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Effective HR Practices – A Way Forward to CSOs (NGOs)
“A Board Member should work in a cohesive way and must honour their commitment” says Rupande Padaki, Trustee, India Cares Foundation. India Cares Foundation is a ‘Friend to the Civil Society Organisations – CSOs/ NGOs .' As a friend, the organization plays the role of a facilitator, help the CSOs communicate their cause, raise funds effectively and connect individuals who wish to engage with the sector.
Ms. Rupande, a Post Doctoral degree holder in Organizational Psychology, is not just a trustee, but an active participant at the operations and functioning of India Cares Foundation. From defining Human Resources for the organisation to raising funds for it, she has been enthusiastically involved in the social sector since 1988.
Hailing from Gujarat and having settled in Bangalore for over 29 years now, Rupande is one of the first few HR consultants for companies and Civil Society Organizations* (CSOs/ NGOs) in Bengaluru. An interesting vertical which she along with her husband added to their company since Day 1 was to render services to the CSOs at zero cost. Since then they have been strengthening the capabilities of CSOs to manage their human resources. Rupande recalls
"We knew that CSOs will not be able to meet up the market price for the services which we were giving to them. Yet, having an HR system in place was crucial and thus more than thinking about the pay, we were concerned with helping them grow."
Resources are vital for the organisational growth and operation management and thus having an HR system in place for the CSOs is important. Employees are the most fundamental resource for any social sector firm. Effective management of the work force and a good system in place helps in retaining people and also helps in the development of an organisation. When people with right kind of knowledge and commitment are added into the resource file, it is easier for the organizations to survive.
From developing materials, building appraisal patterns, recruitment, selection, knowledge transfer to creating training modules for the employees, Rupande has supported in building a sustainable and organized environment for CSOs to flourish for good. In past she has also been associated with International Labour Organization and Myrada. She shares “My involvement with different people and different organizations was more like a friend and indeed has taught and helped me a lot towards constructing a positive platform to the organisations." Undoubtedly she is taking India Cares Foundation towards the same vision!
Being a fundraiser initially was a challenge for Rupande. Her long term association with Give India and Association for Mentally Challenged encouraged her to become a fundraiser for Shakti Fund. Shakti Fund is an initiative of India Cares Foundation which is a common pool for the CSOs to receive incentives from, during various events and activities. Rupande says that this is still under a crystallization process and is yet to be structured in a manner where it could convince and create awareness among more people about the cause and work of India Cares Foundation.
While talking about the best and effective HR practices in social sector, she says that she can sense a change in the way organizations have moved ahead and have eventually become much more matured. However, she doesn’t see it as a general trend. She says “HR systems in place are very need based and the need usually comes when a donor agency asks for it.” There needs a shift in such a kind of attitude. The attitudinal shift would require nothing but awareness about the fact that everything within a social sector organization or CSOs revolves around employees/staff as their most critical resource. If that isn’t taken care of, the whole system would go haywire. For that matter, the component of training is also counted as a crucial step in strengthening the HR system.
She throws light on the role of Trustees and board members in an organization. Being an active trustee herself, she opines that the amount of funds, potential resources, contacts and goodwill a trustee can bring to the organization must be realized by the trustees and board members themselves. Their responsibility as the highest position holders increases their accountability for the CSOs and their involvement could take CSOs to greater heights. Due to lesser involvement of Board members and trustees in the functioning of the CSOs, there is a decline in the number of individual fundraisers which in turn is affecting the organizational development. This can be increased and much more funds could be brought in to the CSOs if Board members take on the responsibilities and start to believe that they are the integral part of an organization.
At the age of 70, Rupande speaks with a lot of enthusiasm and zeal for the social sector. With shimmering eyes, she says that age is never a barrier, nor is it a matter of categorization. People respect work, commitment, social standing and adore a responsible citizen.
As spoken to,
India Cares Foundation