Your Board’s Personnel (Human Resources) Committee

Your Camp Board's Personnel (Human Resources) Committee has these responsibilities.

by Mark Gold, Director, JCamp 180

Each summer, camps must hire hundreds of people. The strength of a camp’s program depends on the strength of the organization’s ability to hire and support these many individuals. So, is this a Board responsibility?  
Yes, it is.
A Personnel Committee (also often called the Human Resources Committee) should be setting policies and reviewing procedures in the following areas:
Employee Codes of Conduct

Every organization must have a personnel policy handbook. The personnel policy handbook includes everything from employee benefits (hours and dates of employment, vacation policy, sick leave, insurance, etc.) to employee policies on travel, expense reimbursement, social media use, and the like. It should also have a section on expected behavior and the discipline policy for violations of such behavior; this might include a statement about when a violation results in termination and details about the steps if there is a stepped policy of discipline. Any differences for full time vs. part time vs. summer employees should be noted. For camps, the handbook should also include policies for counselor days off, frequency of payment, and the use of electronic devices.
The Codes of Conduct should also specify the camp’s internal discipline system, including the policies and procedures related to the discipline and appeal of discipline of employees. For summer employees, the Executive Director is likely to have the last word, but for full time employees (Development Director, or the Executive Director) there should be a policy that states at least one level of appeal – whether that’s from the ED to the Personnel Committee to the Board, or straight to the Board. 
Employment Contracts
Most employees of our camps are employees at will. But frequently the Camp Director or Executive Director has an employment contract. Developing and reviewing that contract is the responsibility of the Personnel Committee. A long-term Camp Director may have a contract that’s renewed every three to five years, and the Personnel Committee should be reviewing that contract relative to today’s societal and contractual norms. Don’t assume that all that’s needed is to change the dates and the salary to renew a contract.  
Performance Appraisal
The Personnel Committee has the responsibility for developing (with the input of the Executive Director) the performance appraisal methodology for ALL employees. For example, if the camp will be using a MBO (Management by Objectives) process, the appraisal forms should be approved by the Personnel Committee.  The Committee should also, with the approval of the entire Board, either conduct or initiate an annual performance appraisal of the Camp Director. Camps with smaller Boards may have the entire Board participate, but larger Boards often leave the appraisal process to the Personnel Committee for review and action by the entire Board. The Personnel Committee may also recommend salary adjustments to the overall Board.
Job Descriptions and Salary Structure

The Personnel Committee oversees the development, with the input of the Executive Director, of a job description for each position in the organization as well as the salary structure for those positions. Financial recommendations (salary of counselors) are finalized in conjunction with the Finance Committee, but it is the Personnel Committee that is charged with overseeing the Camp Director’s effort to verify competitive salaries and help set salary structure for full time and seasonal positions. For example, the difference in salary between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year counselors must be defined.
As you can see, these four areas could keep a Personnel Committee busy for a long time – particularly if they’re starting out without an employee handbook. If the Board looked at their Personnel Committee as the HR Department of the company they work for, they’ll be off to a good start, because very few camp organizations can afford an HR department or HR specialist on staff.