The events of the past several months have presented a wide range of challenges to the International NGO (INGO) community as COVID-19 has spread rapidly around the world. The operational realities of COVID-19 are causing organizations to create and adapt processes and procedures, reassess organizational customs and norms and establish new ways of working. Organizations are dedicating significant energy to projecting forward and making operational changes to uphold their duty of care and provide staff with a work environment that considers this new reality.
Recognizing this effort, the INGO community came together to produce Recovery & Wellness, COVID-19 which convenes subject matter experts and practitioners from the fields of Human Resources, Insurances and Benefits, Staff Wellbeing, Security and Risk Management and Non-profit Law and Compliance. Each module seeks to provide guidance, suggestions for internal communications and an action list organized by Highly Recommended, Recommended and Beneficial actions. These are general recommendations which may not apply uniformly to all organizations and were specifically designed for small to midsized organizations.
C12: Human Resources
The most important resource in any organization is arguably its people. Supporting staff and mitigating risk, particularly during times of crisis, is fundamental to their success as individuals and to the organizational team. It is critical that organizations invest in and develop strong human resources services in order to advance supportive relationships and culture within the organization. This ensures when an emergency arises, the lines of communication, trust, and necessary expertise are in place to help the staff and the organization navigate the changing dynamics in the workplace. In the event of an emergency or a pandemic situation such as COVID-19, the role of HR will be particularly important in acting as an important source of communications to the various staff groups about how the organization is responding, what staff can expect, what the financial impacts might look like and if their jobs are secure, how their benefits might be changing, what the organization is doing to help mitigate risk to staff, and what types of flexibility the organization is offering to staff under challenging circumstances. Tensions will naturally be heightened due to the circumstances, and the HR team should help to serve as a trusted source of reassurance and information for staff.