Human Resources

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Effective management of human resources is essential for creating successful organizational results. Nonprofit organizations should exercise fair and equitable human resource practices that attract and retain qualified individuals. Nonprofits have an obligation to adhere to all legal employment requirements and to provide a safe work environment. Nonprofit organizations should establish specific policies and practices that promote mutual cooperation to advance the organization’s interests, and that reflect appropriate industry standards for remuneration.

Infrastructure Checklist

Employment Laws & Postings

Required Compliance with Employment Laws

Yes No In Progress Not Applicable Not Sure
403b plan documentation US
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967—with 20+ employees US
All state and federal employment laws US, NE, IA
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990—with 15+ employees US
Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA—with 50+ employees (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010) US
Children under 16 posting (hours) (Neb. Rev. Stat. 48-310) NE
Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009—employers with group health plans US
Civil Rights Act of 1964—with 15+ employees US
Compensation paid is reasonable & substantiated (Internal Revenue Code §501(c) (3); 990) US
Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988—federal contractors & grantees US
Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974—with 20+ employees US
Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 US
Fair Credit Reporting Act of 2010 US
Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, including eligibility & classifications US
Federal WARN Act of 1988 Fact Sheet—with 100+ employees US
National Labor Relations Act of 1935—with 2+ employees US
Nursing mothers (Neb. L.B. 197; Iowa Code § 135.30A) NE, IA
Payroll—federal, state & local quarterly withholding/filings US, NE, IA
Privacy of Health Information—HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996) US
Recovery of overcompensation US
Sexual harassment training (with 15 employees) US
Whistleblower protection policy US

Required Employment Postings

Yes No In Progress Not Applicable Not Sure
EEOC, with ADA and GINA US, NE, IA
Emergency Phone Numbers NE
  • See Above
Employee Polygraph Protection Act Poster US
E-Verify poster (if participating in the program) US
Fair Labor Standards Act poster US, NE, IA
Family Medical Leave Act poster (with 50+ employees) US
OSHA poster US
Payday Notice NE
Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act poster US
Injury & Illness Recordkeeping Forms 300, 300A, 301 IA
Whistleblower’s Protection Act poster US

Personnel Files (for each employee)


Yes No In Progress Not Applicable Not Sure
Form I-9 (required), filed separately from other HR documentation (recommended practice) US
Immigration & Naturalization Services (INS) documentation US
Tax forms W-4, annual W-2 US, NE


Yes No In Progress Not Applicable Not Sure
Application with original employee signature
Background check documentation, if applicable
Documentation of disciplinary action signed by employee
Documentation of other conditions for employment (i.e., drug test results, certifications, etc.)
Documentation of receipt of Employee Policies & Procedures Manual
Driving records/proof of insurance (as necessary)
Emergency contact information
Hire letter or contract
Performance appraisals signed by employee
Professional development plan
Records of salary increases
Reference check documentation

Policies, Procedures, & Key Documents

Strongly Recommended

Yes No In Progress Not Applicable Not Sure
Benefits documentation
Board evaluation & review of CEO compensation and performance
Board review & approval of compensation structure
Code of ethics
Conflict of interest—including annual disclosure of relationships
Employee health care information (kept separately from personnel information)
Health, dental, vision, life insurance policies
Leave time policy—voting, military service, bereavement, jury duty, FMLA
Medical benefits continuation privileges
Nondiscrimination, diversity & harassment policy
Performance review & professional development
Position descriptions
Retain personnel files in accordance with Document Retention & Destruction Policy
Retirement policy
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid
Succession plan
Time off—holidays, vacation, sick, etc.
Workers’ compensation & unemployment insurance


Yes No In Progress Not Applicable Not Sure
Alcohol/drug-free workplace policy
Break policy, including lunch
Compensation documentation for all employees
Confidentiality/non-disclosure/non-compete policies & procedures
Disciplinary action & involuntary termination policies
Diversity plan/cultural competency
Expense reimbursement
Grievance/conflict resolution policies & procedures
Hiring & interview procedures
Inclement weather policy & procedures
Intellectual property policy
Nonsmoking policy
Office hours, work week, hours worked
Organizational chart
Orientation, training & evaluation procedures
Outside employment policy
Performance appraisal policies & procedures
Professionalism/code of conduct
Reference request policy
Return of property upon departure/termination
Review to determine that all employee interview questions are legal
Salary scales & compensation philosophy
Standards & policies for working with contractual employees & consultants—guidelines for selection, hiring & monitoring
Technology/equipment access & use policies
Travel policy
Volunteer engagement plan

Practices Assessment


No/Not Begun In Process Yes/ Complete Not Applicable Not Sure
We comply with all federal, state and local employment laws in hiring and employing personnel. US, NE, IA
We have established and abide by broad and encompassing anti-harassment and nondiscrimination policies. US
We have established employee and volunteer record retention policies and procedures that are consistent with applicable laws and best industry practices. US
We have an up-to-date conflict of interest policy and signed disclosure forms for the board, staff, and volunteers. US
We have a whistleblower policy with specific procedures for reporting violations of organizational policy or applicable laws and ensure that those making such reports are protected from repercussions. US
We have a personnel file(s) for each employee that includes all required federal and state documentation, as well as relevant employment, performance, disciplinary action and testing records with supporting documentation. This may be two separate files per employee—one accessible to direct supervisors and one held in confidence due to potential discriminatory information (i.e., health records, demographics, litigation, etc.) US, NE
We have workers’ compensation insurance. NE, IA
Our work environment is safe and healthy.

Policies, Procedures & Plans

No/Not Begun In Process Yes/ Complete Not Applicable Not Sure
We have a plan in place for the succession of the executive director, key board leadership and key employees.
We have a set of personnel policies and procedures. All employees receive a copy and submit a signed acknowledgement of such.
We have board-approved employee benefit policies, including medical insurance, retirement benefits, vacation and other paid time off, etc.
We have a set of volunteer policies and procedures; all volunteers receive a copy and submit a signed acknowledgement of such.
We consider best industry practices as well as our own unique circumstances when establishing policies and procedures.
We have all appropriate documents for our independent contractors on file.
We have a volunteer engagement plan that fits our needs.

Hiring, Development & Retention

No/Not Begun In Process Yes/ Complete Not Applicable Not Sure
We have a formal orientation program for new employees.
We support the training and development of personnel and provide them with opportunities for growth and advancement.
We provide clear, equitable procedures for taking disciplinary action with staff.
We employ individuals and utilize the help of volunteers suitable for the positions they occupy and committed to the mission, values and objectives of our organization.
We strive to employ staff and volunteers who reflect the diversity of the community, as appropriate for program effectiveness.
We conduct background checks on those who come in contact with vulnerable populations, who perform financial duties, or who serve in other sensitive areas.
We work to retain quality employees by providing and periodically assessing factors related to employee satisfaction, including fair compensation, training, and opportunity for advancement.

Performance & Compensation

No/Not Begun In Process Yes/ Complete Not Applicable Not Sure
All compensation paid is reasonable and substantiated. US
The board periodically reviews our organization’s compensation structure (including benefits) using industry-based salary and benefit surveys.
The board conducts an annual performance review of the chief executive. The chief executive’s performance assessment is based on organizational accomplishments, and the total compensation package is reasonable, reflecting his/her performance as well as industry standards.
We provide staff and volunteers with clear, current job descriptions and the tools they need to produce quality work.
We evaluate staff job performance annually.
A record of all performance evaluations, along with employee signature and comment, are kept in each employee’s personnel records, and used to help determine compensation.

Resources & Sample Documents

Sexual Harassment How to Mitigate Workplace Sex Discrimination and Harassment (Policies, Trainings & Reporting)

Walking the Talk

  • When hiring staff, discuss the core values of the organization to ensure compatibility. You cannot dictate an employee’s lifestyle, but you can outline expectations for representing the organization and interacting with clients, constituents, and partner organizations.
  • Ensure that policies and procedures of human resource management (paid and volunteer staff) are within legal guidelines and address effective practices of risk management.
  • When hiring an executive, encourage the selection committee to consider the potential for leadership and motivation in addition to management skill. A successful executive is well rounded, allowing him/her to advance the mission in myriad ways.
  • The board should develop a strategy for annual evaluation of the executive. Determine the criteria for evaluation (progress toward mission achievement through what measures?); from whom feedback will be sought and in what format; and how the feedback will be compiled and presented.
  • While the executive is responsible for staffing and managing the organization on a day-to-day basis, professional development of staff, retention, and turnover as it relates to the organization’s ability to achieve mission should be discussed and monitored by the board. Estimates for replacing staff range anywhere from 25% to 200% of the annual salary for the position; investing in staff development through tuition reimbursement programs, conferences and trainings, and professional journals/publications has a significantly lighter impact on the bottom line and a conversely positive impact on mission achievement.
  • Format position descriptions and evaluations to reflect individual contributions toward mission achievement.
  • Regularly evaluate the organization’s capacity from a staff standpoint: are you able to advance upon your mission with the current structure? Do you need more or less staff? Are all employees in positions that maximize their talents and abilities?
  • Provide resources and opportunities for cross-training and professional development of staff. This will minimize the impact of staff turnover and create more well-rounded employees.
  • Develop a formal recognition system to acknowledge and celebrate the work of both individuals and the collective team. Consider staff spotlights through newsletters or internal postings; make a big deal when a new benchmark is reached or a project/program enjoys a particular success. Take time to say “thanks” and “you make a difference here.”
  • Display the organization’s mission prominently throughout the office - consider placing it in each office/work station; find creative ways to encourage staff to know the mission (i.e., conduct pop quizzes at staff meeting with small prizes for staff who can recite the mission); print the mission on the back of employee business cards; set screen savers with the mission statement; include the mission on company letterhead and all publications.
  • Frame staff meetings around the mission; end each planning session with “and this will bring us closer to achieving our mission by…”; plan a staff retreat with a specific mission focus – ensure that each staff member understands their individual role as well as the role of others.