The information provided in this section will provide readers with the management tools to best manage the performance of volunteers. This information will assist the reader to modernise the organisation and manage volunteers’ expectations.
The fifth step to effective volunteer management is implementing mostly ‘common sense’ people management skills.
Take the time to:
build a relationship and get to know the personalities of each volunteer;
know the volunteers’ likes and dislikes;
know the volunteers’ work and volunteer history;
understand their reasons and motivation for volunteering;
know their experience with the organisation, knowledge and other experiences; and
clarify the expectations of the organisation.
Learning about your people is an important element to effective people management and encourages team building, a sense of belonging, ownership and commitment to the organisation.
Volunteer management needs to be supported by a number of policies and procedures to protect both the individual volunteer and the organisation. The authors of this kit have already discussed four key aspects of effective volunteer management in Section 2 Recruitment, Selection and Placement and Section 3 Training.
Ensure you have familiarised yourself with the content of these sections and implemented the processes suggested. If done well, these processes will provide a sound basis for SUCCESS.
Key polices and procedures are needed to guide your organisation’s volunteer management needs. No longer can you exposure your volunteers to unnecessary harassment, abuse, assault or your organisation to legal claims due to unacceptable procedures used to deal with claims.
Therefore it is critical that your organisation have clear policies designed to support your volunteer workforce, and clear procedures to manage any breaches of such polices.
Harassment, sexual assault, abuse, and grievance management require that your organisation clearly understands its obligation under the law. To assist this understanding the authors have provided the following summary description of key infringements and the process required to best manage them.
In simplified terms, harassment, physical assault or sexual assault refers to any person who feels uncomfortable or threatened by another person’s words or actions, including sex discrimination.
Harassment is any unwelcome visual, verbal or physical conduct. It may include propositions, personal comments or innuendo, verbal or physical jokes, insults or threats.
Sexual harassment is unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature as defined by the person who is offended by the behaviour. Sexual harassment is recognised as a form of sex discrimination and is now illegal under the Anti-Discrimination Act.
Your organisation is legally required to be committed to providing an environment for all employees, volunteers, members and visitors, free from harassment, intimidation, physical and sexual assault, where each individual is treated with courtesy, dignity and sensitivity concerning their rights, including duties and aspirations.
Procedures needed to Manage Harassment Claims:
Step 1 - The authority that receives the complaint will record the incident in writing, keeping it strictly confidential and ask the person if they would like an investigation into the incident.
Step 2 - If an investigation is requested, the committee should contact the designated trained investigator familiar with reporting and investigative procedures regarding incidents of harassment (the person/s engaged for this task must be skilled to ensure your organisation is not exposed legally).
Step 3 - The appointed investigator should ensure that any allegation of harassment is resolved quickly and professionally, to the satisfaction of all parties. All reports must be strictly confidential and held by the organisation.
Step 4 - The club reserves the right to terminate the services of staff or volunteer found guilty of harassment, physical assault or sexual assault immediately. See Disciplinary Action & Dismissal for information on how to manage this process.
This refers to the opportunity for an individual to submit a complaint against another individual or the organisation in relation an issue they feel they have not received fair or appropriate treatment. A grievance procedure is a means for volunteers to resolve any complaints that may arise while performing duties for the organisation.
The complaint should be dealt with confidentially according to the Privacy Act, through the correct channels, quickly and flexibly to the reasonable satisfaction of the volunteer/s and the organisation. All volunteers should use this procedure when lodging formal complaints.
The grievance procedure applies to any matters concerning the volunteer’s role and responsibilities, workload or the behaviour of others towards an individual or group where a grievance is warranted.
Step 1 - Discuss the matter with your immediate supervisor or whoever is in charge when the grievance occurs. The grievance can be lodged verbally or in writing. Discussions should begin within 48 hours unless you agree otherwise.
Step 2 - If the grievance remains unresolved, you may refer the matter to the next level of management - your committee. The organisation will be required to consult the person with the grievance and any other party involved in an attempt to resolve the issue. Discussions should take place within seven working days unless all parties agree otherwise.
Step 3 - The Executive Officer or Committee should appoint an investigation officer with the required knowledge and skills to consider the details of the grievance. To assist an impartial investigation, the investigating officer will be a person other than the immediate supervisor. If the matter is not settled by this investigation to the satisfaction of the person lodging the grievance, independent legal advice should be sought to assess options for further action. See Hot Tips “Management and Support” for details of how to access sample grievance processes.
Only utilise personnel trained in harassment &/or grievance investigation - utilising untrained personnel could expose your organisation to legal risks.
Seek assistance from your governing body, the Australian Sports Commission or your legal representative to ensure the appropriate process is implemented.
Yes, you can discipline or dismiss volunteers! To consider dismissing a volunteer, you need to identify where the volunteer has breached the organisation’s policies, code of conduct or been unable or unwilling to fulfill the requirements of their position description. This would occur after all other honest and fair attempts to rectify the situation have failed and no resolution or agreement can be reached.
The performance and conduct of volunteers is governed by the organisation’s policies and procedures, rules, regulations, constitution, bylaws, code of conduct, volunteer agreement, position description and volunteer handbook and form the conditions of volunteer employment.
Where a volunteer fails to act within the scope of these conditions, termination of their position or disciplinary action may occur. See Hot Tips Recruitment, Selection & Placement for details on how to access samples codes of conduct, position descriptions and volunteer agreements such as task sheets. Remember, human resources are our most valuable resource so dismissal should be a last resort. Training, counselling, support and redeployment should be offered and undertaken before dismissal is carried out.
Involving an independent party may ensure that fairness and equity prevail. All disciplinary and dismissal action must be handled confidentially, according to the Privacy Act legislation and the organisation’s disciplinary, dismissal and grievance policies and procedures. See Hot Tips Management and Support for details of how to access sample disciplinary, dismissal and grievance policies and procedures.
If a volunteer is deliberately conducting themselves in direct conflict with the organisation’s policies and procedures or codes of behaviour the person should be dismissed as quickly as possible.
The person responsible for issuing the dismissal advice is required to immediately report their actions to the controlling body, providing a written statement that outlines the full details of the situation.
All dismissals should be advised verbally and in writing and result in membership privileges being revoked. Ensure that all uniform items or properties that are owned by the organisation are returned by the volunteer.
Ensure that all volunteers understand their obligations, the relevant code of conduct, roles, responsibilities, and the penalties for non compliancy.
Ensure all volunteers sign off on these obligations, codes and roles & responsibilities. This process will ensure that discipline & dismissal processes are fair and equitable.
Ensure your organisation follows clear processes - don’t make it up as you go. If you don’t have a process, check with your higher authority &/or your legal representative.
The Child Protection Act applies to all volunteers over the age of eighteen years.
The purpose of the Act is to ensure children are protected, to the best of the organisation’s abilities from verbal, physical and emotional harm or abuse, discrimination, racism, harassment, intimidation or bullying based on gender, culture, ethnicity, religion or impairment. See Section 6 “Children and Young People” for details on how your organisation can better protect junior volunteers, children and young people of your club.
Should an incident occur, the Child Protection and Privacy Act requires strict confidentiality for all parties concerned.
Second to recognition and reward, support is often where we ‘make or break’ our volunteers. This refers to the provision of meals, uniforms, reimbursement of telephone or travel costs, additional resources, future opportunities/pathways and any other support the organisation is able to provide to their volunteers to enhance their experiences while working to develop and promote the organisation.
Support also includes counselling to provide feedback on performance or clarifies roles, responsibilities and tasks to improve the volunteer’s performance in their role.
Meals & Hours of Work
The organisation should provide snack or meal breaks as required where volunteers work for longer than four consecutive hours. No volunteer should work longer than ten continuous hours (including breaks).
Uniforms can be a way of identifying those who carry levels of authority. The issuing of uniforms could be part of your reward and recognition strategy.
See Section 5 for Recognition & Reward. If a uniform is supplied it is critical that a dress code be established and adhered to, especially if it is part of your child safety strategy.
Reimbursement of Telephone & Travel Costs
Application for reimbursement of telephone and travel costs should be available for all volunteers. Payment of these costs will be equitable and based on the organisation’s reimbursement priorities, resources of the organisation and the position of the volunteer. Those volunteers incurring substantially increased telephone and/or travel costs due to the position they hold should receive highest priority.
Any volunteer may request the opportunity to discuss matters relating to their position with their direct supervisor and in turn with the management committee if required.
This request may be made verbally or in writing and the supervisor must be available within two weeks of the request to undertake this discussion. A third party may be present at these discussions at the request of the volunteer or the supervisor.
All paid and volunteer staff should be encouraged to provide support for other paid and volunteer staff within the organisation to establish a sense of belonging, build teamwork, increase motivation and commitment to each other and the organisation in an effort to enhance the voluntary experience for all involved.