At Work: Human resources - My top tips - Mark Barrett, director of HR development, Sightsavers International

Make the most of employees' belief in your cause

People working for an NGO tend to feel a stronger connection to an organisation's mission and objectives than those working for a commercial organisation. This can range from just feeling good about it to being totally passionate.

Human resources has a huge opportunity to maximise this employee engagement and to get greater effort from people and more long-term retention. Focus on this and you have the basis of your HR strategy.

Make your employer brand appealing and relevant

Your employer brand is the sum total of what your current and potential staff think about your organisation as a place to work. Be sure that it makes sense, fits with the organisation's brand and values and is attractive to current and potential employees. Ideally, it should also be unique.

For example, I believe Sightsavers' employer brand is an inspiring vision and mission, great international exposure, a supportive and positive work culture and a convenient office location for those of us who work in the UK. Once you identify your employer brand, make sure your HR strategy, policies, products and employment offer reflect and reinforce this.

Get the basics right

You can have a great HR strategy and a fabulous employer brand, but it's worth very little if you don't deliver the basics in a first class way. Focus on recruitment and make sure you deliver an excellent service in terms of the administration and the quality of the selection process.

Recruitment is one of the most visible HR services to managers, and one that is among the most valued by them. It is also critical to the organisation and can be an excellent opportunity for your charity to impress the candidates you come into contact with.

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