NGOs face numerous challenges with regards to human resource management (HRM). The need to ensure that the legal obligations by both employer and employee are adhered to is very neatly regulated by numerous statutory requirements, which can be easily sourced via the Department of Labour's website.
However, for many activists working in the sector, the cold logic of the legal system offers little guidance when it comes to the actual reality of dealing with flesh and blood humanity, with all its complexities and challenges.
New Management Practices
Furthermore, there are a number of new organisational developments and shifting economic trends, which impose upon the often unwilling NGO manager a range of new management approaches that are at odds with both their intrinsic sense of compassion and fairness as well as the values base that drives the NGO sector.
Weighed against this desire to be sensitive to the many dimensions of each employee's life, is the fact that there are some employees who do not reciprocate in a similar fashion and choose rather to exploit any opportunity to serve their own interests. The legal instruments for remedying this situation are simple enough. However, the repercussions in terms of staff morale and the consequences resulting from the unnecessary amount of time spent in meetings, trying to resolve such disputes, can be far less simple to deal with.
Finally, there is the case of volunteer workers. Such people also need to be "managed" effectively and given the opportunity to direct their energies in a way that can be rewarding for both parties. Again, this is another area requiring further investigation by the NGO sector so that new ideas are shared and successful approaches can be adopted.
HRM Toolkit for NGOs
The SANGONeT Management Toolkit has dedicated a section to Human Resource Management for the NGO sector. This section does not aim to prescribe to the sector, but rather to stimulate discussion and raise questions about the HRM techniques and approaches that dominate the sector at any point in time so that new and alternate methods evolve, which do not necessarily echo the trends taking place in the corporate or public sectors.
Visit the Human Resources Management section of the SANGONeT website to find out more.