By Brenda Reid, Board of Directors, Hope House of Colorado
Vice President Product Management, SAP SuccessFactor
LinkedIn: | Twitter: @BrendaReidSAP

Human Resource (HR) challenges are significant during times of hyper-growth, and these can make or break a non-profit.   As noted in the January Blog, a mature non-profit will measure its growth by its ability to accomplish its mission, not by budget and/or staff size, which is often the measure of growth in the for-profit sector.

During times of hyper-growth, a mature non-profit must carefully consider how to manage staff increases.  Too often organizations try to control costs during growth by failing to add staff members, increasing the burden on existing staff as they take on additional responsibilities — when they are already stretched thin.  Such decisions can lead to increased turnover.

Staffing should be reviewed regularly to ensure the organization is well poised to sustain the growth while not placing undue risk on budget.  The following considerations can be used to help benchmark HR concerns and help the organization identify where an outside consultant may be beneficial.

• Does the organization have clearly defined roles and responsibilities for staff?  Are they effective?  Do roles blur often?  When roles are intermixing frequently this can be an indication that additional staff or a redefinition of roles may be needed.

• Are your volunteers providing critical functions where you now need the reliability of a staff member to ensure continuity?

• Are your salaries and benefits competitive to the market?  Many staff are indeed doing the work of the heart, but they also need to provide for their families.  Depending on the role, turnover can cost an organization anywhere from 20-200% of the employee’s salary in lost productivity, recruiting and orientation costs.

• Do you have clearly defined succession plans in place for critical roles?  Successors should be identified from both inside and outside the organization.

• Is it time for technology?  Technology can help an organization scale by standardizing platforms, resulting in robust metrics to drive your workforce planning.  Reduction in compliance risk, among other factors, can often bring enough ROI to fund the solution.

Above all, keeping employees engaged during times of change and growth can be an organization’s biggest challenge.  Emphasis must be placed on scaling the amazing culture that has been fostered from startup.  Employee network groups, culture advisory boards and an open door for concerns will help ensure that this focus is felt by your staff.

Communication is even more critical to ensure that your organization stays tightly aligned towards the new, expanded goals.  What projects should be sacrificed to keep focused on your direction and mission?  Ensure everyone knows where the priorities lie and what can, and should, take a back burner of their time.

Hope House of Colorado is thriving during a time of hyper-growth and change.  The relentless focus on transformational leadership has allowed the team to stay tightly aligned on the mission of helping more teen moms achieve self-sufficiency.  Please join us in praying that the leadership and staff continue to keep God at the center of the mission, and support Hope House by volunteering or giving as we grow!  After all, God’s got big plans for these amazing young ladies!

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