I was looking for something and came across the list of committees every nonprofit should have on the site Free Management Library and came across the idea of a personnel committee. The definition at the Free Management Library site is a group that, “guides development, review and authorization of personnel policies and procedures; sometimes leads evaluation of the Chief Executive; sometimes assists the CEO with leadership and management matters.”
I don’t know of many organizations with a standing personnel committee unless they are performing an executive search. Let’s face it; it is hard enough to populate the development, governance, finance, and marketing committees. But, without a personnel committee the executive director is often left on his or her own.
What does that mean? It translates to no performance evaluations for the ED. No checks and balances for the rest of the staff. And, often, no sounding board for internal personnel issues. In the absence of a personnel committee or its equivalent an executive director is often left feeling unappreciated, with no obvious path for growth. In an industry that has such a high rate of turnover, implementing this committee may offer a measure of prevention and reduce employee turnover.
It is true, that a board, as a whole, should stay at least at 10,000 feet. Surveying the overall impressions of the organization and avoiding the day-to-day issues. But, the board is also there to improve and support the organization, and, at times, fill in gaps. The personnel committee can be a support system that enhances organizational happiness, personal growth of staff as well as overall, improved productivity and satisfaction—on both sides of the constructive partnership between volunteer and professional leadership.
And a stronger staff translates to a stronger organization. And that should be the goal of everyone involved.