Most people are familiar with the concept of human resources: it’s the department or professional responsible for taking care of the people part of an organization. It’s not unusual for nonprofit organizations to go without having someone in charge of human resources. After all, in a field where every dollar counts, having someone just to take care of the hiring and manage grievances can seem like an unnecessary expenditure.
The thing that many people don’t realize is that HR is responsible for so much more than filling positions and dealing with employee issues. And, in many cases, it’s not until you need someone with these special skills that you realize it’s a job that not just anyone can do.
But not every nonprofit has the budget for a human resources department, or even to have a full-time HR professional on staff. This is where Trestle’s HR consultants come in.
What can human resources consultants do for nonprofit organizations?
Human resources consultants are professionals who offer their specialized skills to help nonprofits with a number of different needs, such as:
- Creating employee handbooks, which include all the important information employees need to know about working at a specific organization (i.e. rules, expectations, policies, etc.)
- Writing job descriptions that accurately reflect the various positions at an organization
- Advising managers on how to deal with tricky employment issues such as conflicts or firings
- Assisting the board with hiring for executive positions
- Establishing recruitment and hiring processes
- Benefits administration
- Dealing with employee forms such as onboarding or workers compensation
- Management of employee records including best practices for maintaining employee files, which is always important for liability reasons
- Employee turnover and retention, via helping with things such as hiring, onboarding, and pay management
- Run necessary background checks for new hires
Not only does it help save you and your staff time to have someone take on these responsibilities for your organization, doing so can also help your bottom line. Human resources-related infractions can lead to hefty fines and legal costs, so it makes sense to leave the job to qualified professionals.
What kind of unique qualities can a human resources consultant bring to a nonprofit organization?
HR consultants are qualified professionals. They know their field and are well versed in the intricacies of personnel management that others in an organization may not know about or understand. Some of their skills and abilities include:
- Professional certifications
- In-depth and up-to-date knowledge about employment law and best practices
- Strong conflict resolution and negotiation skills
- Clear communication skills, including the ability to translate complex legal jargon into plain language
What are some things to look for when hiring a human resources consultant?
When you’re looking to hire an HR consultant to help with your nonprofit organization’s needs, there are a few things you’ll need to know first:
1. Do they have certifications?
This demonstrates not only their professional education and knowledge but also their proven expertise, which will benefit both your organization and its employees. Here are a few common certifications to look for:
- PHR (Professional in Human Resources)
- SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources
- SHRM – CP (Society for Human Resource Management – Certified Professional)
- SHRM-SCP (Society for Human Resource Management – Senior Certified Professional)
2. What kind of experience do they have?
Just like when you’re filling any other role in your organization, you’ll want to know that your HR consultant has a wide range of industry experience to help them fulfill their responsibilities.
3. Are they an effective communicator?
Whether it’s face to face (such as during job interviews) or written, so much of an HR consultant’s job is communicating. You’ll want to find someone who is able to convey concepts and ideas clearly and confidently.
4. Do they avoid conflict?
A tough but important part of any HR consultant’s job is mediating conflicts in the workplace. While no one enjoys dealing with conflict, someone who actively avoids will struggle in this line of work.
5. Are they empathetic?
At the end of the day, HR consultants are dealing with people. Sometimes this means coming to bat for them, and other times it means delivering bad news. In all cases, having emotional intelligence is a big part of what makes a good HR professional.
How Trestle helps nonprofit organizations fill their human resource needs
At Trestle, we have HR professionals at the ready to help nonprofits of all sizes. This includes assessing legal risk and advising nonprofits when it is appropriate to seek legal advice from an employment attorney. Because human resources cover such a wide breadth of responsibilities, our professionals do too.
Quick Case Study
One of our clients brought us on board because their employee handbook was outdated. In revising the handbook, we were able to:
Now we’re able to review the client’s handbook annually, ensuring it remains current and addresses any legal changes that occur in the industry.
Whether your nonprofit organization needs help with one task or needs a full range of services addressed, Trestle’s human resources consultants are ready to assist. Contact us today to learn more about how our people can help yours.