Understaffing is the lack of enough workers in an organization in order to efficiently attend to regular workload (Meier & Stutzer, 2007). There are various factors that can contribute to understaffing in an organization.
Lack of Suitable and Professional Workers in the IT field. Online and broadcasting work needs employees who are well trained in information and technology (Abdel-Kader, 2011). Online University broadcasting requires competent trainees in the IT field. Therefore, lack of professionals and competent employees in the IT industry may lead to understaffing in the Online University where IT skills are applied. Such shortages could have led the Online University to absorb volunteers and equip them with the broadcasting knowledge to fill this gap.
Budgetary Constraints. Paying salary for working personnel is one of the prime expenses for any organization and business enterprises that aim at maximizing their output and realizing their objectives (Liao-Troth, 2008). It is not unusual for managers to make cuts in this, area while trying to balance their budgets. When the workers’ wage is cut so as to meet other operational costs, organizations are likely to register high rates of the employee turnover (Liao-Troth, 2008). Managers or business owners sometimes presume that reducing or limiting workers’ pay is one way of saving money. This, however, works frequently against the employee retention capacity of organizations.
Lack of Incentives. Most employees work best in organizations where there are incentives. Incentives always boost the worker’s morale. Employees can be rewarded through various ways. For example, gift offering to employees, gradual increase of their wages, providing health services to workers and their families among other welfare programs such as education kits for employee dependants (Meier & Stutzer, 2007). An organization can also promote workers by organizing training programs. In work places where incentives are not offered, workers may search for better places. Therefore, the abovementioned incentives might have been missing or not effective at all at the Online University and could have contributed to the current human resource crisis.
Poor Management/ Poor Leadership Style. Employees play a critical role in an organization and determine the success of any organization. With efficient management and leadership in place, employees become great assets of an organization (Abdel-Kader, 2011). Poor management and leadership style often translate to the employee turnover or un-productivity. This is likely to affect the overall efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery as employees quit and are not replaced; thus, they leave behind a heavy workload on just few de-motivated staff (Liao-Troth, 2008). These practices can force other workers to quit their jobs and look for alternative employment opportunities, where they are rewarded and work under supportive working conditions.
Lack of the proper management easily translates into failure to fully and effectively address the grievances and issues affecting volunteers. Other causes of understaffing can also be long term illnesses of employees, working conditions, downsizing of the company and higher rate of retirements.
Discuss the importance of a compatible leadership style to motivate and manage a volunteer staff. Compatible leadership is a type of leadership style that brings together both workers and their leaders. Compatible leadership encourages managers and directors to work with employees as workmates and not as bosses. It helps in bridging the gap between workers and their bosses (Liao-Troth, 2008). In addition, workers are free to discuss with their bosses the challenges relating to their work environment.
Compatible leadership style is critical for the management and retention of volunteers. One volunteer can be attached to one experienced worker or manager who will remain with him until the end of volunteering period (Liao-Troth, 2008). This makes it possible for experienced workers to develop healthy work relationship with volunteers who are then taken through the orientation program and exposed to the details of the organizational operations. This promotes the development of bonding between volunteers, other employees and management of an organization.
In addition, such programs, founded on principles of compatible leadership, are likely to give managers opportunities to have frequent interaction with volunteers (Liao-Troth, 2008). Consequently, it enables the management to know needs, progress and challenges that volunteers face in the course of their duties. Compatible leadership style does not only promote mentorship programs, but also encourages the formation of new and healthy corporate and industrial networks. The lunch session, dinners, retreats, seminars and conferences help in creating these networks and building attachments with volunteers (Meier & Stutzer, 2007).
Propose a reward system that would adequately maintain volunteer enthusiasm for these tasks. Volunteers are vital workers in any business organization. Volunteers enhance the level of productivity of an organization (Meier & Stutzer, 2007). Therefore, an organization should strive to attract, retain and maintain volunteers’ motivation and enthusiasm for work. The significance of volunteers’ enthusiasm retention lies in developing and maintaining a sense of organizational loyalty among volunteers (Meier & Stutzer, 2007).
Training is an essential factor in retaining and maintaining volunteers’ enthusiasm. Most volunteers are interested in gaining experience through training (Liao-Troth, 2008). Besides, an experienced worker may be assigned to a volunteer through mentorship programs. He or she is expected to be close to a volunteer in order to encourage volunteers to gain significant skills and experience relevant for career progression (Liao-Troth, 2008).
Organizing educational sessions with volunteers at retreats, dinners, lunch, volunteer seminars and conferences is another method through which an organization can retain volunteers. In such sessions, the role and the rights of volunteers are pointed out clearly as the management reaffirms its commitment to cater for the welfare needs of volunteers and empower them to offer competent and professional services to all clients.
When working with volunteers, it is imperative to point out what the organization will do towards meeting the welfare needs of the volunteers. It can include their daily meals, accommodation and transport. If there are stipends to be given, it should be discussed at the onset of the volunteering period. This helps in preparing volunteers psychologically on what to expect from the organization.
An immediate reward after performance of a task is also one way of retaining volunteers. This is more relevant and effective when working with young volunteers (Meier & Stutzer, 2007). Appreciating volunteers for their hard work may also boost volunteers’ morale at work. This can be done by increasing their token of appreciations. Any extra hour of service should be positively rewarded. Volunteers represent a special group of workers in an organization. Their involvement and contribution should be rewarded by certificates of appreciation, involvement and participations as proof of their service to an organization (Meier & Stutzer, 2007).
The volunteer director should focus on the emergence of new ways to evade volunteer’s burnout. This will enable volunteers not to get exhausted by their work. For example, there can be regular day-offs, retreats and meetings with volunteers from other organizations. Other actions, such as smiling, hugging and appreciating volunteers for the job well done, are small, but critical and contribute vastly towards enhancing the retention of volunteers.
Describe the appropriate communication or training program that could have alleviated part of this problem and how you would implement it in the future. The role of efficient communication and training programs in an organization that are in need of retaining their employees cannot be over-emphasized. For example, at the Online University, a new manager needs to create a volunteering department jointly with its managers in order to foresee the volunteering progress (Meier & Stutzer, 2007). Consequently, this initiative can ensure effective and smooth running of the volunteerism activities.
The most efficient strategy of enhancing volunteer spirit is to give them priorities while training them. Training and development are more specific processes that move afar from a general introduction to broadcasting. Training is about teaching specific work skills that would prepare volunteers for future responsibility (Meier & Stutzer, 2007). Such trainings should be designed in a way that they suit the needs of the volunteer, as well as the organization’s needs (Liao-Troth, 2008). Training of volunteers can boost their ego and sense of confidence, while making them willing to readily take up additional responsibilities and duties.
Training of volunteers may be formal or informal. Formal training is the training offered to the volunteers that are already in the system and have a need to increase their knowledge level about the work (Liao-Troth, 2008). Informal training may be offered to the new volunteers in the job place. Other training methods may include training through the theoretical or practical approach. The theoretical approach implies giving the volunteers notes on broadcasting skills; meanwhile, the practical approach means involving volunteers in broadcasting studio (Liao-Troth, 2008).
The training programs at the online library can be done through workshops, inviting experienced guest speakers, through role plays and simulation exercises, conferences, seminars and in service courses. Internet-based learning is more appropriate when it comes to the Online University broadcasting program (Liao-Troth, 2008).
Training alone is not enough to alleviate the volunteers’ problems. When it is coupled with volunteer performance appraisal, then it might be more effective (Liao-Troth, 2008). Volunteer performance appraisal programs enhance easy evaluation of an extra effort added by volunteers and rewarding such achievements. This might encourage and stimulate the innovation and inventions from volunteers to the advantage of the employer. However, such appraisals must be based on fairness and equality (Abdel-Kader, 2011).
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