School in a box/HOW TO EVALUATE YOUR ORGANISATION
The objective of this chapter is to provide your organization with the tools and necessary understanding so you can undertake to do a self-evaluation.
A self-evaluation is the process of internal review and analysis, which allows an organization to understand its strengths, weaknesses and the opportunities / threats present in each area of the institution.
Conducting a self-evaluation helps the organization understand where it presently stands in terms of its institutional development, maps out the direction it needs to go and goals it needs to achieve in the future. It enables the organization to create a necessary self-improvement plan that will allow it to develop and achieve these goals.
An organization that can evaluate itself will be able too:
• Recognize its strengths and weaknesses
• Identify the opportunities and threats it faces
• Improve its efficiency
• Review the effectiveness of its strategic plan
• Present a professional image to donors and other supporters
• Identify potential strategic alliances
• Promote a proactive attitude among its members
• Establish a roadmap for self-improvement that will strengthen the organization, ensuring it achieves its targeted goals
This chapter outlines certain standards of excellence or “best practices” in seven key areas. These have to do with an organization’s:
2. Institutional Governance
3. Educational Environment & Methodology
4. Organizational Structure and Management
5. Administration and Finances
6. Human resources
|This chapter will help you assess where your organization stands in relation to these standards of excellence. It will help you design a personal roadmap taking your organization on a journey towards self-improvement!.|
- 1 COMMITMENT
- 2 INSTITUTIONAL GOVERNANCE
- 3 EDUCATIONALENVIRONMENT & METHODOLOGY
- 4 ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND MANAGEMENT
- 5 ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE
- 6 HUMAN RESOURCES
- 6.1 a. MANUAL OF JOB DESCRIPTION
- 6.2 b. STRATEGIC PLANNING IN THE HUMAN RESOURCE AREA AND THE HIRING PROCESS
- 6.3 c. INDUCTION OF NEW EMPLOYEES
- 6.4 d. PERFORMANCE EVALUATIONS
- 6.5 e. EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT AND INTERNAL PROMOTIONS
- 6.6 f. ADMINISTRATION OF PERSONNEL
- 6.7 g. CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, SAFETY AND HYGIENE POLICIES
- 6.8 h. LEGAL MATTERS
- 6.9 i. DISMISSALS
- 6.10 j. COLLABORATOR FILES
- 6.11 k. VOLUNTEERS
- 7 IMPACT
- 8 A PRACTICAL GUIDE ON HOW TO WRITE A STAFF HANDBOOK
- 8.1 a. DEFINE THE TITLE OF THE POSITION
- 8.2 b. USE SIMPLE TERMINOLOGY TO EXPLAIN THE GOALS OF EACH POSITION
- 8.3 c. DESCRIBE THE RELATIONSHIPS OF SUPERVISION
- 8.4 D. DESCRIBE THE POSITIONS FOR WHICH THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR SUPERVISING
- 8.5 e. DESCRIBE INTERNAL RELATIONS
- 8.6 f. DESCRIPTION OF EXTERNAL RELATIONS
- 8.7 g. DEFINE AND DESCRIBE THE COLLABORATOR’S GENERAL RESPONSIBILITIES
- 8.8 h. DEFINE AND DESCRIBE THE EMPLOYEE’S SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES
- 8.9 i. INCLUDE THE PROFILE AND BACKGROUND REQUIREMENTS FOR THE POSITION
The objective of this chapter is to assess the current level of commitment your organization has towards the principles of self-sufficiency and to begin thinking about how this commitment can be strengthened.
A school that aspires to financial self-sufficiency needs to be prepared to develop programs and activities that allow it to generate income. So the first issue to consider in this self-evaluation is the extent to which your organization is truly committed to achieving self-sufficiency.
Since the school’s goal is to become less dependent on private funding, it must seek to generate more of its own funds over time. The school must be continually searching for new business opportunities, which it can turn into income-generating activities. These need to be done while also finding ways to add more value to the products it is already producing.
For most organizations, embarking on the establishment of a financially self-sufficient school requires a change in outlook and practices at all levels of the institution. Teachers, students and administrators have to become attuned to what the market demands and what the competition is doing. Most important, it needs to seek out possibilities for innovation, which in turn requires a readiness to experiment, take calculated risks, seek out new information, think creatively, and continue learning.
In order to make this shift, to achieve this cultural change, the institution as a whole has to be truly committed to the goal of financial sustainability. With this in mind, consider the following questions in regard to your school:
• Does the school depend on donations or does it generate its own income?
• Does the school have diversified sources of income?
• What level of financial self-sufficiency has the school reached already?
• Is the school’s income-generating activities part of a long-term plan that is reviewed and updated annually?
• Does the budget include all of the activities carried out at the school?
• Does the school wish to generate sufficient income to cover its operating costs?
• Are all members of the staff committed to achieving the school’s goals?
The objective of this chapter is to assess the current state of governance in your institution and to look at how your institutional governance can be strengthened.
In order for a non-profit organization or school to be effective, it needs to have a clearly defined purpose, or ‘Mission’, to guide it as it carries out its activities over the short- and medium-term. It also needs a clear sense of what it hopes to achieve over the longer term, or ‘Vision’ for the future. A clear Mission and Vision assist the organization internally to stick to its original purpose and goals.
Likewise, a non-profit organization must be governed and managed in the interests of its beneficiaries – which in the case of a school will be its students. To ensure that this is the case, and to give confidence to all who put their trust in the organization, the organization must be transparent. Its accounts must be clear, appropriately supported by external audits and available to all who are interested.
To achieve these high standards, the organization needs a Board of Directors. This Board will oversee management and ensure that the organization’s policies and programs are being carried out as they were intended to be. The Board should be comprised of capable individuals who are willing and able to invest the necessary time to ensure that the organization is transparent, responsibly managed and seeking to fulfill its Mission and Vision.
a. PURPOSE OF THE ORGANIZATION
The purpose and goals of an organization can be understood from its Mission and Vision statements. These statements are clear, oriented towards the public good, widely disseminated and well known by all of the organization’s employees and associates.
1. HOW TO DRAFT A MISSION STATEMENT
The Mission statement defines the purpose, which drives the organization. It includes:
• The reason the organization exists. What do we do?
• Its scope or beneficiaries. Who are we trying to help?
• Its objective. Why are we doing this?
Having not just a strong Mission Statement but also a clear-shared Vision of the future is important in terms of guiding an organization’s direction. Both must be disseminated to all of the staff and internalized within the organization. The Mission and Vision need to be clearly displayed in public places, such as in the organization’s offices and on its website (where one exists!), as well as in important public documents such as its Annual Report & Accounts.
2. HOW TO DRAFT A VISION STATEMENT
The Vision is the future outlook of an organization seen from its current situation. How do we want people to see us after a determined period of time?
• Does the Vision and Mission statement identify the target population its actions are intending to serve?
• Do they clearly present the organization’s purpose?
• Do they show the organization’s focus on the common good?
• Do staff at all levels of the organization know and understand its Mission and Vision?
3. SOCIAL FOCUS
A socially focused organization, such as a non-profit or school, should be oriented toward the common good. It should be clear that it that it is not motivated by private interest and that it is not seeking to channel resources intended for development towards private gain or to avoid paying taxes.
• Are the organization’s programs designed to promote the common good?
• Are the organization’s programs focused on serving its target population?
• Are the results of its work publicly available?
• Is its activities part of a long-term plan?
• Does the organization disseminate information about its programs and their results?
b. BOARD OF DIRECTORS
In a good organization, the Board of Directors is responsible for setting the policy direction and supervising the organization’s operations. The Board of Directors must review, understand and approve the organization’s Mission, Vision, Values and Strategic Objectives. It must also exercise strict oversight of the organization’s programs and projects to ensure that they are consistent with these documents. It must also ensure that the management is pursuing the Mission and Vision of the organization and acts in accordance with the organization’s values and interests.
The Board of Directors must review, understand and approve the systems for measuring results including the organization’s social impact and the way the organization presents its financial accounts. It needs to review, understand and approve long-term strategic plans, annual operational plans and yearly budgets and monitor the implementation of them.
The Board of Directors can create additional senior management positions within the organization, define the responsibilities associated with them, hire qualified people to fill them and decide to whom these new senior managers will report.
ANALYSIS OF THE SITUATION: BOARD OF DIRECTORS
- Was the Board of Directors elected in accordance with the current statutes?
- Does it have a prevailing mandate?
- Is there any question about the legality of its mandate?
- Does the Board of Directors really oversee the organization?
- Do Board members understand that they are responsible for ensuring that programs are being carried out as planned and are consistent with the objectives, principles and values of the organization?
- Does the Board of Directors act in accordance with the Statutes and ensure that the rest of the organization does as well?
- Have Board members reviewed the Vision, Values and Strategic Objectives?
- Has the Board approved Strategic Plan to reach long-term operational and financial sustainability?
- Does the Board of Directors approve the annual budget and Operational Plan?
- Does the Board of Directors approve the annual report, balance sheet and income statement?
- Does the Board of Directors receive and analyze regular reports on the implementation of the organization’s programs, including both financial and operational results?
- Do they approve financial operations that imply obligations for the organization?
- Do they approve actions that affect the overall net worth of the organization?
- Does the Board of Directors perform a formal evaluation of the CEO, Managing Director, or General Manager’s performance at least once a year?
- Does it submit an annual report at the AGM or Members’ Assembly on the organization’s financial condition?
- Does it convene the AGM or Assembly, if required, according to established procedures?
- Do all members of the Board understand their roles and responsibilities?
- Do the members of the Board of Directors set aside enough time to fulfill their responsibilities to the organization?
c. TRANSPARENCY IN ADMINISTRATION AND ACCOUNTING
A good organization, where justified by its size, should have an Internal Auditing area. This area is responsible for verifying the way that the organization is being managed and administered, identifying weaknesses in administrative and accounting procedures and recommending ways to strengthen them. To ensure its independence the Internal Auditor or Controller should report to the highest authority in the organization.
• Does the organization have a mechanism for conducting Internal Audits?
• Does it report to the highest level of the organization?
• Does it require formal internal reports?
• Does the organization respond to these reports with real internal change?
Organizations should also work with an external auditor (an independent firm), which follows best-practice National Accounting Standards, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles or International Financial Reporting Standards. Its role would be to analyze the financial data generated by the organization, verify that the information accurately represents the organization’s financial position and that the organization’s accounting procedures are adequate.
The reports of the External Auditor are known as “opinions,” which should be “unqualified” meaning that the organization’s financial statements are free of significant errors and a trustworthy basis on which to make decisions.
For Membership Based Organizations, particularly those where members are also beneficiaries, an organization should also have a Members’ Representative. The Members’ Representative is chosen by the AGM or Assembly and is in charge of supervising the activities of the organization and reporting to the Assembly.
The Members’ Representative is responsible for analyzing how the budget is being implemented and for requesting the information he or she needs to exercise the overseeing of the organization’s activities. The organization needs to ensure that the Members’ Representative review the organization’s financial statements periodically and that they receive the information when he or she requests it.
d. INSTITUTIONAL TRANSPARENCY
The next point to analyze is the institution’s transparency vis-à-vis the public. You will need to consider whether the public has access to information on the organization’s activities, results and whether this information is disseminated in a systematic way. In addition, you should consider whether your organization is open and transparent with regard to its operational management, financial condition and whether it is it guided by clearly identified principles, a code of ethics and a policy on conflicts of interest.
- A good organization should have relations with other organizations and work in networks through which experiences can be shared. This will also help your organization gain access to new methodologies and broaden the coverage of its programs. It should keep the public informed of what it is doing and the results it has achieved. Two ways of doing that are to publish its annual report and to set up a web page.
Make sure you also have:
• A Conflict of Interest policy (illustrated example later in the chapter)
• Code of Ethics and a Declaration of Principles and Values
NOTE: SEE CHAPTER 3 FOR A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO WRITING CODE OF ETHICS
- Do public or private entities working in this sector know your organization?
- Does your organization have any agreements, contracts, resolutions or other formal mechanisms, which establish relationships between it and other organizations working in the same field?
- Is it achieving the desired results?
- Are you linked with other organizations / government?
- Are you developing joint projects or programs with them?
- Does the organization depend, financially or otherwise, upon the government?
- Does the organization publish an annual report?
- Does it publish its financial statements?
- Does it have a web page?
- How does the organization publicize its activities?
EDUCATIONALENVIRONMENT & METHODOLOGY
The objective of this chapter is to re-evaluate what constitutes a good school and look at how the “learning by doing” methodology can contribute to educational quality
a. EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENT
Before considering which educational methodology to adopt, we should start by considering what makes a good school.
1. A GOOD SCHOOL HAS THE FOLLOWING ATTRIBUTES:
1. The school has its own culture, which it reflected in all its activities; it has its own unique strength - e.g. it is good at teaching, at research or in another specific area.
2. The members of the school community identify with the school, its values, vision, and behave accordingly.
3. It is a goal-oriented school, which is reflected in:
a. How it selects students.
b. Its view that high achievement is the measurement of student success.
c. Its view that the quality of teachers is directly related to student achievement.
d. Its commitment to innovation and continuous improvement.
4. A good school is highly disciplined:
a. It has valid rules.
b. It believes work should be carried out in an orderly way.
c. It emphasizes punctuality.
5. A good school is based on good communication and cooperation:
a. It encourages cooperative work in teams comprised of teachers, students and administrators.
b. There is an emphasis on teamwork, with each member contributing according to his abilities and style, so that the final result is greater than the sum of the parts.
6. A good school is able to evaluate itself routinely and implements continual improvements in the school.
7. A good school has good leaders who inspire others in the school to do their best.
From the seven points mentioned above, it is clear that two of the most important factors in the quality of a school are: i) the attitude of school management and ii) the attitude of the members of the school community.
b. LEARNING BY DOING METHODOLOGY
Turning now to the question of which methodology the school should adopt, we would begin with a concept from John Dewey – a distinguished American educational reformer - who emphasized that no instruction will achieve success if it separates “knowing” from “doing”.
The “Learning by Doing” methodology is based on the interests and needs of the student with a view to helping them develop their full potential and making them responsible members of society.
It is based on the following principles:
Experience: The school should be an environment for living, working and gaining experience. Students learn best through experience not by passively receiving information. The Activity helps youth overcome behavioral problems, achieving this by helping young people to develop their own plans for the future.
Awakening a students’ Interest will prompt them to take action, develop skills and competencies and take a responsible attitude toward society and their own projects. Young people develop their capacity for investigation and Research directly. Teachers are facilitators of the learning process.
Combining Work and Study help youth develop self-esteem and facilitates them in becoming not only competent professionals, but professionals with concrete plans for the future! Student-centered learning means paying attention to the student’s personality, learning style and their on-going development while experiencing, discovering, reconstructing and researching.
Progressive attitude: Students need to learn teamwork! They need to be prepared for change and open to new ideas; they also need to learn to respect others. The school should foster Creativity and promote the view that change is constant and constructive. Teacher and students create the environment and work together to develop their potential and acquire competencies.
|It is very important to differentiate the methodology of “Learning by Doing” from “Child Labor”.|
• Through the “Learning by Doing” methodology students acquire competencies for life and work - developing attitudes that will enable them to become successful entrepreneurs.
• Child labor consists of using the young person simply for manual labor for the direct benefit of the organization. With a clear distinction from this, the school teaches students through hands-on experience for the benefit of the child, enhancing their studies and their future prospects for becoming and employee and earning successfully.
ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND MANAGEMENT
The objective of this chapter is to assess the current organizational and management structure of your organization.
• ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
A good organization has a structure based on different levels of authority and responsibility. The lines of authority within the organization are well defined and fully understood within the organization. To this end, the organization has an organizational chart displayed in a visible location, clearly showing the functions associated with each post.
The organization should have a modern, up-to-date chart that should be available to all staff. Each position should have a job description, which should be included in the induction of each employee (old or new). The levels of authority should be well-defined creating a support chain for employees who will know (1) whom they are reporting to and (2) with whom the responsibility lies in each role.
• SENIOR MANAGEMENT
The organization needs a professional management team that exercises leadership and demonstrates good communication skills. The CEO; Managing Director; General Manager or in the case of a school the Principal - is committed, motivated, efficient and promotes teamwork. He or she knows the field in which the organization works and seeks out alternative ways for the organization to achieve its Mission and Vision. He/she is familiar with available technology and introduces it to improve the efficiency of the organization.
You need to ensure the following:
• The CEO, Managing Director, General Manager, Principal (by whatever title they fall under) needs to have the appropriate experience and training for the job. You therefore need to have a clear and concise job description for this position, which outlines his or her responsibilities and functions.
• Their leadership skills and quality need to be open and participatory, with the ability to efficiently delegate responsibility and authority if necessary. They will need to be able to dedicate sufficient amount of time to the organization, considering the type and amount of activities needed. A pivotal characteristic would be that the management has to be results oriented!
• This leader will need to be a motivator not only inspiring employees but students as well, creating a formal and informal chain of communication in both directions. It’s imperative that they have the skill and tact to manage external relations appropriately and transparently.
• MID-LEVEL MANAGEMENT
Professional managers at all levels of the organization are a necessity to bring about success. These managers need to have a participatory leadership style and know how to transmit the organization’s values to all staff members. They are committed to the organization and keep staff members motivated. They focus their actions on achieving results, supervising operations and improving performance through better use of available resources. They are in fact microcosm of the senior-management and are capable of leading by example.
Guiding questions on who should be chosen as middle management employees:
• Do mid-level managers have appropriate training and experience for their positions?
• Do all management positions have job descriptions, which state the functions and responsibilities of these positions?
• Do mid-level managers have an open and participatory leadership style?
• Do they delegate authority and responsibility?
• Are they able to keep their staff motivated?
• Do they propose and carry out necessary changes at the appropriate time?
• Do they create formal and informal channels of internal communication?
ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE
The objective of this section is to determine whether your organization has the financial planning processes it needs in place to translate its mission into action.
a. STRATEGIC AND OPERATIONAL PLANNING
In order to translate its Mission and Vision into action an organization must be able to plan ahead at the operational level, establishing operational goals for the medium term. Within this, it needs to assign key tasks involved in meeting these goals to specific staff members.
A good organization has a Strategic Plan, which covers the next five years and helps the organization envision the individual action plans that will subsequently be carried out in order for it to achieve its Mission and Vision.
The Strategic Plan should specify the objectives to be achieved and include an analysis of the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (a SWOT analysis). It should also state the expected results, and the time frame in which these need to be achieved. In addition it should identify the resources that the organization expects to have available in order to carry out the Plan.
A good organization also engages in a yearly operational planning exercise. The operational plan is aligned with the strategic objectives outlined in the strategic plan. The annual operational plan allows the organization to allocate available resources and determine which activities to develop, defining who is responsible for carrying them out and the expected results. It has a timeline and a budget that needs to be strictly adhered too. The operational plan should have milestones or stages so that it can be evaluated periodically and corrections can be made.
1. The Strategic Plan needs to be translated into an annual operational plan that is consistent with available human and financial resources.
2. The operational plan needs to be clear, concise and ensure that it is clear which staff members are responsible for carrying out assigned tasks and that the goals are clear and in writing.
3. The organization must constantly evaluate the development and implementation of the annual operational plan and making necessary adjustments.
4. Financial models pertaining to the required budget need to be mapped out.
5. As the organization learns and grows, these models will need to be adjusted.
6. The implementation phase! Do those responsible for carrying out the plan know what results are expected of them? Have they accepted the challenge to achieve?
7. The organization will need to review concurrently as they progress, however at the end of each planned time phase the organization should review the achievements, changes needed, and report internally and externally.
b. FINANCIAL PLANNING
A good organization has a financial plan that allows it to determine what its medium-term financial needs are and what level of financial self-sufficiency it is targeting. With this information at hand it will know what additional sources of income or financing will be required.
To meet its financial needs the organization will have developed a variety of sources of income. The organization’s strategic and operational plans are linked to its financial plan. The financial plan takes all of the available financial information into account. Financial reports should be received and analyzed without delay, resulting in the timely modification of the organization’s operational plan if needed.
c. CASH FLOW
A “spending track record” needs to be kept in order to monitor cash flow – this is useful in understanding how the organization is using its money and where the money is coming from. This analysis allows the organization to identify the amount of money it needs to borrow or obtain from other sources. Cash flow projections should extend at least 6 months into the future so that the organization can plan out how it will manage its financial resources.
A good organization accurately analyzes the costs it incurs in producing the goods and services it provides and it distributes these costs equitably across the organization using quantifiable units. For example, it knows approximately how much time the Finance Manager devotes to each program and distributes the corresponding percentage of his/her salary to each of these programs.
The purpose of this cost analysis is to determine the real cost of each program, service or product so that one doesn’t seem better than another simply because shared costs have not been divided equitably.
• Has the organization projected its cash flow for the next 6 months?
• Is the current cash flow projection positive?
• If it isn’t, is there a contingency plan for obtaining additional funds?
• Is there an existent costing of its products and services?
• Are these costs structured?
In a good organization, accounting records are accurate and up-to-date and contribute to the transparency of the organization’s operations. Accounting in real time provides timely information and allows the organization to identify any deviations from the budget that may occur as its programs are being implemented. A good organization has a series of accounts that reflects the different areas and operations the organization is engaged in.
The organization should use specialized software or sophisticated paper-based bookkeeping techniques, which enable it to create accurate and up-to-date reports and accounting statements. Their balance sheet and income statement need to be audited by external auditors and their “opinions” do not cite any “qualifications” i.e. there were observations regarding shortcomings found during the audit.
• A computerized Accounting and Treasury system or similarly sophisticated paper-based bookkeeping system is an essential to efficiently run your books.
• Financial information needs to be available on a monthly basis and if needed, generated for shorter time periods.
• The accounting information should reflect your institution’s business activities.
• The financial accounts should help you to see and understand the diversity of operations run by the organization.
• If there is a deviation from the budget, there should be a report to analyze and clarify the situation.
• External audits are highly recommended.
• Decide on the frequency that your balance sheet and income statement are issued.
• What other accounting and financial reports you would like to include in your administration.
e. LEGAL COMPLIANCE
A good organization is legally recognized and is therefore able to contract legal obligations and exercise its legal rights. The organization respects all the applicable labor laws and provides its workers with their legally mandated rights and benefits. Likewise, it complies with all of the applicable tax and legislation and other legal requirements, such as the payment of municipal fees, etc.
A good organization also complies with all of the other laws and regulations that apply to it due to the kind of activities it is engaged in. For example, if the organization is involved in educational activities, it complies with the rules and regulations established by the Department of Education.
Guiding Questions to ensure legitimacy of your organization:
• Is the organization legally recognized by the national authorities?
• If not, is it in the process of obtaining legal recognition?
• Do the salaries paid by the organization meet the minimum legally established level?
• Does the organization provide vacation time and other benefits required by law?
• Do its employees have contracts?
• Do the employees have social security?
• Does the organization maintain all legally required records?
• Does the organization pay all taxes to which it is subject?
• Does the organization comply with all of the laws and regulations that apply to it?
The objective of this chapter is to examine how well developed the human resource system is in your organization.
a. MANUAL OF JOB DESCRIPTION
A good organization has a staff manual, which describes the responsibilities and functions associated with each position in the organization. This manual allows everyone to understand who is in charge of which tasks and which positions report to which authorities. This manual also makes it clear to whom certain tasks should be assigned and provides a control mechanism to help managers ensure that tasks are being assigned appropriately.
Job descriptions are essential. Job descriptions are required for recruitment so that you and the applicants can understand the role. A job description is necessary because they define a person's role and accountability. Without a job description it is not possible for a person to properly commit to, or be held accountable for a role.
Smaller organizations commonly require staff and managers to cover a wider or a more mixed range of responsibilities than in larger organizations (for example the 'office manager' role can comprise of financial responsibilities, HR, stock-control, scheduling and other duties). Therefore in smaller organizations, job descriptions might contain a greater number of listed responsibilities, perhaps 15-16. NOTE: the number of responsibilities should not exceed this, or the job description becomes unwieldy and ineffective.
As you write job descriptions, use the follow as key concepts in describing each role:
• Communication - in relation to whom? what? how?
• Planning and organizing what?
• Managing information or general administration support of what? Whom?
• Monitoring and reporting of what?
• Evaluating and decision-making in regards to?
• Financial budgeting and control for what?
• Producing what?
• Maintaining/repairing what?
• Quality control? (For production roles normally a separate responsibility; otherwise this is generally incorporated within other relevant responsibilities)
• Health and safety (normally the same point for all job descriptions of a given staff grade)
• Using what equipment and systems?
• Creating and developing what things?
• Self-development (normally the same point for all job descriptions of all staff)
NOTE: SECTION 8 OF THIS CHAPTER GIVERS YOU A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO WRITING JOB DESCRIPTIONS.
b. STRATEGIC PLANNING IN THE HUMAN RESOURCE AREA AND THE HIRING PROCESS
A good organization has a Strategic Plan for Human Resources. This Plan describes the organization’s future growth and how the organization plans to staff each position when it becomes vacant. This allows the organization to refine career development plans for its current employees and to identify future hiring. This will assist in having sufficient time and resources to recruit new employees as needed.
• Does the organization have a human resources development plan that is both documented and widely distributed?
• Does the organization have sufficient resources to carry out this plan?
• Does the head of Human Resources report directly to the General Manager or its equivalent?
• Does the organization have a formal process for recruiting, selecting and hiring new employees?
• Is this process appropriate and complete?
• Does the organization hire staff on a competitive basis?
c. INDUCTION OF NEW EMPLOYEES
A good organization has an established system for bringing new employees into the organization. This system allows new employees to identify with the organization’s Mission and Vision and integrate into the organization more easily, thereby shortening the time it takes for them to become effective members of the team.
It is important that you give them the right induction that will benefit themselves and your business. This induction period can be considered as the foundations for getting the most out of the employee and to determine their long-term success in your business.
An induction should be given at the beginning of employment and may stretch for several weeks, or even months. During this time, the quality of the induction will have an effect on how the employee visualizes your business and how well they will integrate into it.
d. PERFORMANCE EVALUATIONS
A good organization conducts performance evaluations for all of its employees. These evaluations occur not only vertically (managers evaluating their staff and staff evaluating their managers) but also horizontally (evaluations by colleagues at the same level in the organization). The goal of these evaluations is to help the organization improve continuously, as well as to identify the employees who are ready to move up in the hierarchy and those who need more training.
The formal performance evaluation system is designed to:
1. Maintain or improve each employee's job satisfaction and morale by letting him/her know that the supervisor is interested in his/her job progress and personal development.
2. Serve as a systematic guide for supervisors in planning each employee's further training.
3. Assure considered opinion of an employee's performance and focus maximum attention on achievement of assigned duties.
4. Assist in determining and recording special talents, skills and capabilities that might otherwise not be noticed or recognized.
5. Assist in planning personnel moves and placements that will best utilize each employee's capabilities.
6. Provide an opportunity for each employee to discuss job problems and interests with his/her supervisor.
7. Assemble substantiating data for use as a guide, although not necessarily the sole governing factor, for such purposes as wage adjustments, promotions, disciplinary action and termination.
e. EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT AND INTERNAL PROMOTIONS
As mentioned previously, a good organization develops career development plans for its employees so that its staff can grow within the organization. These plans include staff training so that employees have the skills they need to be promoted within the organization when vacancies arise. The organization tries to ensure that its employee benefits are better than the average employee benefits offered in its sector so that the organization can retain the employees it has already trained.
Key questions for employee development:
• Is there a career development plan for employees? Is it applied?
• Does the organization have fair and competitive benefits?
• Does the organization provide all the benefits to its staff that are required by law?
• Is there a pay scale? Is it uniformly applied?
• What is the average annual turnover of permanent staff?
• Does the organization have a staff training and development plan?
• Are there sufficient funds in the budget to carry out this plan?
f. ADMINISTRATION OF PERSONNEL
In a good organization, the human resource area maintains records on all staff members, ideally in a computerized database – although it is perfectly possible to keep good records manually. The human resource area also keeps records of individuals who have applied to work at the organization.
The human resource area is attentive to the benefits that employees receive and looks for ways to enhance them when possible, keeping in mind that not all staff benefits have to be in the form of monetary compensation. A good organization also provides its employees with non-monetary benefits such as recognition for their personal achievements and congratulations on their birthdays, the birth of their children etc.
g. CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, SAFETY AND HYGIENE POLICIES
A good organization has a policy on Conflicts of Interest, which allows it to avoid situations in which internal conflicts might arises. For example the policy discourages hiring two members of the same family. If two members of the same family are employed by the organization the policy does not allow one to report to one another.
In a good organization there are policies on safety and hygiene, which are intended to protect all employees. Thus, the policies should be posted in visible locations and violations of these policies should lead to pre-established sanctions.
Sample Policy about Conflict of Interest:
| For Officers, Directors, Committee Members, Staff Members,
Institute Faculty and certain Consultants
No member of the Board of Directors or any of its Committees of Organization X, shall derive any personal profit or gain, directly or indirectly, by reason of his or her participation with the Nonprofit Financial Center. Each individual shall disclose to the Nonprofit Financial Center any personal interest, which he or she may have in any matter pending before the NFC and shall refrain from participation in any decision on such matter.
Any Organization X member of the Board, any Committee or Staff who is an officer, board member, a committee member or staff member of a borrower organization or a loan applicant agency shall identify his or her affiliation with such agency or agencies; further, in connection with any credit policy committee or board action specifically directed to that agency, he or she shall not participate in the decision affecting that agency and the decision must be made and/or ratified by the full board.
Any member of the Board, any Committee, Staff of this Organization X shall refrain from obtaining any list of clients for personal or private solicitation purposes at any time during the term of their affiliation.
At this time, I am a Board member, a committee member, or an employee of the following organizations: (list)
Now this is to certify that I, except as described below, am not now nor at any time during the past year have been: EG: ORGANISATION A, COMPANY B, UNION C
1) A participant, directly or indirectly, in any arrangement, agreement, investment, or other activity with any vendor, supplier, or other party; doing business with the Organization X which has resulted or could result in person benefit to me.
2) A recipient, directly or indirectly, of any salary payments or loans or gifts of any kind or any free service or discounts or other fees from or on behalf of any person or organization engaged in any transaction with the Organization X.
Any exceptions to 1 or 2 above are stated below with a full description of the transactions and of the interest, whether direct or indirect, which I have (or have had during the past year) in the persons or organizations having transactions with the Organization X. (list)
Date: 17 FEBRUARY 2009
Printed name: SARA MALKIN
h. LEGAL MATTERS
Teaching is regulated under laws of every country, which establishes what is and is not permitted, defining the mandatory conditions to be provided for the employees of an organization. Check the law before making any decisions even if not related to the handling of human resources.
If a labor union exists at the school, it should be free to negotiate contracts even if it belongs to a larger organization. At all times the school administration must take into account both the interests of the union and those of the school, which are not always mutually exclusive. Given that both sectors are regulated by the state, coming to terms can be a very demanding job.
Dismissals can tend to be conflictive. The issue of leaving someone jobless causes tension at the management level, particularly for the people in charge of communicating the decision. It can also bring about negative reactions from the rest of the staff, especially if the process was perceived as lacking transparency or seemed improper in any way.
Large-scale dismissals must be notified at the earliest convenience. The decision has to be informed by the immediate supervisor of the employee in a meeting that should not last more than fifteen minutes. Care must be taken to ensure that the news comes from the supervisor and not from coworkers. Once the decision is communicated, a settlement including all pertinent details must be submitted in writing.
When dealing with a dismissal, offer help in finding another job (if appropriate) and express support and consideration for the employee’s contributions to the organization unless dealing with a case of serious dishonesty. If at all possible, try not to start the meeting with the news of the dismissal, and never expel the employee from the building. Lastly, be careful not to dismiss staff on a day that holds special meaning for the employee or just after they took time off .
j. COLLABORATOR FILES
It is important that someone within the administrative team of the institution be responsible for implementing a filing system that will hold information on staff performance in a systematic way.
The collaborator files can be kept in physical filing cabinets, electronic databases or in both formats. It is imperative that all files be regularly updated and Individual files are highly recommended. Please see below a list of the documentation that collaborator files should contain.
The file should include the following:
• Personal data including family information and picture.
• Photocopy of a valid identification document.
• Photocopy of driver’s license, professional registration document, personal business card etc.
• Signature record Resume.
• Record of days taken off and permissions granted.
• Benefits package.
• Performance reports/evaluations.
• Professional development and training sessions completed.
A good socially oriented organization will normally have a well-established volunteer program. Volunteers help to carry out necessary activities planned by the organization even though they are not on the payroll. Volunteers are willing to collaborate with the organization in order to gain experience in that particular field. For the organization, the use of volunteers allows it to accomplish tasks, which need to be done but might not be included in the budget. In addition volunteers bring in new ideas and points of view to the organization, help broaden the outlook of current employees and often are a good source of future employees.
In order to use volunteers effectively and allow volunteers to get as much out of the experience as possible, a good organization will have a plan, which identifies where volunteers are needed and what they will be doing. The plan allows the volunteers to understand exactly the work they are going to be doing and helps ensure that the organization only takes on volunteers who will be properly supervised.
Note: This section applies primarily to non-profit organizations - where there is normally a great scope for accepting volunteers - rather than to schools themselves. Nonetheless, with appropriate safeguards and vetting processes to ensure the safety of students, volunteers can also make a meaningful contribution to supporting education within schools.
The objective of this chapter is to learn how to measure the impact of your organization’s work and use lessons learnt to improve your future plans.
a. PROGRAM COHERENCE
A good organization ensures that the programs it carries out are in line with its overall goals, with the ultimate objective of achieving its Vision and Mission. This helps the organization stay focused rather than spread itself too thin.
Strong program coherence prevails when three major conditions exist in the organization and school:
1. A common instructional framework guides the organization and the school, including curriculum, teaching, assessment of goals and learning climate. This framework combines expectations, strategies and materials to guide both employee and student.
2. Staff working conditions and expectations support the implementation of the framework.
3. The organization allocates resources such as material, time and staff assignments to advance the organization’s common instructional framework and to avoid diffuse, scattered improvement efforts.
b. FOCUS ON THE TARGET POPULATION
A good organization focuses its activities on its target population. To facilitate this, the organization has defined its target population clearly and has obtained detailed, quantitative information about it. This information allows the organization to determine the most effective ways to have a positive impact on the target population. To measure this impact, a good organization uses both quantitative and qualitative indicators.
A good organization establishes both qualitative and quantitative indicators by which to monitor program advances and it evaluates the extent to which program goals are being achieved at regular intervals. It also prepares periodic reports, which it distributes to interested parties.
Project Monitoring is a timely gathering and review of information on input, output and activities critical for the attainment of project objectives. This is done with a view to ensure input deliveries, work schedules and targeted outputs are proceeding as planned
A good monitoring system will:
• Determine whether the project is being implemented efficiently and effectively to achieve the intended objectives.
• Help examine the relevance, implementation efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability of the project.
• Identify problems, issues and constrains that effect implementation and provide early warning signals when programs are not going as planned.
• Facilitate taking corrective actions to place the project on-track.
• Provides valuable lessons to improve the quality of future projects.
A PRACTICAL GUIDE ON HOW TO WRITE A STAFF HANDBOOK
a. DEFINE THE TITLE OF THE POSITION
Experts recommend establishing a code that includes the name of the position and the department in which it functions. You should not have different positions with the same name e.g. with the title of “assistant.” In many organizations each department has an assistant but the tasks they complete vary from one department to another. Therefore it is important to clarify: “Animal Production Assistant” or “Administrative Assistant”. Often it makes more sense to define the job title after they have gone through all of the steps to define what the person will do on the job).
b. USE SIMPLE TERMINOLOGY TO EXPLAIN THE GOALS OF EACH POSITION
Some authors define this section as “position summary” or “objectives of position.” It should be done in a concise form and ideally in one phrase. The following is a typical position summary for the Chief of Production at an agricultural school:
“Plan, organize, coordinate and execute the programs and plans of animal production and guarantee the completion of the established annual goals.”
Avoid including ill-defined or open-ended phrases such as “and other responsibilities.” If other responsibilities exist they should be included in a generic form within the mission.
c. DESCRIBE THE RELATIONSHIPS OF SUPERVISION
In this section you will describe the relationship the position will have with other people in the organization, who they are supervised by and who they supervise.
This example shows how it is done at the San Francisco Agricultural School in Paraguay:
Position Title: Academic Secretary
Immediate Supervisor: Education Director
Position they Supervise: None
D. DESCRIBE THE POSITIONS FOR WHICH THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR SUPERVISING
In the above example the position of Academic Secretary is not in charge of supervising anyone. Below is an example of a chart for a position that is responsible for supervising others:
Director of the Education Dept.
• Academic Secretary
• Teaching Staff
Director of Housing
Director of Production
• Coordinator of Animal Production
• Coordinator of Vegetable Production
• Field Assistant to Vegetable Production
Director of Dairy Plant
• Kitchen Assistant
Manager of the Highway Coffee Shop/Store
• Chef at Highway Coffee Shop/Store
• Kitchen Assistant at the Highway Coffee Shop/Store
Manager of the Hotel
The above list includes all the positions at the agricultural school that are supervised (directly or indirectly) by the School Director.
e. DESCRIBE INTERNAL RELATIONS
This refers to the position’s relationship to other positions at the school, with whom the staff member will ordinarily need to work (not hierarchy).
For example the administrative department works with the production department to monitor the stock, sales and costs. The teachers work with the administrative department to monitor the attendance of the students, salaries, benefits etc.
To give an example, the internal relations of the Coordinator of Animal Production could be described as follows:
As one can see the person occupying this position has to interact with many of the other departments throughout the school in order to properly fulfill his or her responsibilities. The Coordinator of Animal Production will need to work directly with the Production Department to produce animals and with the Academic Department the students and the teachers to establish and implement learning objectives and activities. Finally, the Coordinator will need to work with the business office because it monitors control production and earnings.
The job description should allow the person to easily visualize what they will be doing in the position, and the responsibilities they will be charged with. It will allow all of the collaborators to appreciate the different positions within the organization and realise how important their relationships are in relation to the other areas as a part of a team.
f. DESCRIPTION OF EXTERNAL RELATIONS
Almost every element of the educational system interacts with other organizations. These organizations vary and may include governmental organizations, NGO’s, communities and a plethora of others. One example of this interaction that is directly related to agricultural schools is the measurement of sustainability, which can only be measured by relations with the community.
Below you will find an example from the San Francisco Agricultural School position of Academic Director:
g. DEFINE AND DESCRIBE THE COLLABORATOR’S GENERAL RESPONSIBILITIES
The general responsibilities of every position are the tasks that help achieve the position’s objectives. They are general tasks that do not need to be completed within a certain amount of time. On the following page you will find the description of the general responsibilities of the Director of Production:
h. DEFINE AND DESCRIBE THE EMPLOYEE’S SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES
Specific responsibilities are similar to General Responsibilities but they are assigned at specific times. Below is an example of specific responsibilities for the Director of Production.
Director of Production
• Suggest new projects and methodologies while maintaining the vision and mission of the program.
• Supervise the execution of the Agriculture and Farming Production Plan, in collaboration with the Coordinator of Animal Production.
• Supervise the execution of projects and plans in regard to the vegetable garden, working with the Head of Farming.
• Participate in the process of monitoring, evaluation and budgeting of projects and the Agriculture and Farming Production Plan.
• Participate in training provided by the Fundacion Paraguaya
• Work in coordination with other collaborators to adjust the educational curriculum each year.
• Work with the Director of the school to implement and evaluate the educational curriculum.
• Coordinate activities within the production department and with the other school directors to guarantee that students are getting the most out of their experience at the school.
• Coordinate the technical activities involved in production.
• Prepare annual statistical reports on production
i. INCLUDE THE PROFILE AND BACKGROUND REQUIREMENTS FOR THE POSITION
This section includes the level of education and experience necessary and other basic personal skills required for the position. The first two elements are easily defined but how do you define the third element?
When we talk about basic personal skills we are referring to behavior as well as how a person thinks about things and how they react to certain situations.
As an example of skills:
Ability to Achieve Goals
- Goal Oriented
- Organizational Skills
- Good Attention to Detail
- Seeks out Information
- Good Interpersonal Skills
- Client Oriented
- Ability to Form Relationships
- Organizational Skills
- Personal Guidance
- Analytical Thinking
- Rational Thinking
- Technical and Professional Experience
Skills of Self-Management
- Ability to work in Stressful Situations
The above table is an example of some different ways to define personal skills. They are skills that you can observe and measure through an interview. Human Resource Professionals can help you identify them.
There are also basic skills that go along with each position. These refer to the abilities that one needs to have mastered to be able to complete the position’s responsibilities. If you are going to be the person in charge of milking the cow you need to have the adequate skills or the capacity to acquire them.
Below is an example of a position profile of the Director of Production at the Agricultural School:
Educational Experience: Agricultural Engineer Specialized in Animal and Vegetable Production.
Work Experience: Two years experience in agricultural planning and production.
Skills: Leadership; Critical thinking; Planning; Objective-driven work skills; Self-Confidence; Driven; Inter-personal skills; Good verbal and written communication skills.
In order to properly define the skills necessary for a particular position you can organize consultations. Present a list like the one above. Invite three people to review it: the person who currently holds the position, the supervisor of the position and another person who is not involved with the position. Define the skills necessary to successfully fulfill the responsibilities of the position. Then later compare the list produced with the one you produced before the consultation.