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(D) Human Resources Function

As is true for most secondary functions, Human Resources and associated sub-functions are relatively complex. Below, I include a few of the numerous sub-functions to illustrate the types and range of activities included in the Human Resources, secondary function.

·       Develop and oversee recruitment and retention for volunteers (For special insights into volunteers, see Canfield, 2002) and paid staff, including ongoing processes identifying appropriately qualified people and carefully screening those who are interested in being a part of the SSI internal eco system. Those who are selected are adequately prepared and oriented. The goal for each person is for him (or her) to be a successful staff member who is sufficiently satisfied with his SSI experience to remain with the agency.

·       Develop and oversee personnel procedures and related activities enabling each staff member to understand what is expected of him (or her) and what he can expect of SSI, including, among many other elements, position descriptions, availability and use of benefits, standards of ethical behavior, settling of disputes and disagreements, etc. These procedures also assure SSI, its employment practices, and its work environment are in compliance with all applicable laws and rules related to employment, working conditions, benefits, and so on.

·       Develop and oversee appreciation activities and corrective action processes. These activities are the proverbial two sides of the coin. For agencies committed to excellence, the importance of recognizing examples of excellence is obvious. We cannot achieve excellence unless we know it when we see it. It follows from this reality we let people know when we see it and let them know we appreciate them and their efforts when they achieve excellence. Unfortunately, human services agency Managers often do not identify and call attention to the very things they say they value. Appreciation activities help guard against the tendency to take the exceptional for granted. Corrective action is the other side of the coin. It is SSI’s strategy for identifying and correcting any behavior or actions – including inaction –not consistent with SSI standards and expectations or contrary to SSI policies and procedures. Together, appreciation and corrective actions serve to maintain the functioning of the people within the SSI eco system within the expected limits and continuously improving in the direction of system excellence.

·       Develop and oversee SSI training activities, including orientation of paid and volunteer staff and numerous specialized training areas such as SSI mission and philosophy, agency policies and procedures, working with stakeholders, required training areas such as car seat safety and first aid, job skill development, and optional in-service training opportunities for all staff. As a sub-function within SSI, training blends into the background of the eco system so it is simply an ongoing aspect of the environment and does not call particular attention to itself. At the same time, it is carefully managed to assure all staff receive required training, the offered training serves to increase the effectiveness of agency functions and sub-functions, and training opportunities are distributed and used equitably. When managed well, training activities are among the best and fastest ways to improve internal eco system functioning.

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