Community update: Talent management (July 2019): Capacity development, stress, CVs, trust building, and tools for embedding SDGs in our work

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 DisasterReady.org. 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.
Three people discussing around a mobile phone during a break

Photo: Adam Singer

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

Capacity development

While it is not a new approach to capacity development, but rather a valuable reminder of what it takes to do capacity development well that this blog from Jonathan Harle published by INASP offers us. Among the many valuable points he makes, it is worth remembering that capacity already exists (“start there, not with what you bring”) and that we must get beyond the training workshop format: i.e. embed digitally enhanced and blended learning, peer learning, coaching, and mentoring.

Practical tips for CVs

I long lost count of the number of CVs I have been asked to check and review for friends and colleagues and it is an exercise we can always get better at: this blog from John Tipper on LinkedIn offers very practical tips of those that would work for me as a HR practitioner, my favorite being his advice to arrange CV per skill-sets.

Building trust

Trust should never be taken for granted, even and especially not in our sector. An inspiring TED Talk on this topic by Onora O’Neill (a philosopher and crossbench member of the House of Lords in the UK) offers some key takeaways and reflections that we can all benefit from.

Aid workers and stress

While a lot of research has been undertaken to document the links between aid work and high levels of stress, I recently came across a study published in the Journal of International Humanitarian Action that captures aid workers’ views on stressors and coping strategies. It involved a wide range of aid workers living in 63 countries, including previously under-researched groups such as development professionals and national workers. Amongst other things, they use the findings to inform practical stress reduction recommendations at the individual, organizational, and sector levels.

Another interesting piece of research on wellbeing from New York University, “From a Culture of Unwellness to Sustainable Advocacy” included key findings pointing to several obstacles for incorporating wellbeing and care into human rights work, among them:

  • Activists reported myriad sources of stress and harm, including those coming directly from their work and for example work with victims, but also from their own organizations.
  • They believe mental health is overlooked and majority of NGOs are not doing enough to promote well-being.

Recommended resources

New mobile guides for building skills:

DisasterReady.org just launched a new collection of micro-learning resources: these Mobile Guides are short, interactive, smartphone-friendly guides developed with experts from across the humanitarian and development sector to help you perform critical tasks and build essential skills on a variety of topics (such as Security, Safety and Wellbeing, Professional Development, Leadership & Management). They are currently available in English and Arabic, and later this year will be available in French.

Capacity building on the SDGs:

The SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) speak to all technical sectors and support functions within the aid world (and beyond) and much more work is needed for all of us to understand, advocate for, and embed them in our work. The SDG Lab has developed a living document, the “SDG Lab Toolkit: Accelerating the 2030 Agenda”. This toolkit was developed in response to many requests for a “how-to” guide on replicating the Lab model; a request that came to from governments and organizations alike in their quest to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Keep an eye out for...

This year, World Humanitarian Day will honor women humanitarians. To better understand the motivations and daily lives of women humanitarians, OCHA is conducting a survey which polls women humanitarians about the work they do, their reasons for becoming humanitarians, and the difficulties they face. It will be open until July 15. The results will be anonymized and shared ahead of World Humanitarian Day this year held on August 19. If you have any questions, please contact Belinda Gurd.
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.
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