Importance of Human Resource Management for Nonprofits

Teamwork, nonprofitAt Kenan Foundation Asia, we greatly value our employees, and the effort they put into providing the best services to beneficiaries and in turn our partners and stakeholders. When recruiting, we look for individuals who strive to make a sustainable change for the people we serve. This is not limited to the project team who work directly with beneficiaries, but it includes staff helping to support our work, such as our Human Resource (HR) team, who all play a crucial role in ensuring we find the best talent for Kenan.

Our HR team are mindful when recruiting that a large number of people enter an academic field that is not relevant to their career, or they may switch career direction over time. It is challenging to know what qualifications we need in today’s dynamic workplace. For example, when looking for jobs, some people are drawn to opportunities in development without a degree in a particular field. Despite this, they often produce outstanding results, especially when they have a background in one of our focal areas such as education or economic development. What is the secret sauce that makes them successful in this line of work? It often depends and there is no “one size fits all”.

The essential education qualifications you can typically find at Kenan include:

  1. Graduate degree in a specialized field for the roles in HR, accountancy, education.
  2. Graduate in a related field, such as business administration, or finance.
  3. Working experience in a service-oriented role, such as software solutions, HR consultancy or business consulting, or even teaching high school science.

Even if an individual ticks all the boxes in terms of qualifications, not everyone has what it takes to be a successful development professional in the nonprofit sector; they also need some personal qualities.

In the field of teacher professional development, there are some key skills that are needed to be successful and these are important behaviors for staff looking to work in the nonprofit sector:

  1. A great deal of patience to work with teachers (some of whom have limited subject matter knowledge).
  2. A willingness to adapt and become a change leader.
  3. A passion for helping others.

Why are these values important? Patience is important as it helps Kenan understand beneficiaries’ concerns and problems a lot better, allowing the organization to improve our services. Listening to beneficiaries, and our partners, also makes them feel valued and appreciated.

It is imperative to be willing to change or adapt yourself and ready to become a change leader, to strive for personal development and drive the organization forward. If beneficiaries need motivation to develop new skills or adapt and change their behavior; they will look to Kenan colleagues for guidance and encouragement.

Finally, you must have a passion for helping others. Being able to empathize with a beneficiary, especially when they face a challenging situation to overcome is invaluable. You have to be able to understand what beneficiaries strive to achieve in order to build a positive relationship with them.

As a non-profit employee, you should be able to put yourself in the position of the beneficiary to gain a thorough understanding of their perspective. It’s important to understand how a beneficiary feels and really be able to identify with them. If you can achieve this, you’ll be able to help them. You need to be able to judge the situation and act accordingly.

If you have these behavioral strengths, a role in the nonprofit sector may be a suitable career choice for you.

Find out more about Kenan and our values, here: www.kenan-asia.org/vision-and-values

Chonticha Thomya
HR Specialist
Kenan Foundation Asia

Kenan Asia

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