News & Views

A blog for those interested in what affects, motivates and drives the New York City Nonprofit Sector — written by CRE’s crackerjack consulting team. We hope you use this space to share your thoughts, ask questions and engage in conversations about our city, social justice and the nonprofit sector.

HR Without HR, Part 4: Employing Fair, Consistent, and Rigorous Practices

By Pavitra Menon, Senior Consultant - Organizations must develop systems that promote fairness and consistency in all decisions related to people because without them productivity and morale will plummet. In addition, ensuring fair and consistent practices will most likely keep organizations from unintentionally breaking the law.

What gets in the way of being fair?

  • Managers tend to overrate themselves on treating people with dignity and respect.
  • Managers sometimes mistakenly assume that money or benefits are more meaningful than fair and decent treatment.
  • The benefits of fairness aren’t always obvious or tangible.
  • It often seems easier to avoid uncomfortable situations.
Ultimately, each employee decides for him- or herself whether a decision has been made fairly. But broadly speaking, there are three drivers of fair process (expanded to the right).
  1. Employee Perceptions
  2. Employee Input in Decision Making
  3. Leader Behaviors

A comprehensive personnel policy manual that is reviewed and updated as necessary on an annual basis is a must for every organization large or small. More importantly the policies in the manual must be strictly adhered to by all irrespective of title and level within the organization. Where appropriate, make very clear who the policy applies to and to whom it does not; for example, identify what level of staff are allowed to telecommute. The personnel manual MUST include these basic policies:
  1. EEO Policy
  2. Introductory Period
  3. Performance Evaluation 
  4. Timekeeping
  5. Confidentiality
  6. Employee Concerns
  7. Disciplinary Process
  8. Harassment and Sexual Harassment
  9. Employee Benefits (Vacation, Holidays, Pay Practices, Pay Dates)
Refer to CRE’s sample personnel manual for more information.

Another way to ensure fair process is to handle employee concerns and grievances in a timely and consistent manner. Here are some tips:
  • Encourage open communication 
  • Outline a process for resolving employee concerns in your manual and adhere to it
  • Be prompt, responsive and consistent
  • Train managers and supervisors on the process
  • Communicate the process to staff
  • Provide staff with an alternative contact to their direct supervisor 
  • Include a process for appealing disciplinary decisions
There is a moral imperative for organizations to practice fair process. It is, simply put, the right thing to do. As such, fair process is the responsibility of all managers, at all levels, and in all functions. A manager must minimize the costs of decisions that might threaten employees and maximize the benefits of decisions that may be sources of opportunity for them. In both instances, practicing fair process will help get you there.

Previous blog posts in the HR Without HR Series:
HR Without HR
HR Without HR, Part 2: Tips For Recruiting and Retaining Qualified Staff
HR Without HR, Part 3: Putting the Right People in the Right Place Doing the Right Things


For more information on CRE's Human Resources services, please follow this link.

Find us on:  CRE on Twitter CRE on Facebook  

News and Views

Tags

Useful Links evaluation Jean Lobell Government Updates publications media New York Times foundations Needs Assessment Nonprofit News Nonprofit Sustainability Stanford Social Innovation Review CRE News board and staff relations I.T. without I.T. New York Community Trust Karen Erdos Data Starved Governance as Leadership Sector Research Louisa Hackett CRE POV nonprofit management Barbara Blumenthal Barbara Turk RFP House Party hard times Funding Updates Interns Hurricane Sandy Mohan Sikka cre tips Fran's Corner Ximena Rua-Merkin Alliance for Nonprofit Management National Committee of Responsive Philanthropy Government News Ero Gray capacity building Jeff Ballow What is Core? Daring to Lead fundraising Coaching proposal writing grantmakers for effective organizations nonprofit start-ups rockaways Advocacy Huffington Post Featured Items NYS Budget Randall Quan Board of Directors Bill Ryan Rashid Littlejohn community queens Holly Delany Cole IT Albany arts board leadership Nonprofit staff civic engagement case statement Rona Taylor Nonprofit Quarterly New York City Government CRE Tips 30th Anniversary NYCCCOC bookkeeping Beth Kobliner harvard business school jobs generative accountability record keeping internal controls Client News executive transition nonprofit ownership Pavitra Menon leadership Peter Block Philanthropic Collaborative Development Survey Maria Mottola nonprofit accountability Neighborhood Based Capacity Building Initiative Valyrie Laedlein United Way of NYC Fran Barrett Pamela Dicent lower Manhattan strategic alliances website, resources, announcements postponed event CRE Executive Search Nonprofit Tools MAC AIDS Fund President Obama Harvard Kennedy School HIV/AIDS services providers collaborations computers nonprofit mergers grantmakers Mark Light New York Data executive New York Foundation mergers announcment Michael Hickey National and Community Service Volunteers HR Without HR government nonprofit leaders guest blogger handling the unexpected