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    Human Resources

    Managing your school’s human resources is just as important as managing your financial or capital assets.

    When you think of your school’s most important assets, what comes to mind? Five acres of land and the shiny new school building that sits on it? The high-tech computer lab, or the curriculum program you’ve spent years developing?

    As for the school’s most valuable resources, it’s your employees who should be at the top of the list – your “human” resources. The collective knowledge, experience, and Christian faith of your teachers and other staff create the value of the service you provide to students and families, much more so than any tangible asset. Their dedication to the school’s mission is at the core of how you serve students and families. This is why managing your school’s human resources is as important as managing facilities, finances, or capital budgets.

    SCSBC has been providing support to schools in the area of human resources management for a number of years through several initiatives:

    • The SCSBC Human Resources (HR) Manual was launched in 2018. The initial rollout included basic HR policies that were a higher priority for schools to implement. Schools can use this manual as a template to develop their own internal HR manuals, customizing and supplementing the template as needed. The plan is to keep adding new HR policies as they are developed. Additionally, the SCSBC Policy Development Committee regularly recommends other school policies for implementation that impact the area of HR, such as a professional development or teacher qualification policy.
    • SCSBC updated its sample employment contracts in 2021 to bring them up to date with current labour standards and address some issues that arose during the pandemic. Several new HR policies were developed, and others were revised in conjunction with the new contracts, which many schools have since implemented.
    • The annual SCSBC Compensation Report not only addresses salary recommendations but also touches on employee benefits and the requirements of BC employment standards. The committee continually adds recommendations for new positions that schools are hiring for or new roles that it sees a need for on the horizon.
    • SCSBC has regularly provided professional development for finance and administrative staff on various HR topics at the annual Navigate Conference for Advancement and Finance and through periodic online webinars. Certified HR professionals have led these.
    • SCSBC Executive Director, Dave Loewen, and Director of Finance, Tracey Yan, are available for consultations with individual schools when HR questions and issues arise, and they draw in outside expertise from HR professionals for more complex issues.
    • SCSBC has also been reminding schools of the support available through third-party legal assistance programs connected to their insurance policies. These lawyers provide free advice for more difficult employee situations in an effort to avoid lawsuits and related insurance claims. This program is totally independent of your insurance underwriter so accessing it does not affect your insurance policy in any way.

    New for this year, Christian Educators of BC (CEBC), in partnership with SCSBC and Christian School Educational Leaders of BC (CSELBC, formerly CPABC), has developed a 12-part HR video series that offers training on pertinent aspects of the entire employee life cycle: interviewing and selecting employees, the basics of employment contracts and onboarding of new employees, performance management and discipline, and eventually the ending of an employment relationship.

    The short videos are designed as professional development tools for school administrators to better inform and equip them with effective HR practices when working with prospective and current employees. They can be watched individually by school leaders as part of their personal development plan or viewed together as part of a discussion time during a leadership team meeting. Some videos may be useful for your school’s board of directors, employee relations committee, or the finance and administrative support staff. The videos are currently only available to schools whose employees are members of CEBC (please contact CEBC if your BC school is not yet part of their organization).

    It is important that all the aspects of the employee life cycle be addressed in a proactive manner and that responsibilities for managing each step are assigned to the right people. This is why some schools are beginning to assign HR responsibilities to one or two key staff to manage. So many parts of HR management are inter-connected; if you leave gaps or short cut the cycle, problems can arise further down the road. For example, it may be difficult to address concerns that arise during a probationary period if you have not provided a good onboarding process for new employees. Alternatively, if you don’t implement robust training and professional development programs, addressing performance and discipline issues can be problematic.

    The world of human resources management has become more complex over the years as both written and common law evolve, and as employment standards, employee expectations, and societal norms change. Administrative staff and school boards need to have the knowledge and tools to respond to the sometimes complicated issues that arise, in order to abide by the law, ensure procedural fairness by acting consistently, and treat employees in good faith.

    We are all image-bearers of God, deserving to be treated with dignity and respect. In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, the apostle Paul reminds us to “encourage one another and build each other up.” It’s especially important that Christian organizations demonstrate this in the way they treat their employees, as they serve as a witness in the world.

    Tracey Yan
    SCSBC Director of Finance

    Tricia Stobbe
    CEBC Executive Director