A Fundamental Impact

Clayton Robins knew the change was coming, but that didn’t make it any easier.

“The Department of Agriculture transferred some responsibilities to us a couple of years ago,” says Robins, Executive Director of the Manitoba 4-H Council in Brandon. “We knew it was coming and we had time to plan, but when your staff grows from two people to seven people in under two years, it’s a big change.”

Robins suddenly found himself spending far more time on human resources issues than ever before. “We needed some help in understanding how to manage the people in our organization,” he says. “We absolutely needed to spend more time on HR and I wanted to learn how to use that time effectively.”

So, Robins and his Office Manager enrolled in the Brandon session of the Fundamentals of Human Resources course offered by the Manitoba Federation of Non-Profit Organizations. The course is a recurring six-module program that has been delivered to full houses in Winnipeg, Brandon, and Thompson. It will be offered again in Winnipeg in January 2018, and in Brandon over three days in January–March.

For Robins, the course helped him advance HR practice at 4-H almost immediately, particularly around the issues of employee evaluation and conflict management. “The course was great. The instructor (Janice Goldsborough) welcomed questions and dialogue,” says Robins. “Much of the learning was peer-to-peer and now I feel I have a network down the road.”

John Hutton had a similar reaction to the course he took in Winnipeg in 2016.

“At a small agency like ours, there isn’t a separate person handling HR. That falls to me,” says Hutton, the Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Manitoba. “I’ve never had any HR training, so the course helped me clarify and sharpen some of the HR things we’ve been doing.”

Hutton, who oversees a staff of 20, says that where he felt an immediate impact was in the area of developing human resources policies for his agency. “It was a structured learning environment with opportunities for free-flowing dialogue and informal learning,” says Hutton. “I learned how to write some very coherent policy.”

Registration for the January 2018 course in Winnipeg  and the January–March course in Brandon is underway and only a few spots remain. The fee is $300 per person and registration is capped at 25 participants.

“Small organizations like ours are under pressure so it’s really nice to have resources like this available at an affordable rate,” says Hutton. “I like that it is professionally facilitated and aimed specifically at the non-profit sector.”

Fundamentals of Human Resources is based on materials originally produced by the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector, work that is now housed within Community Foundations of Canada. MFNPO and Community Foundations of Canada are collaborating as partners in this initiative in Manitoba.

The six modules that comprise the course are: Policy Framework and Employment Legislation; Getting the Right People; Managing People and their Work; Health and Safety – Workplaces that Work; Training, Learning, and Development; and HR Planning and Wrap-up. The course will be held on January 10, 11, and 12, with two modules covered per day.

Learn more about the program and registration on the MFNPO website.