People Who Need People

A SOURCE for Tools, Advice, and Training to control risks… so you can Focus on your Nonprofit’s mission.

June 29, 2011

People Who Need People

By Melanie Lockwood Herman

Without people the mission of your nonprofit is all promise and no action. As a result, you’re probably well aware of the importance of effective screening, selection, orientation, and performance management. But with so much at stake—from your nonprofit’s reputation to the safety of dedicated caregivers and vulnerable clients—have you ever wondered why there isn’t a proven “system” for getting human resources “right”? The search for a “system” that produces compassionate workers who consistently exercise stellar judgment may be somewhat, if not wholly unrealistic. Perhaps in the real world of a dynamic nonprofit organization effective human resources management requires more artistic flair than systems thinking. Instead of looking for tools in the “cloud” you might be better served by tapping into your uniquely human talents. Potentially invaluable skills for managing human resource risks include: the capacity to create new approaches to address long-standing problems, the ability to adapt to constantly changing circumstances, and the commitment to prepare for a wide range of never-before-experienced possibilities.

At this year’s Risk Management and Finance Summit for Nonprofits, the topic of Human Resources is front and center. Throughout the conference program, we’ll explore a number of critical challenges and explore practical ways to address the risks that arise from human behavior (and misbehavior) in the workplace. You’ll learn how to harness qualitative skills that artists routinely use but business leaders too often discount in a memorable keynote presentation by Hilary Austen, author of Artistry Unleashed. Every Summit registrant will receive a complimentary copy of Artistry Unleashed, a fascinating new book about the link between qualitative skills and great performance.

Featured workshops in this year’s HR track include:

  • He Said, She Said: Managing Workplace Disputes
  • Why Can’t We All Get Along? Managing a Multi-Generational Workforce
  • Alert at the Wheel: Driving Success Through Performance Management
  • We’re All Human: Human Behavior and Risk Management
  • What You Don’t Know Could Hurt: Federal and State Employment Law Update

The 2011 Summit offers a unique opportunity to explore the nuanced world of human resource management in the nonprofit sector. If your nonprofit needs people to survive and thrive, but you’re not feeling like the “luckiest” person in the world… plan to join nonprofit sector leaders for an informative and inspiring look at risk and reward arising from your human assets this September 18-20 in Seattle. Register early to take advantage of our early-bird rates, which expire on 7/31/2011.

Melanie Lockwood Herman is Executive Director of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center. She welcomes your questions about managing human resource risk, feedback on this article and questions about the Center’s resources at or (202) 785-3891. The Center provides risk management tools and resources at www. and offers consulting assistance to organizations unwilling to leave their missions to chance. Learn more about the Center’s resources in the area of human resources risk here.


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