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Measuring Performance for Counselling Positions in a Non-Profit Organization

Overview of the Counselling Positions

A manager of a small non-profit wants your consulting advice about how to measure performance for their counselling positions. The organization offers clinical counselling to children and adults recovering from traumatic life experiences. The organization has 5 clinical counsellors who are involved in a variety of activities. Their main task is to provide mental health counselling on a weekly basis with large case loads, often exceeding 40 clients. The clients come from a wide variety of backgrounds – affluent and poor, educated and uneducated, supportive families and unsupportive families, young and old, local and remote, many mental health issues or one, etc.  Occasionally, clients will be in crisis and require immediate intervention, including attending the hospital with the client. Depending on the nature of their trauma, a client may seek counselling between 4 weeks and 5 years depending on their history and resources. Clients come in with various levels of crises and with different resources, so not very client will see improvements at the same pace. The organization also provides group counselling and community education programs. The counsellors often work together to create their treatment groups, which may focus on a specific therapeutic issue. Counsellors are working with a vulnerable population and hear lots of highly sensitive information. The counsellors may also work with graduate students from the university who are learning how to provide clinical counselling. The counsellors will need to provide mentorship and advice, and help assign appropriate cases to the students.


The organization often works with community partners (e.g., public schools, police, doctors) to provide education to their audience about trauma and how it can influence people’s thinking and behaviors. In some cases, the counsellors may only receive a day or two’s notice before they need to provide community education. This education may be provided to a local group in Regina, or to a more rural group in less serviced areas of the province. The audience in these situations come from very different educational backgrounds. The organization is also called upon to answer questions from the media. A counsellor may be asked in the morning if they could speak to a local or national news outlet with just a few hours of notice.


Additionally, as a small organization, the counsellors may help out with a variety of tasks outside their normal job description including promoting the organization’s brand and mission. This may include developing and planning fundraising initiatives or posting flyers. As a small group with limited resources, staff often need to depend on each other in order to achieve tight timelines and provide good services to clients. The organization also has limited human resource personnel and does not have current job information. The counsellors may even have to help define new aspects of their job, since it may change due to organizational priorities or the external environment. None of the counsellors have received any formal education training or public relations training.



1) Would job analysis be a good tool to use or rely on for determining performance dimensions, why or why not?

2) Would a job repository like Canada’s National Occupation Classification or the US O*Net be useful for constructing defining job performance? See the following links to examine.

3) Which “stand-alone” job performance dimensions would you assess and why? Which seem relevant? What’s a limitation of only focusing on task performance in this case?

4) Would it be useful to use an industry or job-specific model from other organizations?

5) For this job, would you use objective or subjective measures of performance? Why or why not? How would you try to measure the dimensions identified in question 3?


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