An in-depth analysis and critique of the human resource development function of a mental health/mental Retardation Organization

Abstract

            Mental retardation is a triarchic disorder has been recorded to occur across all the human races and cultures with those who suffer from this disorder having both the developmental and intellectual disability. Mental retardation has various causes such as, genetic conditions, pregnancy problems, health problems or nutritional deficiencies and it has been considered as a disability which lacks cure.

            However, those who suffer from mental retardation can learn to be independent and to live a normal life through appropriate support and teaching.  In the United States, many organizations provide people with mental retardation with assistance, where the organizations in their activities have developed plans and actions that will guide them in their operations of providing to the people.  The various aspects of human resource development in the organizations include individual development, career development, organizational development and performance management.  All these entities play a vital role in the running of the organization ( Ivan, B et al.2007).  One such organization is the Arch organization in the United States, and its entities will be examined in this paper.

Introduction

            In any organization, there is need to have the function of the human resource development since the employees in any organization are the most important asset to the organization, which makes it necessary for an organization to develop measures that ensure that the employee well being is taken care of, as well as good performance at work.

The human resource development therefore is a framework that has been developed by the organizations to assist the work force in developing personal and organizational skills, abilities and knowledge that is necessary in their work.

            All the aspects of human resource development aim at developing the most superior workforce, which in turn allow both the organization and the individual employees to achieve their goals in serving its customers. Like in many other organizations, the Arch organization which assists people with mental retardation has a human resource development program.

The Arch organization is one of the world’s largest community based organization that offers assistance to people who have intellectual as well as developmental disabilities, by promoting and supporting services to the affected individuals.  The organization provides a wide range of services and support to many families and individuals across the United States (www.thearc.org).   In this paper an in-depth analysis and critique of the human resource development of the Arch organization will be provided.

The Arc Organization’s vision

            It is the vision of the organization to see that every individual or family affected by the intellectual disability gets access to resources or requirements that they need so that they can be able to participate as American citizens, and as active members of the American society. The affected individuals and the family members are provided with the support that they need to live an ordinary and decent American life.

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Core values

            The organization’s core values are, to put people first, democracy, community participation, visionary leadership, diversity, integrity, and excellence. These values have determined how the human resource development is done in the organization.

Mission statement

            The Arc advocates for both the full participation, and respect of the  rights for all those with intellectual and developmental disability in the organization through the  working together of the organization with the together with its network of members and the affiliated chapters for improved  organization’s systems of support and services.

Discussion

            The Arc organization has a responsibility to provide support and services to affected individuals and the family members that includes over 140,000 members who are affiliated to it through more than 850 states.  The Arc has been working very hard to strengthen its workforce and to improve the quality of services it offers to the individuals who have intellectual disabilities, together with the families.  One way it has managed to promote individual development in the employees is through individual development programs.  Since its establishment in 1950 by a small group of parents and concerned individuals, the Arc has been developing programs that assist the development and care of individuals with mental retardation through employee good work performance.

            Individual development in the Arc was initially motivated by the organization’s objective of promoting research as a means of establishing the causes, cure and prevention of mental retardation. The Arch’s Scientific Research Advisory Board (SRAB) that was formed in 1952 helped the organization kick start the research work which intensified much later to assist the employees develop knowledge about the mental retardation.  Individual development in employees requires great knowledge about the mental retardation, what it is, its causes, effects as well as how to support the affected individuals.

            When employees develop their skills and knowledge, their performance at the place of work usually improves.  The Arc has created a culture that encourages, invests and even support both the short and long-term development of its employees which has been done through the individual development planning, where programs that ensure employees stay in touch with current issues that relate to their field of work are developed and implemented.  The Arc organization has continued support individual development that goes hand in hand with the organization’s mission and goals.  For instance, the employees in the Arc organization are provided with programs that keep empowering them to provide support to the retarded individuals even when the members needs keep changing.

            The organization has gone ahead to identify its employee’s career development goals, and how the goals can be achieved by planning individual development programs whereby the employees have their individual development plans which they complete over a given duration of time.  The employees eventually are able to take ownership of their career developments which makes it easy for them to provide support and services to the retarded effectively.  The Arc organization has been able to keep its employees skills up to date so that they provide services that match the current requirements of the affected individuals.  For instance, the Arc organization through the [email protected] program has engaged the best partners to offer the frontline workers with state-of-the art online training.  This has made it possible for the employees to provide people with disabilities with the essential services.

            Furthermore, the organization has worked with the Philadelphia Insurance Companies to establish a core training program that is meant to increase the quality of services offered to the people with disabilities, to improve safety, and to minimize the risk of injury to those providing or receiving services. Through such programs, career development in employees has been promoted by identification of the employees’ career goals, and which strategies are the best for the achievement of the goals.  The employees have been encouraged to own their career development while the organization’s administrative mechanism gains a position in which it can   identify and track the development needs and plans.

            The employees develop their career through the online training that is done to all the staff, volunteers or family members, a good example is the CDS high quality online training that is offered to the staff.  The Arc organization negotiation with the college of Direct Support (CDS) helped the organization obtain a preferred rate available to the Arc chapters where the rate has its basis on the number of individuals who are served by each chapter.  This has made it possible for unlimited access to the online curriculum for the chapters in the organization, giving the staff CDS high quality online training.

            An organization is able to develop internal capacity to provide to its mission work efficiently and effectively through organizational development.  Organizational development is very vital in changing the beliefs, values, beliefs and structure of the organization to enable it adapt to new challenges, markets and technologies.  Organizational reflection, system improvement and self-analysis are all involved in organizational development or organizational effectiveness and it  aims at improving the organization’s problem solving, as well as renewal processes, usually through more effective and collaborative organizational culture management (Burack.J, et al.1998).

            The Arc’s organization mission is to ensure full participation and protection of rights for those with disabilities and their families.  The organization since its establishment has been working very hard to have systems that are improved to match the changing needs of the people with disabilities.  For instance, technological advancements have brought changes in people’s way of life which has also affected the individuals with mental retardation.  One way in which the Arc organization has tried to change its structure and beliefs to adapt to the changes that have been occurring in the global community, is through the public policy.  The organization works very hard to protect and enhance important programs, as well as services for people with both intellectual and developmental disabilities together with their families.  To protect these interests, the United States’ Arc organization has worked and continues to work in order to advance the federal public policy.

            Through the Government Affairs committee, the organization has established the Disability Policy Collaboration together with the United Cerebral Palsy.  The collaboration has in turn made it possible for the necessary focus on legislative, regulatory as well as legal issues at a federal level.  Through this action, the Arc has ensured equity and equality for all those with disabilities through the public policy.

            Performance management assists an organization to optimize its performance in achieving the set goals and objectives.  Motivation for the organization to excel will require encouragement of the staff in pursuing the organization’s excellence.  Those in the organization who have the responsibility of managing and supervising people take charge of performance management ( Stancliffe.R et al.2004).  These people first need to understand their role in performance management and then equipped with practical directions, to manage people effectively. This eventually raises the employees’ level of the work performance.

            The Arc’s top managers or officials have taken motivation as a very important aspect of ensuring that the organization excels through improved performance of the employees.  Both the officers and the directors have developed healthy relationships between them and the other staff through interactions, a means through which the directors motivate the employees.  The supervisors undergo training so that they can clearly understand their responsibility in improving the performance of the staff. During the training, the managers and the supervisors are equipped with the necessary skills to manage the workforce effectively (www.atanet.org/red_cross).

            Medical practitioners who handle people with mental disabilities in the Arc organization have a responsibility to coordinate health care services that are offered in the organization.  The Arc was established to provide services and support to people with disabilities in order to enable them live a normal life as much as possible which has  created the need to carry out research that gives an insight into the causes, prevention and cure of mental retardation. Apart from coordinating the services offered, practitioners are also involved in carrying out research to allow the development and implementation of programs that will be effective, based on the research findings.  The organization through the practitioners has enacted Medicare and Medicaid in the past which has enabled those with disabilities to get the necessary health care.

            The practitioners make use of the screening programs in genetic diseases, which are encouraged by the Arc’s Board of Directors.  Furthermore, the practitioners are involved in efforts that strive to identify cures for mental retardation disorders and they play a role in dissemination of the relevant scientific findings.  The practitioners integrate new genetic technologies and potential curative applications in their efforts to assist the people with disabilities.

            The Arc organization has many local chapters of both the small voluntary groups, and   much larger and sophisticated organizations. The Arc has a great responsibility to ensure that all the organizations that work under it are maintained within the cohesive movement through the organization’s core values, mission and value statements. The Arc’s vision to provide all individuals and family members affected by intellectuals and developmental disability with information, advocacy and skills has necessitated evaluation of the organization human resource operations from time to time.

            The organization has designed an evaluation program in order to determine their merit in achieving its mission and goals with the evaluation program being aimed at solving the existing problems, while at the same time refining the organization’s working approaches. The evaluation program addresses the organization’s achievements and activities in its role. One area where evaluation is done in the organization is the issue of its contribution to briefing the United States Supreme Court on cases of intellectual and developmental disability through its employees. Since the Arc protects the peoples’ rights by litigation in states whenever it is necessary, its success in providing briefing to the court is usually evaluated by looking at its workforce performance in carrying out this activity.

            This in turn enables the organization to identify whether the contributions were made as expected. Through the evaluation program, measures to improve its contribution to the court are put in place, where existing effective strategies continue to be adopted by the organization. Another role of the organization that is evaluated is its success or failure in advising the government and the states about human rights’ protection. Ensuring that all human beings have their rights protected has encouraged the development of policies that ensure this.

                        The Arc organization has recognized its importance in promoting the protection of human rights through the advice it provides to the policy makers. The United States of America currently continue to receive criticism on its failure to protect the human rights. While the human rights activists continue to raise concerns on the government’s failure in observing human rights international and local policies, the organization contributes to this course by giving the appropriate advice to the governments through the legal advisors in the organization when the policies that protect the human rights are being developed. Providing proper advice guarantees the citizens including the Americans, protection of their rights through effective policies. For instance, the Arc organization has in the past participated in the establishment of the Disability Policy Collaboration through the Governments Affairs Committee. In order to know how well the organization through its work force has performed in fulfilling such vital roles, evaluation is done. If the organization has done well in providing advice to the states and the government, it is encouraged to even work harder in doing so. However, if evaluation shows that the organization is deficient in providing advice as required, new strategies are put in place to correct the errors so as to ensure that the organization performs its duty well.

            In March 2007, The A           rc organization managed to complete a very critical measure. As a natural extension of its efforts in the United States, the organization participated in the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. However, the organization continues to contribute to the international efforts of promoting peoples’ rights (with intellectual and developmental disabilities) as required by the UN Convention. The need to review the organizations contribution to the international efforts of protecting the disabled rights has made it necessary for the organization to evaluate whether its efforts in doing this are effective, and up to standards.

            Effective data management is a very important   practice in the human resource development. The employees’ details data base is well managed and updated so that their personal and work related needs are addressed. In addition, the organization usually collects and stores data that relates to the members and the families that the organization provides services to. For instance, the recorded number of over 140,000 members has been well kept and reviewed   so that quality services are provided to them. The types of services that are offered are also recorded with each being reviewed on how effective it is to the members. The employee details assists in the identification of the number of training programs that have been offered to them, and which needs to be offered in future. The Arc organization 800 chapters have all the details and a data recorded in the organizations’ database to promote good coordination in work

Conclusion

                        The Arc organization in the United States is recognized as one of the worlds’ organizations that assists individuals with mental retardation .It has participated in ensuring that these individuals live an ordinary and healthy life and it continues to do so. It human resource has been very instrumental in ensuring that the organization achieves its goals. Effective management has been done by employee development which is very vital in running the organization.

References

American Translators Association

            www.atanet.org/red_cross . Retrieved on July 7, 2008

Association for Retarded Children of Virginia

            www.arcofva.org.  Retrieved on July 7, 2008

Burack.J, and Zigler.E.1998. Handbook of Mental Retardation and Development. Cambridge   University  Press.

Ivan.B, and Percy.M.2007. A Comprehensive Guide to Intellectual and Developmental             Disabilities

The Arc of  the Unite States.

            www.thearc.org. Retrieved on July 7, 2008

Stancliffe.R, and Lakin,C.2004. Costs and Outcomes of Community Services for People with   Intellectual  Disabilities. Brooks Publishers.

 

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