An Organization’s No. 1 Asset is its Employees

By: Cynthia Segura —

Jeffrey Lehmann uses employee recognition as a tool to better his nonprofit, Rosecrance.

Employee recognition is acknowledging and congratulating an individual or team’s behavior, effort or accomplishment. As an HR Business Partner of Rosecrance, employee recognition is one of the many methods Lehmann uses which keeps the nonprofit running smoothly.

Rosecrance is a private nonprofit which offers behavioral health services for children, adolescents and adults. Some of these services include prevention, interventions and detoxification.

According to a study published on HR management in nonprofits, human resource management is the business of overseeing an organization’s employees. It is a vital component of a nonprofit organization. Insufficient human resource management policies may result in a lack of efficiency and effectiveness of the organization’s overall agenda.

In spring 2017, Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations (SCNO) worked with Rosecrance, formerly known as Prairie Center, to improve employee retention and recognition. SCNO worked closely with Lehmann, to analyze reasons for high turnover rates by conducting surveys.

The survey asked questions in certain categories such as workload, training and development, compensation and relationship to management. The questions pertained an individual’s opinions and experiences. SCNO then analyzed those responses to come up with recommendations for an employee recognition program which could contribute new tools for their HR management.

Lehmann said he wanted to use the surveys to keep his employees happy. One way Rosecrance does this is through job shadowing job shadowing. Before someone starts, they shadow that particular position. This also helps the team determine if they enjoy working with that individual. Job shadowing can be anywhere between one to four hours and is an essential role in hiring the best quality candidates.

From the survey conducted last spring, Lehmann found the information on retaining the employees extremely valuable.

“What I found last year while working at the Prairie Center before it became Rosecrance, is to recognize individuals and sometimes, I found some people don’t want the public recognition and some people drive on it,” Lehmann said. “So I think you have to know your personality types and get to know your employees because everybody is very different.”

Another detail that the survey revealed is the relationship between employees and their supervisors. Having their supervisors and hiring managers focus on what is going right, as opposed to what is not, can increase employee satisfaction.

One way Lehmann exercises his ability to communicate is through an organization called Toastmasters. Toastmasters is a nonprofit which works to strengthen speaking and leadership skills. Lehmann states that from this particular role, he has learned more about feedback and how to supportively communicate in a work environment.

“Usually if you say those words gracefully, that person will be much better suited to take the input and become a more productive employee,” Lehmann said.

Another topic that Lehmann emphasized was that feedback is different than constructive criticism. Feedback is helping an employee by saying “going forward, here’s an idea that might help,” or “how can we get you from where you’re at to where you want to be.” Whereas, constructive criticism is pointing out faults.

Implementing these methods can increase employee satisfaction, which helps an organization to succeed.

“I think HR is getting the right quality of people because people are the number one asset of a company,” Lehmann said.


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