Why Your Staff Need Standardized Training

Does your organization or department have a standardized training program for new hires?  It might surprise you that in a number of companies the training plan may be as simple as having the existing staff train the new staff.  Do you see any issue with this plan?

Your existing staff may not be doing everything the best way.  They may even have some bad habits that will now be transferred to your new staff through training.  Your existing staff may not be trained in how to teach adult learners.  How do you measure everyone on equal footing if they haven’t all been trained in the same manner?

It costs money and time to advertise, interview and hire a new staff person.  The best thing you can do to shore up that investment is to make sure the new person gets off to a good start with standardized training.

Here are three elements of a good training program:

  1. Create a standardized training outline and content for use with new staff.
  2. Create a standardized set of forms and spreadsheets for staff to use in planning and reporting results.
  3. Identify a person or role to take personal accountability to see that the training is completed  Include periodic reviews of the training material to ensure understanding and compliance.

Staff turnover costs a great deal of money, time and  productivity.  The investment you make in a standardized training program today can save you money in the long run by reducing mistakes, reducing frustration and reducing turnover.

If you feel your current training program is lacking in any of these areas, please email me or give me a call.  I would be happy to discuss how you can make improvements.

About Denise

Denise Brookie is a seasoned nonprofit professional with over 20 years experience in establishing strong community based programs.  With expertise in community engagement, development, team building, project management, volunteer management and staff training, she can help you evaluate your needs and develop a plan to take you to the next level.

Looking for a speaker? Denise is available to present workshops, breakout sessions, webinars, training and more.

Learn more about Denise at http://www.denisebrookie.com or contact Denise at brookied@bellsouth.net .


Good Bosses/Bad Bosses

The subject of bad bosses has come up several times for me in the last 2 – 3 weeks. Some of the stories I have heard include:

  • a person who changes jobs frequently because they don’t like their boss
  • a person who is a very conscientious and hard worker but is constantly frustrated with the poor work habits of a coworker that aren’t addressed by the boss
  • a person who is in a job they really don’t like with a boss they really don’t respect but they stay because the money is good

Can you identify now or in the past with any of these examples?  Almost everyone will have a bad boss at some point.  Unfortunately, many times the bad bosses outweigh the good.  You might only have one or two good bosses in a lifetime.  That is a sad observation.

Most of us spend more time at work than we do at home. One would hope, with that being the case, that we could at least spend time with people we like and respect. Unless you are the owner and make all the hiring decisions, that is probably a tough expectation.

When people tell me their bad boss stories and ask for advice, I generally respond with choices they have to make:

  1. Decide whether you like the company and the job well enough to work with a bad boss.
  2. Explore whether or not you feel your boss would be receptive to a discussion about your concerns.  If that doesn’t work, decide whether or not it would be productive to discuss your concerns with H.R.
  3. Look for another job.

A blunt response would be:  get on board or leave.  That sounds very harsh but sometimes breaking it down can force a decision or action on the part of the concerned coworker, friend or family member. Complaining about it to everyone only keeps you frustrated and feeling trapped.

When you have a good boss, you know it.  You feel it.  You would follow them into battle.  You have their back and they have yours.  You feel encouraged and appreciated.  You work harder, not only for yourself but for them.

Not every boss can be a good boss.  They may have never had a good example to follow or may not have the temperament for the role.  You, however, always have choices.  Stay, Approach or Leave.  The last two require you to be brave and move out of your comfort zone. Sometimes the choice for the moment may be to stay where you are to support your family. At the end of the day you have to live with your choices so think them through.

If you ever get the chance to be the boss – learn from your own past bosses – what you want to repeat and what you would do differently.  Don’t repeat the Bad Boss cycle.  And if you have a good boss – go in tomorrow and thank them and tell them specifically why you admire and respect them.  Bosses need encouragement too.

Wishing you a good boss,


Is Your Volunteer Program Volunteer-Centric?

What does it mean to have a volunteer-centric program and why would you want one?  Volunteers are the heartbeat of most nonprofits.  The work simply could not get done without volunteers giving of themselves and their time and talents to ensure the mission can be fulfilled.

“Centric” is an adjective meaning “in or at the center”; central. So a volunteer-centric program has the volunteer in or at the center; central to the program.  But how do you move to a volunteer centric program?  Here are four suggestions to help get you started:
1.  Seek out input from your volunteers. People always have more buy-in when their ideas and thoughts are solicited and heard. Your volunteers are the ones doing the work and while doing it, they see and think of better, more effective, more efficient ways of doing the job. Are you open to their ideas for improvement? Do you ask for their input?
2.  Involve your volunteers in developing key volunteer roles and job descriptions. Volunteers are positioned to see, first hand, what work needs to be done and what may be falling through the cracks. Involve key volunteers when you are developing or revising roles and responsibilities to increase your success and increase their sense of involvement.
3. Create a menu of ways your volunteers can engage.  You may have volunteers who sign on for one job and don’t want to do anything else.  More than likely, you have volunteers who would like to learn and grow with your organization so it would be good to give them growth options. Are there volunteer leadership roles they can fill? Are there other departments or areas they can support? Can they move up a volunteer ladder with your organization? Creating a menu of engagement gives your volunteers the diversity of work many of them need.
4. Thank, thank, thank, and recognize. You cannot say ‘thank you’ too often.  Your volunteers are giving you their time, their head and their heart – for free. They deserve to be thanked and recognized. In order for the recognition to be effective, it needs to be tailored to the volunteer. Do you know your volunteers well enough to tailor the recognition? Perhaps you have a “menu” of recognition items they could choose from?  Perhaps they think recognition items are a waste of your limited funds. Saying “Thank You” doesn’t cost a dime.  Make sure you don’t take them for granted.
If you haven’t done it already, take your volunteer hours contributed in the last year and multiply them by the hourly wage you would have had to pay to get the same work done.  You will quickly see how valuable your volunteers are and why you need to have a volunteer-centric program.  Seek their input; involve them in creating roles needed; give them a menu of ways to engage; and thank and recognize them in a meaningful way. They are free ambassadors for your mission and your organization and they are worth your extra time and attention.