CBVCT Services and Organization Needs

Human Resources

Managing human resources ­ – including paid and unpaid personnel (staff and volunteers) – means attracting, training and supporting the people whose knowledge, skills and experience maintain the functions of the CBVCT.

Item Does your CBCVT have this in place? Is there a documented standard, guideline, plan, policy, procedure, contract or agreement? Is it adapted to local needs and conditions? Is it working as intended? Action
Job descriptions
Description

Description

The job description describes the work to be performed by a team member and the characteristics a person needs to have to be able to do it.

 

Guidance

Guidance

Job descriptions usually include information about the nature of the work, the level of responsibility and relationships within the team, as well as the characteristics of the person in the role. Industrial relations laws and regulations often prescribe what can and cannot be included in job descriptions, especially regarding equal opportunity. How a job description is worded, especially regarding responsibility and self-direction, may also have a direct impact on the level of pay and conditions the person is entitled to.

 

To structure this information, a job description may contain:

  • A duty statement listing the work the person is expected to carry out. This includes routine, regular and irregular tasks as well as the locations and times for working. The last item to be included in a duty statement is often something like ‘other duties as directed’. This ensures some flexibility in sharing responsibilities within the team.
  • A description of the position within the team, e.g. who the person’s supervisor is and whom else they may be accountable or reporting to (e.g. a board, committee or funding body), as well as whom they might be supervising or leading themselves, including volunteers.
  • A set of selection criteria and personal characteristics, including the level of formal qualification (if required), formal and informal training, knowledge and skills as well as professional and/or life experience. Selection criteria are often divided into ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ characteristics.
  • Any legally required or affirmative action information, such as equal opportunity (e.g. regarding gender, disability, age etc.) or labour laws (e.g. industrial relations agreements regarding entitlements, pay, other benefits and working conditions).

Although many of the formal components of job descriptions apply to paid staff positions only, it is very useful for recruitment, support and supervision to document the duties, selection criteria and personal characteristics for the any roles covered by volunteers as well.

Template Download: Job Description

 

Adaptation

Adaptation

Job descriptions need to match the set of knowledge, skills and experience required for all functions making up the CBVCT services. As these functions change, expand or contract over time, it is important to adapt job descriptions accordingly.

They also need to be workable within the local labour market; the selection criteria must be realistic and flexible enough to attract candidates who may not have acquired their knowledge and skills through formal qualifications but relevant life experience, volunteering etc.

Some useful adaptations are:

  • Unless a particular qualification is required by law, using the wording ‘… or equivalent skills and experience’
  • Including interpersonal and developmental characteristics that match the way the CBVCT operates, e.g. ‘ability to work in a multidisciplinary team’ and ‘willingness to undertake additional training’
  • Being clear about the required flexibility of working hours, e.g. ‘willingness to work outside normal working hours and on weekends’.

To ensure job descriptions meet the needs of both the organisation and the staff, it is useful to include a date for reviewing them. Good times for reviewing an existing job description are annual performance appraisal meetings with individual staff members, organisational strategic and action planning or quality improvement activities.

Options for reducing costs:

  • Adapting job descriptions from related organisations
  • Asking a human resource management company, large social services provider with a human resources department or a legal firm to provide pro bono advice and/or assistance with drafting job descriptions, especially if legal requirements must be met

Asking professional associations, health or social services umbrella organisations as well as employer associations and labour unions to provide advice on draft job descriptions.

 

Quality Improvement

Quality Improvement

Because job descriptions serve to put the strategic direction and action plan of the CBVCT into practice, improving their content is best done as a follow-up activity of any structured quality improvement activity the CBVCT undertakes.

You can find tools and information on structured quality improvement on www.qualityaction.eu.

 

Action plan

Action plan

This Action Plan helps you to work directly on the items identified as priorities (yellow and/or red fields in the Checklist). Please list actions that are as specific as possible. You can download your finished Action Plans for each section as an xlsx.-document and print it afterwards. The Action Plans form the basis for your further planning, implementation and evaluation.

The Action Plan shows a sequence of steps to be taken, or activities to be performed for a strategy to succeed. The Action Plan has four major elements: (1) what will be done (specific tasks), (2) by whom (responsibility), (3) by when (timeframe), and (4) how the implementation of the task will be monitored.

 


→ Copy to action plan
Recruiting professionals and volunteers
Description

Description

Recruitment means attracting and selecting personnel, and entering into agreements with them to work for the CBVCT.

 

Guidance

Guidance

Recruitment includes separate strategies for attracting, selecting and contracting team members. It is recommended to recruit a team with a wide variety of passions, interests, skills and experience so that people who are most suited to them cover the different roles and responsibilities.

Recruiting for paid positions usually means placing advertisements where the people you want to attract are looking for work. This can include general online recruitment services as well as those specialising in health and social services jobs.

However, as CBVCTs working with MSM need paid personnel as well as volunteers with a detailed understanding of this population and their needs in relation to HIV testing – which means peers in most cases – it is equally important to use the media outlets, professional and personal networks used by this group to disseminate recruitment information. It is important not to underestimate the effectiveness of personal communication and recommendation.

Human resources and recruitment practices can also create pathways for community members, including clients of the service, to become volunteers and potential candidates for paid positions by providing training and opportunities to gain experience.

Offering work experience or placements to students in the health and social services fields, who may also be peers, can also develop a pool of interested people who may later become candidates for positions within the CBVCT.

Download: Example of Thessaloniki Checkpoint job advertisement

Download: Example of Thessaloniki Checkpoint call for volunteers

 

Adaptation

Adaptation

Recruitment strategies may need to be adapted to local conditions, e.g. regarding:

  • Timing: there may be certain times of the year when more people are looking for new employment opportunities (university graduations, summer or winter holidays)
  • Reach: mainstream recruitment avenues may be expensive and may not offer value for money in this specialised field, especially in the context of smaller populations.
  • Flexibility: it may be necessary to broaden the field of potential candidates by broadening criteria and offering more intensive training and induction in order to recruit the required personnel, or by including international recruitment options with the assistance of partner organisations in other countries.

Options for lowering costs:

  • Using social and personal networks rather than paid job advertisements

Asking MSM-friendly and socially responsible media outlets to sponsor job advertisements.

 

Quality Improvement

Quality Improvement

Question nine of the Euro HIV EDAT Self-evaluation Grids focuses specifically on multidisciplinary and competent staff.

The effectiveness of current recruitment strategies can also be integrated into regular reviews of human resource management and administrative procedures.

It may be useful to ask known potential candidates who unexpectedly did not put in an application for a vacant position to offer informal feedback about their reasons. This and the ‘exit interview’ conducted when a person leaves can inform recruitment strategies in the future.

 


→ Copy to action plan
Initial training and certification
Description

Description

Initial training means offering new personnel the training that is specific to their duties and may not be part of their existing knowledge and skills. Certification means awarding the trainees official recognition for having successfully completed the required training.

 

Guidance

Guidance

The goal of a well-tailored training programme is to combine the required levels of:

  • Knowledge (about HIV, the local health and social services systems, issues relevant to MSM and PLHIV)
  • Skills (e.g. conducting rapid tests, infection control, conducting information/counselling conversations, data collection and documentation)
  • Attitudes (e.g. non-judgemental approach, understanding of discrimination and stigma, positive attitude towards sex and sexuality).

These components may be part of the curriculum for initial training for paid staff and volunteers who conduct testing at the CBVCT:

  • Orientation to the organisation and the CBVCT service structure
  • Update on current knowledge about HIV
  • Attitudes and beliefs regarding HIV, MSM, drug use etc.
  • The tests used and how to use them
  • Counselling, informed consent and confidentiality
  • Referral and linkage to care
  • Data collection and documentation
  • Self-care and supervision.

Download: Athens Checkpoint: Training Guidelines for Peer Counsellors

Participants in the initial training will bring a range of professional and life experience. Acknowledging this contribution and using methods that allow participants to learn from each other will build confidence and motivation. Standardised training materials and expert input will help ensure that all information is current and correct, and that participants gain the required knowledge, skills and attitudes.

Teaching methods may include

  • Self-exploration of values and attitudes (e.g. participants positioning themselves on a scale and discussing their reasons)
  • Participants working on topics in small groups and presenting to each other
  • Brainstorm exercises complemented by expert input
  • Role play (e.g. triads of ‘counsellor’, ‘client’ and ‘observer’)
  • Case studies or scenarios for problem-solving and subsequent discussion.

Prerequisites of receiving certification for the training can be based on the level of attendance and successful completion of a study task, e.g. a role play and/or a written response to a scenario.

Observing or assisting experienced personnel complements the training. Clients usually agree to have a trainee counsellor in the room, but it is important to ask for their permission in every case.

 

Adaptation

Adaptation

Local conditions and the way the CBVCT is set up (e.g. who conducts the testing, outreach, linkage to care) will determine the initial training needs of both paid staff and volunteers. It is recommended to assess training needs and tailor the structure, content and methods accordingly.

A simple self-assessment as part of the application and training registration process can provide valuable information to the trainers/facilitators.

Template Download: Pre-training self-assessment questionnaire

Factors that influence training content, methods and structure:

  • Pre-existing knowledge and level of previous formal education (e.g. social work, nursing, teaching)
  • Level of MSM community involvement
  • Local learning culture and learning styles (formal and/or informal, individual and/or group work)
  • Employment status and availability of participants
  • Training group size.

Adapted can be:

  • Balance between information, practice-based learning and work on attitudes and motivation
  • Scheduling (e.g. evenings, weekends, length of time, location)
  • Balance between preparatory reading, formal presentations, adult education (peer-based learning) and participatory methods.

Options for reducing costs:

  • Involving experienced staff in training new personnel
  • Incorporating training modules offered by other providers (e.g. ‘basic listening skills’ or ‘basic counselling’ may be offered by other training providers in the health and social services fields)
  • Inviting members of referral networks to introduce themselves and present on their topics (e.g. from HIV clinics, MSM community groups)

 

Quality Improvement

Quality Improvement

Routine evaluation feedback from training participants can inform minor adjustments to regular training conducted by the CBVCT. Supervisors and managers can help assess whether the training provides participants with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to perform their duties.

You can use the step-by-step instructions for methods such as Rapid Assessment or Focus Group in the PQD (Participatory Quality Development) toolkit to collect feedback from training participants as well as from staff and partners.

To access these tools and guidance on using them, go to www.qualityaction.eu.

 


→ Copy to action plan
In-service training / professional development
Description

Description

In-service training relates to the current duties of existing personnel, providing necessary updates in knowledge, skills and attitudes as requirements change over time.

Professional development means supporting staff members to develop their individual professional capacity and career, and may or may not relate directly to their current duties.

 

Guidance

Guidance

The purpose of in-service training is to keep knowledge, skills and attitudes current and relevant to the CBVCT’s services. Reasons for conducting in-service training include:

  • Introduction of new testing technology
  • Introduction of new legislation, regulations, standards and guidelines, e.g. for infection control or counselling
  • Changes to procedures, e.g. referrals/linkage to care
  • Emerging and broader issues for the key population, e.g. chemsex, PrEP, mental health
  • Introduction or expansion of services, e.g. outreach or additional key populations.

The purpose of professional development is to develop and motivate staff, and to open career path opportunities. It not only takes into account the person’s current duties, but also their individual professional interests and career path. Professional development is usually negotiated between management and staff and may (partly) be conducted during work time.

Professional development opportunities include:

  • Formal education, e.g. further study or short courses
  • Conferences, meetings and working groups
  • International projects, study tours and staff exchange.

 

Adaptation

Adaptation

The content of in-service training needs to be tailored to the needs of the CBVCT, or it may be determined by external factors, such as new legislation. Its methods can be adapted to the capacity and structure of the CBVCT, e.g.:

  • Incorporating in-service training modules into regular team meetings
  • Disseminating content in small groups using a train-the-trainer concept if not everyone can meet at the same time
  • Inviting trainers from larger organisations or participating in relevant training in partner organisations (e.g. hospitals, MSM community organisations, universities, international projects)
  • Using regular meetings, e.g. national conferences, to disseminate updates.

Professional development is most motivating for the staff member concerned – and therefore also of benefit to the organisation – if it is tailored to the professional interests and goals of the individual. Supervision meetings and regular performance appraisals are good opportunities to discuss and negotiate professional development options. External mentoring and coaching can be helpful to encourage a wider perspective, especially at key junctions in the careers of individuals.

Options for reducing costs:

  • Combining in-service training with related organisations or participating in training in larger organisations or as part of international projects
  • Applying for scholarships for training updates and professional development opportunities.

 

Quality Improvement

Quality Improvement

Supervisors and managers can assess whether in-service training provides participants with the knowledge, skills and attitudes updates needed to meet the challenges of their duties.

Supervision and regular performance appraisal meetings can review professional development if they include two-way feedback between the manager and the staff member/volunteer.

You can use the step-by-step instructions for methods such as Rapid Assessment, Guided Working Group or Focus Group in the PQD (Participatory Quality Development) toolkit to collect feedback from staff and volunteers.

To access these tools and guidance on using them, go to www.qualityaction.eu.

 


→ Copy to action plan
Succession planning
Description

Description

Succession planning means anticipating positions becoming vacant and developing the personnel to fill them.

 

Guidance

Guidance

CBVCTs attract committed professionals as well as motivated community members (especially people who are both!) as staff and volunteers. Often, working in a CBVCT provides them with an opportunity to learn new skills and gain professional experience, especially if they are at the beginning of their careers.

Staff and volunteer turnover may occur regularly. It more likely reflects the nature of this work than the attractiveness of the positions or the organisation. Rather than resisting it, succession planning ensures that turnover does not reduce capacity or drain resources.

Succession planning is closely related to training and professional development. Training volunteers and junior staff ensures they are available to take on more senior roles when these become vacant. Collaboration and exchange among organisations within the health and community sectors is a key factor in developing a pool of well-trained and motivated people to fill positions.

Other components of succession planning are:

  • Clear and current job descriptions
  • Good documentation of working procedures to facilitate handover
  • Regular supervision and performance appraisal meetings to support staff and volunteers in their careers
  • Encouraging volunteers to consider professional careers in the field
  • Creating opportunities for work experience, student placements and international exchange to build a pool of potential candidates for vacant positions.

 

Adaptation

Adaptation

The following factors can impact the available options for succession planning:

  • Small teams or organisations
  • Short-term funding
  • Low pay or no pay
  • Limited pool of potential candidates.

Options for adapting to these factors:

  • Thinking of succession planning collectively with other small organisations working in similar fields – if all partners invest in training and professional development, all will benefit from people moving between organisations
  • Balancing lower pay rates with flexible working conditions and professional development and career building opportunities
  • Mentoring arrangements for junior staff with limited experience
  • Flexible qualification requirements with an emphasis on initial training to open positions to a wider field of candidates.

 

Quality Improvement

Quality Improvement

Some structured quality improvement tools (e.g. QIP and Succeed, available at www.qualityaction.eu) include questions on the match between the project’s requirements and the available human resources. Succession planning can be a practical approach to filling gaps in human resources.

 


→ Copy to action plan
Staffing schedule (roster)
Description

Description

Staffing schedules list the times the CBVCT operates and the team members on duty.

 

Guidance

Guidance

The good reputation of low-threshold HIV testing rests mainly on a reliable service at the advertised times, especially seeing that many CBVCTs make a special effort to open at times that are more convenient for the key population, or even conduct outreach.

Staffing schedules are subdivided into weeks or months and planned ahead, e.g. using an online or intranet scheduling programme.

 

Adaptation

Adaptation

Staffing schedules need to be adapted as the CBVCT progressively develops its services to respond to the needs and preferences of the key population. The following factors influence staffing schedules:

  • Hours of operation/outreach
  • The combination of people required (e.g. receptionist, tester/counsellor and nurse/doctor if necessary)
  • The pool of paid staff and the times they are available
  • The pool of volunteers and their range of skills and contributions
  • Leave entitlements and sickness backup arrangements

 

Quality Improvement

Quality Improvement

Staffing schedules and how they are developed are a useful topic for regular team meetings in order to ensure that problems are detected early and addressed collaboratively.

 


→ Copy to action plan
Print Checklist

Action Plan

CBVCT Services and Organization Needs
Human Resources
ItemWhat will be done?Who will do it?When?How will we monitor it?
Please copy your Item from the Check-List above
Please copy your Item from the Check-List above
Please copy your Item from the Check-List above
Please copy your Item from the Check-List above
Please copy your Item from the Check-List above
Please copy your Item from the Check-List above
Print Action Plan