Melinda White: The changing face of non-profit sector HR

HRM online


written on July 21, 2015

What are the biggest changes you have seen in your 13-year career in HR?

The integration of technology into business processes has been one of the biggest changes.  From envelopes containing an employee’s salary in the past, to staff now being able to view this information online or requesting leave or training electronically. There have been some wonderful advancements that make management [and HR] more responsive.

Tell us about some of the unique HR challenges in the non-profit sector.

Reduced capacity to pay for HR professionals means that our networks need to be stronger.  Staff in the not-for-profit sector are very passionate people and working to harness that passion in the most constructive way is extremely important.

What has been the most difficult thing you have had to deal with in your career?

Having to exit an employee who is not performing is always difficult. You know the impact that this can have on an individual and a family, and this part of the job always saddens me.

What advice would you give to a young HR practitioner entering the profession?

Make sure you understand your organisation’s purpose, core functions and key personnel first; HR comes as a very close second. Then focus on building any gaps between the two. 

What do you consider to be one of your greatest career achievements and why?

My career achievements have been cumulative allowing me to work my way up the ladder in the HR field and also in operational and service delivery roles.  These experiences have given me a comprehensive understanding of how organisations develop and how I can support them to be the best they can be.

What do you think of AHRI’s new certification framework?

I am totally supportive of the new certification framework – HR practitioners shouldn’t be exempt from professional accreditation. I’ve seen unqualified operators and the negative impact they have on organisations, so this process should keep the profession as a whole more accountable and valued for their advice and practices.

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