Siobhan Bourke (Human Resource Management )
Siobhan Bourke has ten years experience in human resource management (HRM) and currently works for Airtricity. Airtricity is global provider of green energy supply. Siobhan is a senior human resource manager, herself and her team of 4 are responsible for a vast territory. They service and support the human resources needs of 450 staff members in 3 regions (UK, Ireland and Europe). Most of her work is successfully executed via phone, email and online conference calls. In her day-to-day role Siobhan manages all matter of human resources needs;
- Staff recruitment campaigns in Ireland, UK and Europe
- Development of employment contracts and salary packages, to ensure new employees are motivated and both parties are legally protected
- Compliance with legal and regulatory requirements with regard to managing teams in different countries
- Induction so employees become quickly productive and are happy in their new environment
- Management of retention rates, continually striving to make Airtricity a great place to work, identifying any issues or training needs, helping Airtricity to attract and retain the right people
- Facilitation of performance management review processes for line managers and their teams
- Management of grievances procedures, ensuring that best practices are adhered to when dealing with any conflict or legal issues or general people issues
As a human resources manager Siobhan’s key skills are: confidentiality, a must when dealing with personal information and sensitive issues; experience and knowledge of HR process and procedure so the organisation always acts professionally and looks after its people; up to date knowledge of Irish legislative requirements. Siobhan’s job is very demanding but as the saying goes… “ask a busy person to do something”
Short term bursts of volunteering activity suit many people as opposed to longer term commitments. Siobhan is a perfect example of today’s virtual volunteer, highly skilled with a demanding job but more than willing to contribute.
Siobhan was approached by Meath Volunteer Centre to volunteer with Meath Women’s Refuge and Support Services (MWRSS). Siobhan happily accepted and now volunteers in the same capacity as she goes about her day to date job, entirely remotely (or virtually)!
MWRSS provides crisis accommodation, counseling, outreach support to women and their children who are experiencing abuse. The service provides a safe, caring environment, regardless of economic, social or cultural background. MWRSS is run by both permanent and voluntary staff. The organisation is managed by a voluntary Board of 12 whilst the 24/7 service is run by a team of 12 permanent staff who also work many extra hours voluntarily.
Deirdre Murphy the manager explains that funding has always been tight, she has continually tapped into the skills of volunteers with HR skills over the years. Deirdre has never even met Siobhan but they have developed a great rapport over the phone. It is a perfect remote volunteering relationship. Siobhan gets to fit in worthwhile volunteering work into her busy schedule and Deirdre has access to senior HR expertise, as and when she needs it.
“I get fantastic advice from Siobhan. People issues are always extremely important and often very sensitive too. In effect I have proper professional HR support and consultancy. Creating and maintaining a positive team environment is crucial to what we do here. I call or email Siobhan when I need clarity on any HR issues. I get advice and lots of feedback quickly. Siobhan’s insight and experience has assisted the organisation on a range of matters from industrial relations issues, internal staff matters, employment legislation to corporate news releases announcing change to our employment conditions etc.”
Deirdre has also engaged a second HR professional who volunteers on the board of management. They have recently updated job descriptions, contracts and the employee handbook. The handbook will provide a reference point for employees on all issues related to their employment. Deirdre has also tapped into volunteer HR expertise for setting up staff appraisals and continues to evolve the HR processes.
Finding the right type of volunteer role can take time, project based opportunities allow volunteers to try out different roles in a different organisations before making a longer term commitment
The need for MWRSS services continues to increase, the organisation is growing and evolving. Strong systems, operations and procedures now need to be imbedded to manage internal growth, and to maintain the quality of service. It is Deirdre’s objective to evolve the organisation into a tighter running team, to up skill staff to cover all aspects of the work and also to set up systems and procedures (payroll, security, health and safety) so the centre can always fully function even when senior members of staff are absent. The team need to be creative and are open to working in whatever way is necessary to support women and children in emergency crisis situations.
Deirdre stresses in all her years of working with the organisation in County Meath nobody has ever said no when asked to volunteer! It is really just about identifying the areas for improvement within the organsiation, being open to change and then finding the right individuals to help out. It is a bigger ask to join a board or committee but most people are delighted to give a hand or advise on a specific project such as implementing an appraisal system or improving an induction process. As a result sometimes volunteers get more involved but always a new relationship is created.
Short term bursts of volunteering activity suit many people as opposed to longer term commitments. Siobhan is a perfect example of today’s volunteer, highly skilled with a demanding job but more than willing to contribute. Finding the right type of volunteer role and an organisation can take time, project based opportunities allow volunteers to try out different roles in different organisations before making a longer term commitment.