Posted by: Professionals In Human Resources Association (PIHRA) | June 5, 2012

HR Concepts: Thank a PIHRA Volunteer

HR Concepts: Thank a PIHRA Volunteer
by Mike Deblieux, SPHR-CA

PIHRA is home for many HR Professionals. It provides learning opportunities, networking, resources, and other valuable services to members.

PIHRA has a small, dedicated, and professional staff that works tirelessly to plan and manage conferences, legal updates, websites, membership renewals, and a host of other intricate details that most of us take for granted. We should not.

There is another group that we often take for granted – the many PIHRA members who volunteer their time to make PIHRA the membership organization that it is. They are up late at night to double-check the minor details of an upcoming District meeting. They are at the meeting early in the morning to set up and register attendees. They are at their desk in the middle of the day between work commitments looking for a speaker for District meeting six months down the road. They are at District Board meetings after work, committee meetings on Saturdays, and phone meetings at all hours. They frequently log freeway miles. They spend hours at their computer and they patiently respond to, “Oh can I ask you…” interruptions. They work the registration tables and stand in the hallways to direct traffic at the Legal Update and the annual PIHRA Conference. We take them for granted. We should not.

Being a volunteer has its own rewards. For some, it is a way to give back for the good fortune they have experienced. For others, it is a way to support a cause or organization they hold near and dear to their heart. For some, it is a way to keep busy. For almost all volunteers, it is a way to make friends, network, and bond with others who have similar interests.

Over the last few years a special PIHRA Volunteer has emerged and largely gone unnoticed. It is a PIHRA member in transition who despite a tight personal budget and the challenge of unemployment, has continued to support their more fortunate colleagues through their volunteer efforts. They have used their own gas, ink from their home printers, mobile phone minutes, and countless other, sometimes hard to come by resources, to support a PIHRA event, function, or activity.

Like most volunteers, PIHRA Volunteers rarely ask for or expect anything back. They do what they do because they want to do it. They get paid in the satisfaction they derive from being part of something that is important to them. They volunteer because they have something to give, and to them, the giving is more important than getting. Helping others is their reward their motivation, and their satisfaction.

Even though they never ask, there is a small payback that every PIHRA Volunteer appreciates. It is a simple, sincere thank you – a thank you that comes from the heart; a thank you that includes a moment or two of focused attention and interest.

There are countless opportunities to thank a PIHRA Volunteer for volunteering. Here are a few examples:

  • Thank you for volunteering to work at the registration desk this morning. How long have you been doing this?
  • Thank you for being our District Chair. You do a really nice job of leading our meetings.
  • You know, I see you up here every month setting up the audio-visual equipment for our meeting. I don’t think we have met, but I want to thank you for making sure that everything is ready each month. It makes the meeting go very smoothly.
  • Thank you for finding interesting speakers for our meetings each month. How do you go about finding them?
  • Thank you for volunteering to help us find our way around the PIHRA Conference. What is the most interesting question you have been asked so far?
  • Thank you for volunteering to help the PIHRA Foundation conduct mock interviews for high school students. I am sure the students appreciated it. What was the most interesting part of the experience for you?

Those are just a few ideas to get you thinking. PIHRA Volunteers are a large part of what makes PIHRA our professional home. Take a minute sometime soon, and then again, sometime down the road to thank one, two, or three of them. You might have to look around a little bit. They do not always stand out. They are often behind the scenes. They are frequently doing something they love to do.


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