Community update: Talent management and capacity building, March 2019

Emmanuelle Lacroix
Emmanuelle (Em) Lacroix
Em is the EMEA Partnership Development Manager for the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation and is based between London and Paris.
Em has been a Talent Management and Learning practitioner in the humanitarian and development sectors since 2005, Em is currently leveraging her partnership brokering skills working as Partnership Development Manager for the CSOD Foundation and Previously, she worked as People Capacity & Development Manager with the CHS Alliance and Humanitarian HR Manager for Save the Children and British Red Cross. Her professional journey brings together a diverse international operational experience and a commitment to quality and accountability, with a focus on enabling performance improvement and capacity strengthening for organizations and individuals operating in complex environments globally.
Man discussing with woman by a computer at a conference

Photo: GDC Europe

Community updates provide brief highlights from expert practitioners about what they see as the key developments in a specific area, what resources they would recommend, and what to look out for in the coming months.

Key developments

Resilience and wellbeing

Building resilience in our workforce is everyone’s responsibility and there has been many projects to support this commitment. The recently launched Wellbeing Cluster, an endeavor of the Mindfulness & Wellbeing component of the Transforming Surge Capacity project, and part of the Start Network's portfolio of projects under the Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP) funded by UK Aid, offers promising possibilities to address and manage wellbeing in the sector and support a shift of practices and policies. More on this in this blog from Hitendra Solanki, Mindfulness and Wellbeing Advisor.


“Voluntourism” and the debate around the “white savior complex” sure keep social media channels busy, with creative (controversial…) memes, tweets, and conversations. For example, a blog post by Jayne Cravens offers some illustrations and reflections on the “Campaign against voluntourism” while Alex Jones issued a call for action to “Talk about racism – in the development sector” and Frances Longley asks us to face the “Uncomfortable truths to make our workplace more equal.” The road is still long to see the justice we advocate for in our sector be part of the organization culture of all stakeholders. but I see these debates as a useful part of the journey.

Technology for staff learning

The use of technology for staff learning and development has seen a lot of development in recent years. While not written by or for our sector specifically, this recent roundtable featured four e-learning experts taking stock of the current situation and discussing recent and on-going trends and development in the learning space supported by technology, with interesting take-aways that are very relevant for capacity building of humanitarian staff and volunteers:

  • Micro-learning is a powerful approach but it isn’t suitable for every learning need;
  • Video can be highly engaging – when done right; and
  • Learners come for required/compliance training and will stay for self-improvement and growth.

Recommended resources

Impact of e-Learning on Humanitarian Aid:

Humanitarian U, in collaboration with Medair and the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, launched a report examining the perceived effect of online learning programs for aid workers around the world. This study serves to better understand how competency-based eLearning training programs are having an impact on humanitarian work. Not only how these have an impact, but specifically in what ways the transfer of learning from these training program experiences are ultimately contributing to strengthening and/or improving coordination and service delivery in humanitarian action.>

To download the entire report, visit the study page on the Humanitarian U website:

Safeguarding Guidelines and Employment References:

Christine Williamson from Duty of Care International focuses her work on duty of care. In this recent guide, she offers practical guidance to HR teams for how to collect and provide employment references. In particular, she provides guidance to ensure duty of care is embedded into this stage of the recruitment process and that safeguarding practices are integrated.

Debriefing toolkit for humanitarian workers:

The CHS Alliance has worked with Dr Debbie Hawker for many years to provide debriefing training. In this blog, Dr Hawker shares some key reflections on the importance of debriefing mechanisms, and share the latest version of the tool kit she has developed.

Keep an eye out for...

Those of you who have worked in the people management field of our sector for a while would be familiar with the “HHR Conference” that People In Aid and then the CHS Alliance were organizing yearly to bring HR and learning practitioners to learn from and support each other. Well, watch this space, HHR is back in October this year, in Antwerp (Belgium) with a focus on PSEA. Keep an eye on the CHS Alliance website for more on this.
PHAP community updates are written by members of the association and other practitioners in their personal capacity. The views expressed belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of PHAP or any other organizations with which the author is associated.