The Tale of the Tape: What Gets Measured, Gets Done

Posted on December 1, 2014. Filed under: Assessment, Data, Evaluation, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Imagine for a moment that you set a goal to lose some weight. Assuming that you even needed to shed a few pounds (more on this in a moment), you’d probably weigh yourself to determine a starting point, and choose a weight-loss goal for yourself to reach within a certain period of time. For the sake of example, let’s say that you plan to loose 20 pounds in 12 months. Now suppose that you had no plan in place for achieving your weight-loss target (such as a change in diet or more exercise). Then imagine that after the initial weigh-in, you went the entire year without getting on the scale to gage your progress.  Sounds impractical, right? But that’s exactly what takes place in many organizations from year to year, with no real movement toward achieving goals.

You’ll remember that in our scenario, we set out to loose 20 pounds over the course of a year. At face value, this seems very reasonable. As a personal goal, it may have resulted from a physician’s recommendation, or we may be looking to improve our health, lifestyle, or appearance. It would be very unlikely, however, that our doctor would recommend that every patient lose 20 pounds. And, it would be equally unlikely for every patient to want (or need) to lose that amount. This is true in business as well, where annual goals should emerge from clearly defined directives or organizational-specific needs, rather than from perceived trends or guess-work. Not every workplace will need to set yearly goals for diversity, engagement, or client satisfaction. However, a few key questions prior to goal-setting should include:

  • Is the goal consistent with an organizational vision or mission?
  • Has a Board directive identified the goal as a priority?
  • Is there data to support the scope and nature of the goal?
  • How will success be defined?

Assuming the goal is a step in the right direction, a plan should then include periodic checkpoints to measure progress. This is an opportunity to conduct a formative assessment in order to determine if adjustments to the strategies for achieving a goal need to be made. At this point, it may be time to refine the plan, but not the goal.

At the end of the time allotted to achieve the goal, a summative assessment is conducted. This will measure the extent to which the goal was achieved. Returning to the weight-loss plan, we can claim success if 20 or more pounds were lost, and we can set a new goal to lose more next year, or to maintain last year’s target weight. However, we can still find value in the process if we fell short of the goal. This value exists in knowing where we want to be, how we plan to get there (following some adjustments), and how we’ll eventually know when we’re “done.”

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Posted on September 23, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

PitFALLs, ShortFALLs, and DownFALLs

The beginning of fall, for many organizations, signals the kick-off of new activities, capital campaigns, and budget cycles, The autumnal equinox brings the fall season to the Northern Hemisphere on: September 22 at 10:29 P.M. EDT. At HR4non-profits, we’re beginning again too, by revitalizing our blog.
Over the next weeks and months, we’ll explore many of the most relevant HR training services offered through HR4non-profits, all designed to assist you with your organizational needs. We’ll present topics by series including: The Core, Compliance, Communication, Customer Service, Career Essentials, Critical Trends, Leadership Competencies, and Confidential (a series for executive leadership). We’ll blog about some of the most common pitfalls, shortfalls, and downfalls that adversely affect your organization’s culture, performance, and mission. And on a more positive note, we’ll show you how to enhance, increase, and improve your programs and services. For a sneak preview of topics within each series, please feel free to visit our website.

As a non-profit or government client, you’ll benefit from a vast array of service offerings developed during 30+ years in the HR industry. We also hope you’ll visit us online to see what former clients have to say about our training and management services, and to learn why we are known as a full-service HR partner. In the meantime, Happy Fall!

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A Blog About Breast Cancer

Posted on August 6, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This is not my usual bubbly blog so be warned. As mentioned in my previous blog, HR4NONPROFITS has been working alongside Roseland Community Hospital in trying to obtain a digital mammography machine for the hospital.

Just a few days ago, my neighbor and very good friend, Kim, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She mentioned how her doctor performed a typical exam, during which the doctor did not detect any signs of breast cancer. Fortunately, Kim was due to have a mammogram screening, which did detect the cancer. While it is unfortunate that she experiences the harsh reality of having cancer, luckily, she had a mammogram screening that was able to detect the cancer early.  Thus, she can begin treatment right away as opposed to not knowing, which allows the cancer to spread. Similar to this instance, there are many more in which digital mammography machines help to detect cancer that may have gone otherwise unnoticed and undiagnosed.

According to breastcancer.org, “mammograms have been shown to lower the risk of dying from breast cancer by 35% in women over the age of 50.” Since mammograms allow for breast cancer to be both detected and treated earlier, women are more likely to be able to keep their breasts and avoid resorting to localized breast removal, also known as mastectomy.

It is crucial for Roseland to obtain this machine and help to prevent breast cancer from occurring within the Chicago communities. Death rates due to breast cancer are two times higher in Chicago than in New York City. Also, Chicago lacks quality institutions to provide routine screening. New York has 11 safety-net institutions to provide screening services, whereas Chicago has only one. Doctors at the University of Illinois at Chicago believe that Chicago’s South Side has a lack of overall preventative measures that should be taken, such as routine checks and the equipment. They believe that more hospitals located in the South Side communities need to be equipped with mammography equipment especially since there is such a strong presence of breast cancer in Chicago. Clearly, it is vital for Roseland to have this machine. If Roseland Community Hospital has this equipment, it can perform mammograms on its patients and help to prevent breast cancer and treat it earlier.

Furthermore, the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the American College of Radiology now recommend annual mammograms for women over 40. Dr. Susan Greenstein, a breast cancer research expert, says, “Mammography plays a critical part in diagnosing breast cancer. In the past, we’d often find that a woman had breast cancer when she came in with a lump. Today, the cancers radiologists find on mammography are usually detected early, before they can be felt by the patient, are smaller than cancers felt by patients, and have much lower levels of lymph node involvement.”

Please help Roseland obtain this mammography machine by donating and spreading the word!

For more information on breast cancer, mammograms, and advice, visit: http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/types/mammograms/benefits_risks.jsp

Also, for information on Roseland and donating, call the HR4NON-PROFITS team at 630.830.4443 or visit our website at www.hr4nonprofits.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Alyssa Zavislak

Cornell College

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Internship: Moving Forward With Roseland

Posted on July 18, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

These past few weeks the intern team at HR4Non-Profits has been brainstorming ideas to help out Roseland Community Hospital.

Although Roseland Hospital is rated in the top 5% for pulmonary care in America and has been recognized for its medical services, it still struggles to obtain a mammography machine, which would allow doctors to detect the early signs of breast cancer in both men and women.  Since Roseland Community Hospital is the only hospital in a 7-mile radius, the lives of women in Roseland, Pullman, West Pullman, and Washington Heights communities may depend on this piece of equipment.

The current goal is to raise $250,000 to purchase a digital mammography machine, and ultimately prevent severe cases of breast cancer from occurring within the community. In order to help accomplish certain goals, it is important to reach out to different businesses and organizations and ask for donations. Some organizations specifically spell out in their websites types of projects they donate towards. These projects range from mentoring programs for women to machines that would benefit hospitals. Either way, this internship has taught me how crucial it is to network and build upon that network in order to reach goals and move forward.

For more information on Roseland and fundraising, call the HR4NON-PROFITS team 630.830.4443 or visit our website at http://www.hr4nonprofits.com

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Alyssa Zavislak

Cornell College

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Internship: Have A Game Plan!

Posted on July 9, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This past weekend, HR4Non-Profits volunteered at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. We helped organize canned goods in the warehouse section of the organization. Although there was no air conditioning, it was amazing to see how fast and efficient people worked and how some local Chicagoans dedicated time every week towards volunteering at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. It was an amazing experience and I look forward to the next volunteer opportunity we have in Chicago.

In addition to weekly volunteering, I have been interviewing various CEOs, Presidents, and Chief of Staffs of both small and larger companies worldwide. It’s interesting to see how various companies have adopted and implemented new approaches after the economic recession and how much strategic planning plays a role in every business. With so many economic obstacles and future uncertainties, it is vital for companies, regardless of size, to have a future plan extending beyond ten years.

Interviewing companies on post-recession strategies and leadership allows HR4Non-Profits to review these best practices and potentially feature these businesses in our monthly newsletter. The questionnaire is comprised of the following:

1. Has your company adopted new approaches or changes in its approaches since the economic downturn?

2. What are the main obstacles that businesses face in their first years?

3. How does your company measure success?

4. What would you say is the most important ability a leader should have?

5. How do you set up future goals for the organization and how do you measure if the organization is moving towards those goals?

If you would like to answer these questions and be featured in our newsletter, please e-mail me at azavislak@hr4nonprofits.com

For information on strategic planning and more, call the HR4NON-PROFITS team at  630.830.4443 or visit our website at www.hr4nonprofits.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Alyssa Zavislak

Cornell College

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Internship: Small Steps

Posted on July 2, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This week has been especially exciting since we are seeing some of the projects come together, forcing me to reflect on this month’s internship experience. After just a month’s time, it’s amazing to see the progress the company has made and how much we’ve grown individually and as a team.

Individually, I see how I’ve completed certain projects like newsletters and feel proud to what I’ve completed thus far. As a team, I’m amazed at how communication within the interns has improved and at the innovative ideas people bring to the table and bounce off one another. Now that a month has gone by, we can see how certain projects have been completed while others are still in the making.

As a team, we have been working on fundraising ideas for the Roseland Community Hospital, a hospital lacking mammogram technology to adequately detect and address breast cancer in patients. It was exciting to see our intern team brainstorm ideas and compile a list of fundraising initiatives and a comprehensive timeline to follow in order to get this fundraiser up and running.

Additionally, Phyllis, an intern from Northwestern University, has been working on a new commercial for HR4Non-Profits. This commercial integrates the values of HR4Non-Profits along with how the company has lowered cost and improved efficiency for non-profit organizations. The commercial is still a work in progress so it will be interesting to see how the final product will look.

Generally, it’s exciting to see where these projects are going and how we are making progress. While the projects I work on have incremental steps to completion, social, economic, and political change also takes small steps.

For information on Roseland Hospital and much more, call the HR4NON-PROFITS team at  630.830.4443 or visit our website at www.hr4nonprofits.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. 

Alyssa Zavislak

Cornell College

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Internship: Behind The Scenes!

Posted on June 25, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Today, HR4Non-Profits volunteered with Global Explorers Kids. Global Explorers Kids is a non-profit organization that establishes after school art education programs to children and youth typically from low-income communities. The organization seeks to integrate art and culture through educating children about cultural traditions and practices around the globe. From this, Global Explorers Kids fosters tolerance, peace, and acceptance of other countries and cultural traditions. This organization has also assisted other non-profits, like All About Kids Learning Academy, in which Global Explorers Kids brought their own funding to aid the organization.

Working alongside the HR4Non-Profits team, we assisted Global Explorers Kids by establishing a curriculum base for incoming teachers to familiarize themselves with and utilize within the classroom. The curriculum centered on art activities that are representative of other cultures. Some of the activities, like mask crafting, reminded me of high school Spanish class when we’d celebrate the Mexican holiday, Dia De Los Muertos, and create Halloween-type masks.

Working alongside the HR4Non-Profits team, we assisted Global Explorers Kids by establishing a curriculum base for incoming teachers to familiarize themselves with and utilize within the classroom. The curriculum centered on art activities that are representative of other cultures. Some of the activities, like mask crafting, reminded me of high school Spanish class when we’d celebrate the Mexican holiday, Dia De Los Muertos, and create Halloween-type masks.

In addition to coordinating a curriculum, the team and I also researched grant funding opportunities for Global Explorers Kids so the organization can keep their afterschool arts education program up and running. It is important for non-profits to receive outside help from various foundations so they can expand their non-profit organization and further progress.

Thus far, I’m enjoying my time interning at HR4Non-Profits. I feel as though I’m helping humanity by uncovering the harsh realities that face poverty-stricken Chicago communities while simultaneously trying to solve them. I enjoy working alongside the HR4Non-Profits staff. Everyone is extremely resourceful and team-driven, two very essential aspects to having a successful organization.

For information on grant writing/funding and much more, call the HR4NON-PROFITS team at  630.830.4443 or visit our website at www.hr4nonprofits.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Also for more information on Global Explorers Kids, visit their website  http://globalexplorerskids.org/


Alyssa Zavislak

Cornell College

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2nd Week Complete!

Posted on June 18, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This second week has been both eventful and exciting. Myself, along with a few other interns, engaged in a lot of research centered on common illnesses within the far south side of Chicago. We looked at how citizens in the south side areas of Chicago, such as Roseland and Riverdale, lack the adequate resources for quality healthcare.  I found myself engrossed with this research and constantly discovering new statistics that put this harsh reality in perspective for these south side citizens. These harsh problems range from a lack of transportation to a lack of quality grocery stores within these neighborhoods.

Being from the middle-class suburbs of Chicago, it’s difficult for me to imagine not having access or a means to travel to a local grocery store, such as Jewel or Dominick’s. For me, these exist on every main street and are visible in every town. From doing this research, it’s easy to assume that such issues arise due to an overall height in poverty. However, if you look more closely, you will find that such issues arise because of a multitude of things within such communities, such as infrastructural problems or less informative knowledge regarding common illnesses like diabetes and breast cancer.

Poverty is used as this umbrella term to describe poorer and less developed communities. However, poverty is both a cause and effect for many issues that communities are burdened with and I think people often fail to recognize that. From doing this research on central issues within Chicago’s south side, it’s evident that poverty is a result from what the south side communities lack as well as a cause that keeps the communities from obtaining resources to solve the many problems that exist. I hope that by doing this research and completing this internship that I will gain a better understanding of the root factors that perpetuates issues of unemployment and income disparity, just a few of the problems that are prominent in the world we live in today.

Alyssa Zavislak

Cornell College

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Posted on June 17, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Codes of ethics are underlying rules that guide the conduct of organizations, specifically the persons who are involved in the organization’s operation.  Non-profit organizations are not exempt from operating under a code of ethics.  In fact, non-profits rely so heavily on the public that a breach in trust between the organization and the public can be the death knell of the organization.  So, it is especially important that the organization have a written code of ethics in place.  But before putting pen to paper to write an organizational code of ethics, perhaps a basic understanding of a few definitions is in order.

In their book “The Ethics Challenge in Public Service,” Carol W. Lewis and Stuart C. Gilman offer several definitions that they say will help to get a clear vision of what constitutes ethical conduct.  Lewis and Gilman start by defining character as “a sort of internal gyroscope that helps a person distinguish right from wrong.”  Next, they define moral character as “being associated with attributes such as honesty and fidelity.”  Moral choice is described as “the simple choice between right and wrong” and moral judgments are described aswhat individuals must make when they find themselves between the rock and hard place of incongruent duties and conflicting claims — the stuff of ethical dilemmas.”  Finally, Lewis and Gilman state that ethics involves thinking systematically about morals and conduct and making moral choices about right and wrong when faced with ethical dilemmas.”

Woods Bowman, Ph.D., of DePaul University in Chicago points out that when attempting to resolve ethical dilemmas, there are a few fundamental considerations for nonprofit organizations.  Bowman states, “A nonprofit organization exits for its client group and has accountability to it; therefore, the organization has a fiduciary duty, that is, a duty of care, loyalty and obedience to its clients.  The organization also has a duty under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (http://www.sec.gov/about/laws/soa2002.pdf ) to be transparent with the public in matters of management and accounting; therefore, the organization needs to have a written policy addressing document retention and periodic destruction.  A third area that the organization must consider is compensation, particularly for persons who exercise substantial control over the organization.  And the organization must consider and ensure that officers and directors avoid conflicts of interest.  Bowman points out that “there is no law on conflicts, but the new Form 990 asks about the existence of a policy, whether directors and officers are required to disclose annually and whether the organization monitors and enforces compliance.”  “Not every ethical lapse results from evil intent.”  Nevertheless, making a choice, which happens to be unethical, is never simply harmless error.  The organization must be vigilant to do the right thing.

For information on ethics policy development and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, call the HR4NON-PROFITS team at 630.830.4443 or visit our website at http://www.hr4nonprofits.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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First Week Down!

Posted on June 12, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

This past Friday, the HR4Non-Profits team volunteered at Benton House located within the Chicagoland area. We assisted with Benton House’s food pantry which allowed us to see how non-profits work and are actively engaged within the community. It was exciting to see the impact of this community project upon the citizens of Chicago. There is a different perspective gained when you choose to volunteer as opposed to just reading about some harsh reality that a community is facing. The people at Benton House were appreciative of our dedication and look forward to volunteering with us in the future. I’m excited to continue volunteering on Fridays with the team and become acquainted with more Chicago communities and non-profit organizations.

In addition to volunteering, our team at HR4Non-Profits has been brainstorming and outlining ideas for various projects ranging from dealing with business CEOs to marketing strategies. It’s interesting to collaborate with people from various academic backgrounds and provide our input towards a diverse spectrum of projects.

Individually, I hope to learn more about the non-profit sector and also engage the public more with non-profit organizations. As a team, we hope to develop strategies, solutions, and support for non-profit organizations as well as some government institutions. I’m looking forward to being an active member and contributor to this process and to assist in the development of solutions necessary given the obstacles businesses face.

Alyssa Zavislak

Cornell College

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