Retaining Units—and Commissioners

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Larry Chase
National Commissioner Service Recruiting and Retention Chair

One of the best tools available to commissioners to help retain units is the unit health assessment. Whether done independently or jointly with unit leadership, the Guidelines for Unit Self-Assessment and Action Planning Meeting and the  pack, troop/team, and crew/ship self-assessment forms provide an excellent opportunity to assess a unit’s strengths and to identify opportunities to improve unit operations and program quality.

Unit health assessments should be completed semiannually (typically in January and July), and prior assessments should always be reviewed to evaluate progress. In addition to identifying unit strengths and opportunities, unit health assessments provide the foundation for continuous improvement in Journey to Excellence categories. Once completed, commissioners should seek out district operating committee resources to help them address the unit needs identified through the assessment. Capturing unit health assessments in our Unit Visit Tracking System will facilitate sharing that information with the district operating committee.

Commissioners should make unit health assessments a key part of their annual service plan. It’s not too early to begin planning for July assessments. Commissioners who use this tool routinely will see unit retention increase.

One of the best tools available to help retain commissioners is recognition. Commissioners are human: They appreciate having their efforts acknowledged. And although we provide commissioners with recordkeeping tools they can use to track their own progress toward various unit service awards, greater impact can be achieved by proactive administrative commissioners who seek out recognition opportunities. Note that data available from UVTS reports can help identify commissioners who may be worthy of recognition.

Public recognition of effective unit service is most effective. It will be appreciated by the individual being recognized and often will inspire others to similar performance. When providing recognition, be sure to communicate clearly what the recipient did and tell him or her how it made you feel and what it makes you want to do as a result.

Neither forming a new unit nor recruiting a new commissioner is easy. Once you’ve been successful in either endeavor, use every tool available to retain them and improve their performance.