For more info on their passions and talents, check out our team page here.
Kierra Warren, Training Development Intern
Kierra’s a super smart and talented senior at the University of Tennessee, and will soon graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, with a focus in international human resources. Kierra hopes to be a consultant herself on day, and she’s doing all the right things to make her dreams a reality. I was curious what lessons we could learn about human resources in the business world. Here are her thoughts.
Tobi: In your exprience, what are the similarities between managing paid staff and managing volunteers, and what do you think volunteer managers can learn from well-run, cutting edge HR shops?
Kierra: As a business student with experience in both nonprofit and for-profit companies, I would definitely say that similarities lie on the fact that both employees and volunteers are human capital to the company, no matter what industry it may be. Volunteers can be as important, if not more important, than employees. That being said, volunteer managers could learn that being available for volunteers, as much as HR managers are there for employees, is critical. For instance, many employers offer career coaches that help guide employees into the ideal position. If volunteer managers guide volunteers toward their goal -- whether it be hours toward a certain credit or experience in a potential field -- retaining volunteers would not be as much of an issue as it appears to be in some organizations. This is because by helping the volunteer achieve, a two-way relationship is created.
Liz Tredennick, Training Subject Matter Expert
Liz joins us from her virtual office, in Denver, Colorado. She has had extensive experience working with skilled-volunteers to provide Medicare counseling to seniors and people with disabilities. Liz has had the opportunity to train a number of new volunteers over the years, and gets high marks from them for her ability to make a connection. I wondered what words of wisdom she could share about keeping highly-skilled volunteers motivated.
Tobi: You’ve trained hundreds of volunteers and work along side them often. What types of experiences do you think today's highly-skilled volunteers are looking for, and how can we keep them happy?
Liz: Volunteers want meaningful work – making a difference in people’s lives. State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) volunteers do that [Note: SHIP volunteers help Medicare patients and their families understand complex insurance choices]. They get their satisfaction from helping people understand Medicare, make good choices, avoid problems, and resolve issues. It’s the “thank you” and the “I couldn’t have figured it out without your help” and all the other phrases of gratitude that keep the SHIP volunteers motivated. The variety of questions and situations give them new challenges each day. There is so much to learn that there never is a dull moment, and the phone never stops ringing. Volunteers are busy, productive, and essential to these programs, and that’s what keeps them coming back.
What great advice from two savvy women!
Photos: Kierra Warren (top), Liz Tredennick (bottom)