ATN Moving Forward: Our Employees
When it comes to our employees, our vision is simple and can be summed up as follows:
- Make sure we can keep each of the employees we have.
- Hire a few more to round out our team.
- Make sure our employees are taken care of.
- Begin to delegate more responsibility to our employees as they grow in their roles and reward those whose work is exceptional.
I want to go just a little deeper into some of the topics that I touched on so you can get a better idea of why our vision exists as it does. The first point is that we want to keep each of the employees we have, and this is very important for All Things New for 2 very important reasons:
- Our employees care for our children and we have put a team together that we trust, that love our children, and that can carry on the work of All Things New as an extension of Jess and me.
- At the same time our employees can take care of their families, they can positively impact the local economy in a way that foreigners or outsiders cannot, and they can be proud of the work that they do.
If we are able to keep each of our employees, our kids will be well taken care of and we will positively affect our community…it is a true win-win situation. These are the same reasons that part of our vision is to hire a few more employees to round out our team. One of the difficult things about running a ministry is that you cannot think of it strictly as a business but you also cannot overlook the business aspect of running a ministry. We have to be smart and wise with the donations that we receive and we have to make sure that we are operating in a way that honors GOD. At this point in time, we have 30 Haitian employees who work in different capacities for All Things New and they do a wonderful job. Our desire is to add a few more house moms sometime over the next couple of years, to add a maintenance person who takes care of our homes and cars, and to hire a social worker (this is a requirement of the Haitian government for each orphanage) to round out our team but for now we are very comfortable with each and everyone of our employees.
Before I close with one last aspect of vision casting for our employees, I want to talk about how our employees have come to work for All Things New. As organizations grow, one of the most difficult things to do is to continually add top-notch employees. Any of you who are reading this from a management perspective can understand the importance of finding the right people but also the difficulty of getting it right every time. I have mentioned before the staggering unemployment numbers in Haiti, but from a management perspective, these numbers have been a benefit to us. We have been able to be very picky in who we hire because so many people need jobs. After living in Haiti for the past 4 years, we have built many friendships and relationships with people we trust and respect greatly, and we have relied on these same people to help us with the hiring process. Gina, Herold, Lener, and many others have found our wonderful team of employees and we have had very few problems with any of them. The combination of well educated, highly trustworthy friends and a community of people who need work have allowed us to find house moms, security guards, tutors, etc. that have exceeded our expectations and have allowed us the freedom to focus on expanding the ministry of All Things New.
With that said, I want to close with the vision that we have for our employees on a long-term basis. As our employees continue to see how we operate and what we want for our ministry, our hope is to increasingly delegate authority and responsibility to them. This does not mean that Jess and I will ever be completely hands off because that would be a mistake. What it does mean is that as our employees grow, Jess and I will be freed up to expand the ministry of All Things New (this expansion will be explained in later blogs). It is important to note that when I use the word “delegation,” I do not mean that we are just going to turn things over to people. Have you noticed that the word “delegation” has been overused through the years by subpar managers as a way for them to not have to work? Delegation involves more than just turning responsibility over to others and can oftentimes be even more difficult than doing all of the work yourself. When we use the term “delegate” we mean that we want to show and teach our employees what we desire for our ministry, supervise them as they carry it out, praise them when they do well, correct them when they do wrong, and in the end make a judgment on what they can handle based on what we have seen. We recently promoted one of our security guards, Berto, to “Head of Security” for All Things New. We saw his work ethic, we trust him, and we have seen leadership skills in him over the past couple of years. We sat down with him and told him what we expect, and when we return we will continue to make sure he is on the right path. Our House Mom Manager, Gina, does an excellent job leading out in many different aspects of our ministry and we probably learn more from her than she does from us. Lener keeps the day-to-day stuff going for us when we are not there (and when we are). He makes sure the kids get where they need to go, he makes sure supplies are available, and he is basically there for whatever we need. We hope, as we move forward, to continue to see and reward excellence in our employees and our vision is that we will have capable Haitian leaders taking charge of All Things New. We already feel comfortable leaving for extended periods of time knowing that our kids will be taken care of and that is such a blessing. Our vision does not include Jess and I not being in the picture, but it does include giving more and more responsibility to those Haitian employees who continue to step up and show their skill, integrity, and leadership ability in all different areas of our ministry.