The Online University has recently set up a broadcasting station that has to be staffed with any volunteers that exist because it cannot afford to hire staff. The volunteers were trained for various positions in the job upon being selected. However, the program’s director at the station did not have an effective leadership style and did not bother to motivate or reward the volunteers. In turn, the volunteers quit their jobs because they could not tolerate him. In addition, for a period of nine months, the station did not have a program director. A new program director was hired and the volunteers could not tolerate him owing to his leadership style. Therefore, the volunteers resigned and the station was not in operation because of lack of staff. There is a need to solve the staffing and leadership issues at the broadcasting station as soon as possible.
The Online University has a problem of understaffing, which needs to be addressed in the best way possible. The problem of inadequate staffing is the main contributor of job-related stress and this leads to employee turnover. Employees who work in organizations that are understaffed usually lack any sense of control because their workload is increasing. In such a hectic environment, it is most likely that there will be poor work output and this can cause problems to the whole university. Some of the reasons why organizations are understaffed include budget take-backs, hiring freezes, workforce downsizing, and voluntary termination (Martin & Whiting, 2010). In the case of the Online University, the reason why it is understaffed is because of budget restraints. Understaffing makes it difficult for the volunteers at the broadcasting station to meet their goals. They will have a huge workload and this means that their responsibilities also increases. The volunteers in the various broadcasting departments have to deal with the stress associated with understaffing.
It is highly recommended that the staffing issue receives prompt remedial actions before it leads to further problems at the station. The human resource manager needs to ensure that appropriate behaviors and talents are hired upon being identified. Stress levels also have to be managed and one way to do this is by having luncheons for all the broadcasting station staff. In addition, the reason as to why the volunteers are leaving the organization needs to be known. This will facilitate the development of a retention plan that focuses on communication and career development. Lastly, the staff needs constant updated information about the most appropriate staffing levels ratio. Human capital needs to be optimized, as it will assist in improving operational and financial predictability, as well as staff deployment activities (Mc Curley & Lynch, 2006). Therefore, the advantage of optimization is its capacity to alleviate employees’ mental and physical stress. It is a known fact that happy workers show their satisfaction in their job performance.
Volunteer labor is a key part of the American workforce that is increasingly being embraced by a number of individuals. People are now aware that they can donate their expertise and time to various work places. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 63.4 million individuals are active volunteers. Volunteers, just like people who are paid, need some form of leadership so that they can perform to their optimum level. Since volunteers tend not to be paid, it requires a manager to have special knowledge in order to find out what can reward and motivate them. If volunteers are not efficiently managed, volunteer retention will not be possible.
A 2004 Urban Institute study found out that in every five charitable organizations, four of them tend to use the services of volunteers. However, only three of the charitable organizations employ the services of a professional manager that deals with volunteers. The person is responsible for providing leadership to the critical work force that is unpaid. When volunteers believe that they are wanted and needed, they will feel more connected to the organization and this will boost the organization’s productivity for a long time. There are times when the volunteers will lose interest in their work unlike employees, who cannot leave because of the salary that they are entitled to receive (Sunny, 2010).
Volunteers should be compensated in various ways in order to ensure that they are emotionally invested to achieve the organization’s success. The most compelling and easiest way to compel them is to connect the organization’s mission with the volunteers. Volunteers should not be relegated to do the lowest work available, but gain access to other exciting tasks (Sunny, 2010). For example, delegate one of the volunteer staff to conduct a discussion forum whereby people can talk about interesting topics. The moment volunteers start to participate in the organization’s real work, they will keep volunteering and be more invested.
Volunteers should be enabled to share their expertise and interests as this prove that they are valued. Most of the population from the baby boomers is now retiring and leadership talent and skills is needed in the sector of volunteering. People from this generation are in search of permanent professional employment; hence employ their talents and skills in every volunteer work they handle. Organizations always want to retain and attract skilled volunteers depending on their work descriptions or preference (Meier, 2008). It is vital to match the volunteers’ unique talents so that they can work for an organization. A significant difference exists between having a committed and strong volunteer work force and having people who handle the made-up jobs.
Volunteers deserve to be rewarded for all their hard work. This will help them achieve a sense of fulfillment and pride, and therefore continue volunteering. Through demonstrating the value volunteers have, the volunteers as well as other people working with them will be pleased. Furthermore, it will help in maintaining an ever-thriving organization volunteer program. Volunteers usually do not give their spare time in any job in an attempt to gain accolades. Therefore, they should be shown some form of understanding and appreciation for the sacrifices that they make (Sunny, 2010). They seek to improve the work that goes on at the organization and this creates a sense of belonging. The result is that volunteers are encouraged to maintain the connection they have with the group.
The value of volunteers can be recognized by including them in the various on goings at the organization. For example, this can be achieved through seriously taking in their input and even inviting them to attend staff meetings. Another way of making volunteers feel attached, needed, and special is by including them in the award ceremonies taking place at the organization. Motivation is the main ingredient that drives volunteer retention. Motivation starts from the time the volunteers associates themselves and continues to stay in the organization. The details concerning the work to be done should be communicated fully and the volunteers should have an opportunity of checking the background details (Sunny, 2010). This will inspire the volunteers to develop an attachment to the work that they are doing and this is even before the project begins. They will also remain optimistic, perform their duties well, and show up to work on time because of the exciting volunteer opportunity.
The problem concerning volunteers at the Online University would not have existed if the right training was provided to the volunteers. During orientation, the volunteers should have been given instructions regarding their specific training and duties, as well as other issues existing at the broadcasting station. A staff member or a volunteer mentor should have been designated as the individual who would provide guidance to the new volunteers (Winfield, 2000). This would have helped them become familiar with their duties as well as other things taking place at the university. The volunteers should have received a form of training, and in this case, it would have been a practical training. This would have given the university an opportunity to share all kinds of information with the volunteers. In addition, it would have provided an opportunity for all the communicated information to be reviewed. Lastly, this would have been an opportunity to ensure that any bad habits or practices would not occur in the future. This means that all the volunteers would comply with the procedures and policies of the organizations.
The Online University needs to make some changes in the manner in which it deal with volunteers. Since the institution has budget concerns and cannot afford to employ employees, it should have a high regard for the volunteers. The volunteers should be given an orientation upon being selected to work at the broadcasting station. The volunteers need an adequate orientation that fit their needs. For example, during orientation, they should review the handbook, the organization’s strategic goals and missions, as well as the brief history of the Online University. Additionally, the orientation should ensure that the volunteers appreciate their roles in the station as well as how they fit into its mission and organizational structure. Depending on the department where the volunteer will work, they should receive tailor-made training. The person in charge of the volunteers should ensure that the training programs are effective. The training program should be updated and appropriate changes made to them to keep up with the ever-changing needs of the volunteer. Lastly, the volunteers should be supervised so that their progress and attitude is monitored. In case of any concerns, the volunteer should be able to let the person in charge know about any problems facing them at the work place (Sunny, 2010).
The Online University should be thankful that it possesses the capacity to attract volunteers who want to work at its broadcasting station. Volunteers are people who offer their services and time without asking for anything in return. Most of them have valuable talents and skills, which can add value to an organization. They should then be viewed as assets to the organization, who deserves to be treated well. Volunteers should be rewarded in any way that is possible in order for them to feel appreciated. Indeed, the Online University should find ways of retaining and attracting more volunteers to work at the broadcasting station.
Martin, M. & Whiting, F. (2010). Human Resource Practice. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
Mc Curley, S. & Lynch, R. (2006). Volunteer Management. New York: Pearson.
Meier, S. (2008).Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself? Economica, 75, 291, 39-59.
Sunny, F. (2010). 365 Ideas for Recruiting, Retaining, Motivating and Rewarding Your Volunteers: A Complete Guide for Non-Profit Organizations. Boston: Atlantic Publishing Company.
Winfield, M. (2000). The Essential Volunteer Handbook. New York: Friesen Press.
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