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Equip Your Employees By Roby Walker

Equip Your Employees by Investing in Them

The dictionary defines the word “equip” as “to make ready… to furnish for service or action by appropriate provisioning.” Equipping is the what. But how you equip varies by each individual and can be overwhelming to think about.

Generational Differences

And perhaps the best starting point is to understand the differences in generational tendencies.

  • Founders (born 1928-1945)
  • Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964)
  • Generation X (born 1965-1980)
  • Millennials (born 1981-2000)
  • Generation Z (born 2001-2019)

While these category names and birth year cutoffs are often debated, these seemingly arbitrary categories and dates hold common tendencies that need to be understood. Much has been written about the way generations learn, interact with society, prefer to communicate and perform at work.

At Joni and Friends, we have a rich history of investing in the individual lives of our diverse team.

Best Practices

At Joni and Friends, we have a rich history of investing in the individual lives of our diverse team. We start our new employee onboarding with an overview of the first of our four pillars of success — to lead like Jesus. In fact, our emphasis on Lead Like Jesus training is so ingrained in who we are that it has often been described as the “core operating system” of how Joni and Friends does ministry on a day-to-day basis.

Other efforts include: Development Academy; S.M.A.R.T. goals; and Biblical DISC so we can better understand each other and learn how we can work with one another more effectively with a biblical perspective. We use Canvas, an on-line learning platform, for some of our training for staff, interns and volunteers.

Joni and Friends also encourages employees to complete the CCNL (Credentialed Christian Nonprofit Leader) program offered by Christian Leadership Alliance. To receive a CCNL credential employees participate in training through the Alliance’s Outcomes Academy Online and annual Outcomes Conference, both of which have featured Joni and Friends leaders as faculty.

In my decades of experience in Human Resources, one of the things I have found is that I never repeat the same day twice. That also means that I rarely finish a task from start to end without an interruption. But my perspective on that was changed by a quote by Henri Nouwen who said:

“I have always been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I slowly learned that my interruptions were my work.”

That’s it. Having that perspective speaks volumes to every individual who calls you on the phone or who appears in your office doorway.

Bringing It Home

My football coach barked, “Hey Walker, number 31, get your helmet on—you’re going in.” And just like that, I was in the game. Was I nervous? Yes. Was my heart beating out of my chest? You bet. Was I prepared? Absolutely – because my coach got me ready, and I was equipped for action.

And that’s life. Just like I experienced in that football game back in the 1970’s, you’ve got to be prepared for the game of life because you only get one shot at getting it right.

  • Glorify God in everything you do.
  • Focus on your team.
  • Expect the unexpected (and that also means making sure your replacement is already established and ready to replace you).

It is important to understand that it is a leaders’ job to equip others for ministry, but it is the Saints’ job to do the ministry. And in following Jesus’ command, we are to go and make Christ-like disciples.


Roby Walker, PMP, SPHR, is the Vice President, Human Resources for Joni and Friends, an international nonprofit organization that serves families affected by disability. This post is an excerpt from Outcomes Magazine Fall 2019.



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Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.

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