Churches are established to help people – and it takes people to do that work.
The challenge for churches is that the majority of the workforce is in the form of free labor.
These necessary laborers are what we refer to as volunteers.
Managing volunteer labor creates a dynamic that is unique to churches and the nonprofit world.
The term human resources represents the people who make up the workforce (paid or volunteer) of an organization.
Regardless if the position is paid or volunteer, there needs to be an intentional approach to managing the people who do the work.
Human resource management provides and maintains the appropriate work force for the organization.
This includes providing the manpower for current needs as well as planning for the future requirements of the organization.
In a church this includes both paid employees and volunteer labor.
For example, if your church has a strategic objective to develop a children’s ministry program, then it would be important to include the planning of the staffing and training of the necessary workers to support the program.
This is in addition to the obvious other planning needs, like church budgeting and facility planning.
Every organization is structured differently but organizing employees and volunteers under one umbrella helps to ensure that all people who support the work of the church receive the same level of training and care for the work that they do.
This can mean either establishing a close collaboration between the HR department and the Volunteer department or organizing the management of volunteers within the HR umbrella.
The goal being to create a strategic approach to managing the people who do the work of the church.
3 Steps to Human Resource Planning
1. Identify Position Needs
Planning for the human resource needs of new programs requires going through a systematic process of thinking about and organizing the activities or tasks that would be required to support the new program.
This includes looking at the possible roles that would be required to run the program.
To do this, take some time to brainstorm and answer the following questions:
- What positions would be needed to support this program?
- What are the tasks that need to be performed in each position?
- How many people do these positions represent?
- How often will each of these positions need to be available?
- What are the days and times that someone would need to be available to work these positions?
This is also a necessary first step when developing employee or volunteer job descriptions.
Now lets look at the example of expanding children’s ministry and try to answer these questions.
2. Planning the Worker Training
Now that we know what positions we will need to support this new program, we also need to think about training the workers.
An important aspect of the HR planning process is ensuring that people receive the proper training to perform job duties.
This includes developing training that orients the employee or volunteer to the organization; to the specific area (department) they will be working as well as training on the specific details of performing their job tasks.
Planning for this type of detailed information sharing helps ensure that employees and volunteers perform job expectations in the manner that the organization desires.
3. Succession Planning
Another very important part of HR planning is to create a succession planning process.
This requires having a process in place that identifies leadership potential and to train and develop employees and volunteers for increased responsibility.
Organizations become vulnerable when this important step is neglected.
For example, I worked with a church that the person who managed children’s ministry stepped down two weeks before a major event.
This created a challenge to fill the roles that this person was responsible for at a very busy time of year.
The volunteers pulled together and things worked out but it took a couple years to get another person trained and in place to fill that spot.
The best situation is to always have someone in the process of developing for that next level of leadership.
Planning for the human resource needs is a critical step but once workers are identified and trained, there needs to be a management process that supports the efforts of both employees and volunteers.
This includes creating an environment that is challenging, fulfilling and rewarding.
This is done by continually looking for ways to improve the way work gets done and soliciting feedback to learn about the worker experience.
Planning for the human resource needs of a church is a big responsibility and preparing for the next generation of leaders is what successful organizations do well and should be considered an important business strategy.
What things does your organization do to plan for human resource needs?