the changes
An organization only faces disadvantages if the onboarding plan is ineffective or executed poorly.
Elements Contributing to Successful Onboarding
Incorporating crucial elements of success like these can make your onboarding strategy a defining tool to preserve quality employees.
Interview recently onboarded recruits and ask what they think is missing from the current process. The best advice comes from people who have experienced the process.
Determine the goals you want to set for new employees and devise a plan to communicate those objectives to recruits.
Avoid overburdening new employees with tasks; instead, the HR department should work as a team with the recruits.
Assist new employees with the settling process. Help them feel welcomed; have their workstations prepared; organize weekly meetings to fill any communication gaps.
Consider implementing a mentorship program where new hires can access proper training and have a go-to companion, helping them feel comfortable while asking questions.
As an employer, connect with new employees to guide their careers and support them in making career advancements.
Strategies to Improve Onboarding Practices
When deciding to join an organization, potential new employees give strong consideration to the employer–employee relationship, the working atmosphere, and the organization’s concept of teamwork. With a productive onboarding plan in progress, human resources departments can gain a favorable return on their time and investment in the form of qualified and dedicated employees.
Employers lose an estimated 17% of new hires within the first 90 days due to ineffective onboarding. It’s time to upgrade and modify your onboarding program with these proven strategies.
1. Reach out to new hires before their first day
Neglecting new employees after the appointment letter is issued creates a negative impression of your organization. Instead, for a successful onboarding process, take a visionary approach. Don’t wait for them to join your organization. Communicate with them in advance of their first day, through a phone call or a welcoming email.
If you set up an online onboarding portal for them, where they can access organizational information and perhaps complete their paperwork, delivers a positive, encouraging image of your organization.
2. Be welcoming
New employees are understandably a bit nervous, and want to feel at ease on their first day, so a nice welcome may do just that. You can involve all the new hire’s respective colleagues in the greeting process and perhaps provide them supplies embossed with your organization’s logo, along with a welcoming card, to create a positive first impression of your organization.
At Twitter, new employees are welcomed enthusiastically. New employees receive their email IDs upon arrival and are greeted with a t-shirt and a bottle of wine at their desk. New employees enjoy breakfast with the CEO, and their desks are placed right beside those of their teammates.
3. Create an onboarding timeline
Instead of overloading your new employees with tons of work, HR can create a proper timeline, scheduling work for their entire week. This keeps them engaged and busy and both gives them a sense of direction and signals what is expected from them, allowing them to merge with your organization far more smoothly. Successful organizations document processes and monitor their effectiveness. Make sure your program has a mechanism that tracks its effectiveness.
4. Provide help in socializing
While the current pandemic situation has suspended many in-person activities for applicants, new hires, and employees, hopefully this will soon pass. Enhancing your employee onboarding process by transforming it into a social experience generates a positive image of your organization.
New employees can find it difficult to mingle, so by introducing them to the workers and team around them, you help them feel at ease and reduce their anxiety. Plan a lunch, perhaps, with all the team members the recruit will be working with, or arrange a team-building event where the new employee can get to know their colleagues better.
5. Set clear goals
Another strategy to improve your onboarding process is to map out realistic goals for your new employees.
According to Global HR Research (GHRR):
“The number one thing your new hire will be interested in when they onboard will be learning about their role and what will make them successful.”
By outlining short- and long-term career goals for employees, you give them a clear overview of what is expected from them and what milestones they must achieve. This is also an effective way for HR managers to discern the strength and weaknesses of new employees.
6. Solicit employee feedback
By keeping all means of communication open in your onboarding process, you encourage new employees to furnish valuable suggestions and point out potential areas for improvement. A good way to achieve positive reviews from new hires is to send them a confidential survey asking them to provide an anonymous review of the organization’s onboarding process.
Selecting the Right Tools for Your Onboarding Process
To make your onboarding strategy more impressive, you can use employee onboarding software to ease things for you and your recruiting team.
Here is a quick review of some onboarding tools that can contribute to your effective onboarding process.
Origanimi: Create organization charts and internal structure of your organization to help new employees learn its hierarchy.
KissFlow: An easy-to-customize onboarding tool to help HR create impressive presentations and visual representations. The real-time dashboard enables your HR team to keep a close eye on the onboarding process.
Bamboo HR: Best for small organizations, this is a cloud-based HR tool, a complete software package for managing your onboarding operations, including ATS, onboarding apps, time-off management, advanced reporting functionality, and much more. Easy to use, consistent software to smooth your onboarding activities.
So, now you know all about onboarding new employees with excellence. Make use of our employee onboarding tips and see your organization prosper through improved productivity.
In His Name HR helps organizations build high-performance human resource programs. E-mail us here.
Mark A. Griffin is President and Founder of In His Name HR LLC. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.