For a long time, humanitarian organizations have faced situations reminding us that how we carry out our work is as important as what we do – including how agencies approach the mental and physical well-being of staff members to avoid long-term exhaustion, burnout, injury, or illness. Apart from the direct impact to individual staff members when the duty of care is compromised, organizations also face potential risks of an operational, reputational, safety and security, fiduciary, or legal and ethical nature.
The top management of an organization plays a critical role in managing risks and ensuring that staff and those we assist in our day-to-day work are cared for. This has been the focus of a joint ICVA-CHS Alliance project on the CEO role in driving culture change to enable a positive workplace culture, safeguard staff well-being, and live our humanitarian values.
On 3 December, ICVA, the CHS Alliance, and PHAP organized a webinar building on this project and discussed practical challenges faced by staff and management as well as insights into solutions to improve the ability of senior executives to promote the necessary change.
Liza Jachens, Organisational Psychologist at Webster University, shared the results from her research of burnout and mental illness among humanitarian workers. Ann Muraya, Director of Organisation Health for Thrive Worldwide, discussed what it means to have a healthy organizational culture. Melissa Pitotti, consultant for the ICVA-CHS Alliance joint project looking at the CEO role in driving organisational culture change and co-Initiator of the CHS Alliance Initiative to Cultivate Caring, Compassionate Aid Organisations, provided a summary of the findings generated from recent interviews and focus group discussions with CEOs. Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, CEO of Christian Aid, and Dhananjayan (Danny) Sriskandarajah, CEO of Oxfam GB, reflected on their own experiences leading culture change within their organisations.
This was the fourth webinar of the Learning Stream on Risk Management in Practice.