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Grooming Continuity in a Non-Profit Setting Author: Try L. Muller Date: September 7, 2009 Introduction There is no formal systematic approach to training and development in the Piedmont Housing Alliance (PHA). The government funding provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocates a portion of the money towards training and development for new and current employees. The head of each department (Leadership Team Members) evaluates the performance of its subordinates through semi-annual reviews and is encouraged to identify opportunities for the employee to participate in training seminars and professional development courses. Employees are also encouraged by the Executive Director and Leadership Team members to identify and propose training and development opportunities that can be justified as beneficial to the organization. Overall, PHA is very dedicated to the training and development of its employees. The various positions are not conducive to on-the-job training or job sampling due to the initial need for a considerable level of explicit knowledge about the role. Hence, the emphasis on training and professional development is necessary due to the various changes in the economic environment which often require that the employee acquire updated or new information. PHA believes that training and development is an ongoing process that sharpens the individual’s professional acumen in his or her specific role.

It Starts With Leadership The Center for Non-Profit Excellence (CNE) is the main resource for finding training and development opportunities for upper management and organization directors. They also offer management training and development (MTD) programs as well as a multitude of clinics throughout the year that cover multiple areas. PHA relies heavily on CNE’s ability to either offer or find great development opportunities. Through CNE, PHA’s Executive Director is at free will to attend any professional development clinics as long as he justifies its benefit to the organization and the Board of Directors approves. These


clinics are usually geared towards fundraising and public relations as well as information and tips on putting together grant applications. For example, the Executive Director recently attended a two day seminar at Harvard University on ―buzz‖ words to use on grant applications. The Leadership Team must fulfill certain professional development requirements each year as part of the HUD funding. Each member of leadership must complete a leadership clinic or seminar as well as a job-specific clinic or seminar. The Leadership Team participated in the following programs for the FY 08-09: 

Finance Dir.– Leadership seminar/ advanced excel workshop

Dir. Of Ops. – Leadership seminar/ community relations seminar

Housing Counseling Dir. – Leadership seminar/ foreclosure prevention

Project Manager – Leadership seminar/ construction management clinic

Dir. Special Projects – Leadership Seminar/ grant writing tips clinic

Sharpening the acumen of the Leadership Team is clearly of high importance to PHA. It is also important to note that the Leadership Team is not limited to these opportunities. Should they find another chance to enhance their professional development it is strongly encouraged. A Fair Trade-Off Job sampling and or shadowing is not an option within PHA for new employees. The organization does not have the resources to perform such training due to the specialization that the various roles require. Therefore management emphasizes prior experience or a considerable amount of knowledge in the desired role when assessing candidates for employment. Whatever knowledge the individual may lack is quickly addressed and there are ample opportunities to build on that knowledge. In general, non-profits do not boast great salary ranges— even in upper management. In addition, the current economic climate inhibited the 3% raise in salaries. So, PHA balances these shortcomings with encouraging employees to participate in any training or professional development activities— aside from any required certifications— that they feel are beneficial to themselves and the organization. Here is a list of some of the activities that non-management employees participated in for FY 08-09:


5 day Fair Housing seminar in Coral Gables, Fl

Excel Workshop Luncheon

Leadership Conference For Women

Women In the Workplace Conference

Fair Housing Activities Luncheon

Construction Materials workshop

Website Development luncheon

Housing Counseling Seminar

Testing for fair housing complaints clinic

Tips for HUD applicants clinic

Understanding workplace dynamics

Landlord/ Tenant relations clinic

The Keys to Property Management seminar

Employees are encouraged to find opportunities to enhance their KSA’s because PHA believes the individual is the strongest component in the functionality of the workplace. Not only does this show that PHA is invested in them, but it also gives the employee a sense of self-worth when they complete these various seminars and clinics. Liberal and Disconnected Even though training and development is encouraged in the organization, there is no real system that ensures the effectiveness of these programs. Under the objectives segment of a needs assessment, PHA leadership does not have a system of measuring desired employee behavior. This is probably due to the fact that members of leadership do not set clear objectives, and therefore, the successful completion of a training and development program goes unmeasured and is sometimes insignificant. Subsequently, the transfer of skills is not accurately evaluated. Aside from semi-annual employee evaluations, the skills attained at these trainings is not addressed in detail. Hence, there is no way of telling whether the transfer of skills has truly taken place. This has a very subtle but long-lasting effect on employee attitudes towards training and development opportunities. If the organization is not gauging how KSA’s from the trainings are being reinvested into the individual’s responsibilities, then these


opportunities for professional development become insignificant. So, there needs to be a connection between the KSA’s acquired from training and leadership’s assessment of the behavioral outcome of the training as it relates to the employee’s role within the organization. Time Devoted With No Reward Since PHA is non-profit it may be unfair to speak about integrating training and performance management with compensation. But, employee satisfaction does always reside in monetary rewards. Once a sound evaluation and performance management system is implemented, a rewards system should be addressed. Certain employees at PHA have participated in a significant amount of professional development seminars and trainings. This growth— once measureable— should come with incentives such as title, responsibility, travel, expense account, etc… This will add a different dynamic to the work system and will also help quell feelings of complacency and mediocrity in the workplace.

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Grooming Continuity in a Non-Profit Setting There is no formal systematic approach to training and development in the Piedmont offer managem...

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