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Resource Management -- Question & Answer Listing  
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Question / Answer

Question:
How can I get my staff to embrace different communication tools such as email instead of telephone calls and video teleconferencing instead of on-site meetings?

Answer:
Introducing change of any kind in an organization can often be met with skepticism and other difficulties, but it’s very important for most business to keep up with technological advances. One suggestion for gaining more support from your staff members is to include them in the change process. It might help to appoint members of your staff to do the research on some of the new tools you would like to implement. Encourage them to use and improve their technical skills by providing training and demonstrating to them how these skills and new tools can benefit them as well as increase efficiency in the organization. Learn more about adapting to change and/or communication skills from the references provided.

Question:
How dependent upon the continued development of volunteers is a volunteer organization?

Answer:
If an organization is run primarily by volunteers, then it is very dependent upon the continued development of its volunteers' skills. Even if the organization is run primarily by paid personnel, it is wise to include ways to develop your volunteers. Offer opportunities for volunteer development that support the dynamic needs of the organization.

Question:
How do I, as a leader of a volunteer organization, ensure that we receive the community resources we need to run our programs?

Answer:
Volunteer Groups and organizations are often in competition for resources (e.g., money, facilities, volunteers, location for activities, etc.), but one way to help ensure your agency gets a fair share of these resources is to participate in community meetings to advocate interest in your organization. Provide measurable benefits about your organization to community leaders who are in a position to provide money and other types of support. Use effective marketing to attract volunteers and be an effective leader in your management of volunteers in order to retain them. Check with the references listed for more information on leadership and volunteer management.

Question:
How do senior leaders in the Army decide how resources are allocated to each of the organizations competing for them?

Answer:
There are a lot of different factors that affect senior leaders’ decisions on how resources are allocated to each of the different organizations competing for them. It’s rarely an ‘equal’ distribution, but it’s generally a fair one. For example, Army organizations have different missions and different requirements. The Army’s senior leaders have to look at these factors, how they impact on each other, and how they fit into the total strategic plan for the Army. Needs have to be justified and prioritized. In many cases, once an organization receives its allotment of funds (for example), that organization’s leader may have to reevaluate its needs and prioritize them if the full amount requested was not received. This is just a simple description of the factors involved in resource allocation. Learn more about how leaders allocate resources from the resources listed.

Question:
How do strategic leaders achieve organizational goals when there are competing demands on his/her time and the organization’s resources?

Answer:
Strategic leaders need to establish priorities from competing demands on his/her time and the organization’s resources. They also need to use effective interpersonal skills to communicate their decisions to organizational members so they understand how they arrived at these decisions.

Question:
How important is it to appropriately match volunteer talents and interests to community needs?

Answer:
Assigning volunteers to positions that match their skills and interest is very important. There are many reasons why individuals volunteer. They may want to fill a void in their lives or perhaps they just want to support their community. In any case, most volunteers will not remain volunteers if they don’t get some kind of satisfaction out of their work. Paid employees often have to perform tasks that they don’t want to do, but your volunteers are not getting paid. While professional volunteers also recognize the need to do some of the less “glamorous” work at times, it is in a leader’s best interest to try to match a volunteer’s skills and interest to the right volunteer position in order to keep them coming back. Additionally, it is important for a volunteer’s roles and responsibilities to be clearly defined. Volunteers should also be evaluated for their performance and recognized for their efforts. Learn more about volunteer management from the resources provided.

Question:
How important is it to have a formal orientation process for volunteers new to our organization?

Answer:
The process of orientation is critical to the organization's ability to attract, develop, and retain a volunteer workforce. Each volunteer should have a position description that includes but is not limited to the position title, supervisor, duties, training, qualifications, time requirement, length of commitment, and evaluation process. Share the mission, vision, goals, objectives and strategies of the organization, with new volunteers as part of their orientation process. It is important for volunteers to have a clear understanding of the organization’s mission and how their efforts will contribute to meeting the organization’s goals.

Question:
How much training do I need to provide to volunteers who help out in my organizations?

Answer:
Volunteers should be given whatever training is necessary to allow them to do their volunteer work. In some cases, you may have volunteers receiving the same type of training that your paid employees receive - whether it can be formal training or informal. It is also important to provide follow-up training to volunteers, either to enhance the skills they are using for their current position or perhaps professional development training to allow them to move on to other positions in your organization. Providing adequate training to your volunteers, as well as your paid workforce, is important to your organization's success and important to the morale of the people in it.

Question:
How should a volunteer's performance be evaluated?

Answer:
Volunteers should be treated with the same respect and professionalism given to paid employees. This includes evaluating their performance as you would a paid employee’s. It is important for volunteers to have goals and reasonable standards to uphold while striving to achieve these goals. It is also important for them to receive feedback along the way so they know how their efforts measure up to these standards. Use periodic evaluations to convey appreciation to your volunteers, provide direction, and discuss their continued interest in the organization and the position they are currently filling. An evaluation may also be the time to take corrective action, if necessary. This may be in the form of additional training, reassignment, suspension or dismissal from the volunteer program. Your volunteer force should provide a mutually beneficial experience to your organization and the individuals volunteering. If this is not the case and remedial steps to amend the relationship are not successful, it is acceptable – and often necessary – to terminate the arrangement. Learn more about volunteer management through the resources provided.

Question:
How should I deal with unsatisfactory performance from volunteers?

Answer:
If immediate corrective action is required, do not avoid confronting your volunteer. Be specific and explain your disappointment with the individual’s performance. Be positive about the volunteer’s efforts and strong points, but address the issue. Perhaps the volunteer is not suited to the position. Consider redirecting the volunteer to facilitate a more effective volunteer/job fit or perhaps additional training or guidance is needed. Your volunteers should be evaluated on a regular basis – just like paid employees. The periodic evaluation process provides a good time to discuss changes in responsibilities and/or development opportunities.
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