Causes of the Problem with Understaffing at the Online University
Understaffing refers to the low number of workforce in the workplace. This is a growing concern for most businesses that seek to cut down on their expenses. In the case of the Online University, the number of staff members employed to volunteer is low because of the financial standing of the organization. Individuals usually work to be paid. In this case, financial constraints that the organization experiences make it unable to offer monetary rewards for its workforce, thus the implementation of the volunteering services. This could be the major reason why employees are few (Willoughby, 2012).
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Poor leadership can also become a cause of understaffing problem at the Online University. In any business transaction coordination of activities of regular and managerial staff members is vital to ensure that organization’s operations run smoothly. Leadership majorly provides guidelines for other staff to follow. However, in this case, individuals meant to offer these guidelines appear incapable. Without guidance, the workforce is confused about what to do. This makes most of them deviate from their responsibilities. A properly designed leadership strategy plays a vital role in motivating employees to perform their duties effectively. Without motivation, employees are reluctant to work and may resign, as in the case with the Online Station.
Proper communication channels provide employees with the ability to communicate effectively in an organizational set up. Effective communication is paramount for ensuring the ability of the organization to serve its customers. In the Online Station, there appears to be a communication breakdown characterized by the indifference between the managerial staff and other employees. In this situation, the leader can not interact well with the workforce. This can be the cause of misunderstandings between two groups leading to the resigning of the volunteering staff. Communication helps to build a good working relationship in the organization, which contributes to the efficiency of service delivery. Being a broadcasting station, communication should not be a problem for leaders as their function is to interact with consumers.
Low organizational morale is a common reason for understaffing. It arises from worker’s exhaustion from the extra workload they have to perform. This eventually leads to low production and in most cases results in employer dissatisfaction. In most instances, employees opt to resign from their work as seen in the Online Station case. Employee satisfaction plays an important role in ensuring that employees deliver as required. This usually comes from a good working environment and appropriate motivation from the leaders. If workers are not motivated and fail to receive satisfaction from their work, they are bound to have a low morale and often leave their jobs to seek for other forms of work that will satisfy their needs.
Importance of a Compatible Leadership Style to Motivate and Manage a Volunteer Staff
Leadership plays an important role in the motivation of employees. In managing a voluntary staff, there is a need for leaders to have special skills to ensure that workforce is motivated and willing to work. There are different styles of leadership. Selecting one that is appropriate and applicable for the organization is important. However, leadership skills also depend majorly on the personality of the leader. Effective business operations of the organization depend entirely on the type of leadership style employed. For instance, having a democratic leadership style helps to motivate and encourage the staff to make their contributions and participate in firm’s decision-making process. In this leadership style, employees feel as part of the organization. Thus, they dedicate themselves to the achievement of goals and objectives of the organization.
Compatible leadership style involves effective co-ordination of management and workforce. In this case, dealing with volunteering staff is critical and requires a special type of leadership. To motivate the team to work, there is a need to incorporate members in the mission and vision of the organization. According to Willoughby (2012), it is important to involve volunteering staff in operations of the organization by assigning those duties, which are in line with the mission of the organization. This plays an important role in motivating them to stay in the organization and continue their volunteering work. Instead of involving the team in lower administrative activities, it is important to incorporate them as part of the permanent team. This will keep them in the organization for long and enable them to keep offering their services to the organization.
Individuals in leadership positions need to be aware of strengths and weaknesses of their workforce. This enables them to match individual abilities with the type of task given to them. In managing a volunteering staff, focus should be put on abilities and skills of individuals. This plays an important role in ensuring that they are capable and equipped to handle given tasks. Empowering volunteers by showing them important contributions they are making to the organization by applying their abilities and skills makes them feel appreciated. Moreover, individuals easily carry out the work at hand without straining. This helps keep the team and their services.
In managing volunteering staff, it is vital for a leader to acknowledge their contributions. This could involve giving out of rewards for outstanding performance of individuals. This eventually helps motivate them to perform better and stay in the organization for a longer time. Considering that most voluntary programs offer no pay to volunteers, it is important to appreciate them to ensure that more individuals keep volunteering in the organization. This can be achieved through incorporation of their ideas in operations of the organization or even inviting them to staff meetings of the organization.
A Reward System that Would Adequately Maintain Volunteer Enthusiasm
Maintaining a volunteering workforce requires a number of steps. Leaders need to design strategies that will enable volunteers to come back to the organization. In this light, a feasible strategy that can help achieve this involves issuing of certificates to volunteers. McCarthy et al. (n.d.), acknowledges this as an attempt by managerial staff to recognize contributionsmade by team of volunteers to the organization. This is a symbol of gratitude of the organization to volunteers for sacrificing their time to participate in operations and programs of the organization.
It is important to give awards like coupons or vouchers for the work done by the individual volunteer. Since these individuals are not compensated financially, it is important to show appreciation and acknowledge their efforts in other ways. Various organizations offer voucher tickets and coupons to volunteering staff after the completion of a given task. This acts as a motivation for the team, which will always be willing to volunteer again because of the appreciation they are shown. For instance, in the case of the Online Station, individuals who volunteer can be allowed to participate in the airing of events by the broadcasting station. This will contribute to their motivation to keep working in the station.
Another way of rewarding volunteers is providing them with links to obtain employment in the future. For instance, designing an e-mail broadcast system where individuals will be able to post their resumes while the organization is able to post vacant positions that are available. The CanStage Organization of Volunteers and Interns has designed this type of subscription that enables its volunteers to access job opportunities as well as offer assistance for them to obtain these jobs. This strategy can be implemented in an organization to ensure that volunteers feel satisfied with the work they perform.
Appropriate Communication and Training Program
Continuous training system that will be a source for re-staffing involves around-the-clock type of training that provides the organization with a constant supply of individuals who can be incorporated into the system after some employees have left the workforce. This strategy will enable the organization to ensure that enough employees in the organization are carrying out specific jobs. In essence, this will also help eliminate cases of work exhaustion where individuals are forced to perform different responsibilities to cover for insufficiencies. It also provides for the continuity of operations in the business thereby ensuring that the organization is always operational despite other external factors.
As seen before, communication is a vital aspect of an organization. Having an operational and feasible structure of communication helps to keep the organization in operation. In this case, the Online Station could adopt a horizontal form of commutation, which enables individuals at different levels to interact and share ideas. This structure provides an avenue for the workforce and managerial staff to come up with appropriate strategies that contribute to the achievement of organizational goals and objectives. This also helps to strengthen working relationships between individuals in the organization.
In order to avoid the resignation and dissatisfaction of volunteers with the Online Station, a continuous training program should be implemented. This training should be designed to be in line with job descriptions given to volunteers. In a major way, these forms of training contribute to the enhancement and improvement of skills of individuals. In essence, training individuals based on their work helps to improve their productivity and the output of the organization. This training can take the form of on-the-job training during which individuals volunteering will be able to implement acquired skills in the respective professional fields (Phillips et al., 2002).