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Friday, September 23, 2011

Hiring and Firing Staff in Haiti

To Make a Donation Visit

Presiding over the H.E.R.O. Residence for Orphans is filled with heart-warming experiences and events that I am proud to share through Facebook and my blog.  It brings us tremendous joy to watch Robenson count to 50 in English or to see Valencia smile as she admires her newly braided hair.  The lives of the children in our care have changed tremendously.  From living in squalid shacks with no running water or electricity to now receiving 3 meals a day, a solid education, and a safe and secure place to live, watching them evolve into well-behaved and respectful children is a true delight. 

Behind the scenes of these stories and experiences, however, is the very real day-to-day management that is vital to the successful operation of the H.E.R.O. Residence.  We are truly blessed to have a wonderful staff that is the true core of H.E.R.O.  I take pride in the quality of the staff members that we employ at H.E.R.O.  Together we have built an understanding that being part of H.E.R.O. is not simply a job.  We are a team, a highly skilled team, with the sole goal of helping the children of Haiti.

For the first time in my life, as the President of H.E.R.O., I am responsible for hiring and firing staff members.  Our very first hire, the current Residence Director (former driver), Brice Smith, has been a blessing.  I have and continue to rely on Brice for helping me navigate the country of Haiti, finding electricians, plumbers, maintaining community relations, acquiring birth certificates for our children, and hundreds of additional tasks that are too many to name here.  Finding a quality employee like Brice is like finding a needle in a haystack, but guess what, we did it, and we aren’t letting him go!

Along this road, however, I have had the displeasure of firing staff, also a first for my life.  The first time was definitely the hardest.  After she allowed one of our children to leave the compound without permission, and not reporting that he had left, or trying to find him, it was time for this staff member to leave.  I was nervous, I admit, and didn’t want to do it.  But, after relieving her of her duties, well, let’s just say it was a slippery slope.  I fired the karate teacher for not coming on time and missing days of work.  I fired the tutor because she was spending more time on her phone than helping the children.  And most recently I fired the new house mother, who lasted all of one week, because she decided that H.E.R.O.’s plan for the children was ineffective and inefficient, and wanted to do everything her way (which FYI, just wasn’t good at all).  All new hires now begin on a one month probationary period.  I explain to them that working with H.E.R.O. is about working as a team.  In fact, I would much rather work with individuals that lack the capacity, but understand the team objectives than someone with the capacity but who doesn’t want to be a team player.  Some will make it, some won’t.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Brice, Iloude, and Cecilia, the 3 full-time Haitian staff members that have been with H.E.R.O. nearly one year.  Thank you for working as a team to help the children of Haiti.


Steven Kirby, Ed.D

To Make a Donation Visit

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