109 – Tax Saving Tips – Michael’s Corner

James Murphy

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← Issue 109 - Tax Saving Tips 2021

Michael’s Corner   Article Number 09

 Not-for-profit and Human Resources Recruiting

Staffing decisions are amongst the most important decisions that not-for-profit (NFP)organisations make. Just as any business of any size or operation rely on their personnel to execute strategies and advance their goals, so too do not-for-profit groups. It follows, then, that not-for-profits need to attend to the same tasks as any for-profit company does when turning to the challenges of establishing and maintaining a solid work force.

To accomplish this, NFPs need to address the following six personnel issues:

  • assessing personnel needs
  • recruiting personnel
  • screening personnel
  • selecting and hiring personnel
  • orienting new employees to the organisation
  • deciding compensation issues.

An effective not-for-profit manager must try to get more out of the people he or she already has. The return from human resources really determines the business’s performance.

Coupled with people decisions:

  • who we hire and who we terminate?
  • where do we place people?
  • who we promote internally?

The quality of these HR decisions largely determines whether the business is being run seriously, whether its mission, its values, and its objectives are real and meaningful to people rather than just public relations and rhetoric.

Assessing the businesses needs

A key component of any business is to build a quality core of personnel, this will give an honest assessment of current and future internal needs and external influences. Leaders and managers of not-for-profit organisations should study workload history, trends in the larger community, pertinent changes in the environment in which they operate (redundancies, business closures, introduction of a new business with a similar mission, legislative developments, etc.), recruitment demands associated with current and planned initiatives, operating budget and costs, and the quality and quantity of the area worker pool, both for volunteer and staff positions.

Moreover, all these factors need to be studied within the framework of the organisation’s overarching mission statement. As many not-for-profit leaders have noted, adherence to other general business principles (sound financial management, retention of good employees through good salary packages, etc.) is of little solace if they lose sight of their mission—its reason for being- in the process.

There are several fundamental business principles concerning assessment of personnel needs that apply to not-for-profits also.

These principles include:

  • Filling positions with people who are willing and able to take on the job.
  • Providing accurate and realistic job and skill specifications for each position helps ensure that it will be filled by someone capable of handling the responsibilities associated with that position.
  • Written job descriptions are essential to communicating job expectations.
  • Employees who are chosen because they are the best available candidates are far more likely to have a positive impact than those who are chosen on the basis of friendship or expediency.
  • Performance appraisals, when coupled with specific job expectations, help boost performance.

The process of selecting a competent person for each position is best accomplished through a systematic definition of the requirements for each job, including the skills, knowledge, and other qualifications that employees must possess to perform each task.

To guarantee that personnel needs are adequately specified:

  1. conduct a job analysis
  2. develop a written job description; and
  3. prepare a job specification.


For many NFPs, publicising their very existence is the most important step they can take in their efforts to recruit staff. They  tend to rely on two basic avenues to publicise their work and their staffing needs:

  • local media (newspapers, newsletters, radio advertising, billboards, etc.) and
  • other community organisations (governments, churches, civic groups and other NFP organisations).

Many not-for-profit groups have found that contact with some community organisations, particularly churches and civic groups, can be particularly rewarding since these organisations already have members that may be predisposed toward the needs of the business.

Screening and Selection

The interviewing process is another essential component of successful staffing for not-for-profit groups. This holds true for officers, directors, and paid staff. An orderly and professional approach to management will pay off handsomely for your organisation.

What you do in the recruitment phase of your work will set the standard for employee performance. If you are disciplined and well organised, you will often attract more qualified employees.

Managers should ensure they do the following when engaged in the process of staffing, screening, and selection:

  • Recognise that all employees, have an impact on the group’s performance. Certainly, some positions are more important than others, but countless not-for-profit managers can attest to the fact that an under-performing, unethical, or unpleasant individuals can have an enormously negative impact on the organisation’s morale and/or reputation in the community.
  • Use an application form that covers all pertinent areas of the applicant’s background.
  • Ensure that your screening process provides information about an individual’s skills, attitudes, and knowledge.
  • Try to determine if the applicant is interested in the organisation for legitimate reasons (professional development and/or advancement, genuine interest in your group’s mission) or primarily for reasons that may not advance your organisation’s cause (loneliness, corporate burnout, etc.).
  • Objectively evaluate prospective employees based on criteria established in the organisation’s job specifications.
  • Be realistic in putting together your work force. “Managers cause most of the problems with some employees by making unreasonable assumptions about their intentions and capabilities. An organisation that sets the bar too high in its expectations of employees may find itself with a severe shortage of this potentially valuable resource.
  • Recognising that employees bring both assets and negative attributes to your organisation, not-for-profit groups should be flexible in accommodating those strengths and weaknesses. If you want people to perform in an organisation, you must use their strengths—not emphasise their weaknesses.

Organisations that pay attention to these guidelines will be far more likely to enjoy positive and lasting relationships with their staff than those who fill their human resource needs in a haphazard fashion. The time to begin evaluating the probable reliability of human resources is prior to their insertion into your internal structure.

To rest assured that you are compliant with the Fair Work Act, all supporting documents for the recruitment process can be found in bO2’s Smart Toolpack 1- Employee Policy and Procedure Manual, bO2 Smart Toolpack 2- A veritable HR/IR utility belt and full step by step scripting in the bO2 HR/IR Smart Guides.

****Please note that this is general advice for information only and any application of HR legislation and/or Industrial Relations and/or contractual agreements may require professional advice to suit your individual circumstances.

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