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Dec/Jan 2008Vol. 8, No. 11Developing Organizational Effectiveness

A new report, The Organizational Effectiveness Institute: Lessons Learned in Implementing a Training Program for Human Services Leaders, examines the effectiveness of a multisession Workforce Development Institute designed by the American Public Human Services Association. The report describes the lessons learned in the process of training human services administrators to implement promising approaches to increase workforce capacity in their agencies.

The training was based on the premise that the quality of the frontline worker influences the effectiveness of the services that they deliver. To effectively perform their jobs, workers need to be well-trained and supported, have access to adequate resources, carry a reasonable workload, and be valued by their employers.

Participants were executives from nine human service agencies who met in four 2-day sessions over 13 months. After Session III, participants reported gains in such areas as human resource structure roles, performance measures, increased ownership of workforce capacity building, and worker recruitment and retention. Some of the specific activities that contributed to these successes included:

  • Engaging retired executives as low-cost or free consultants
  • Designating a staff member with a particular gift for problem-solving to serve as the human resource troubleshooter
  • Bringing program executives into quarterly human resource meetings
  • Piloting innovations in recruitment and retention and publicizing results
  • Creating and distributing an employee orientation checklist

The report was prepared by the American Public Human Services Association with support from Cornerstones for Kids. The report is available online: (PDF - 503 KB)