Strengthening People Management Practices in the Humanitarian and Development Sectors

15 December 2016
Emmanuelle Lacroix

by Emmanuelle Lacroix

Former HR Services Manager at CHS Alliance

In this blog Em Lacroix introduces the Human Resource (HR) Package, which provides CHS Alliance members with resources and tools to improve people management in the humanitarian and development sectors.

For several years, the humanitarian and development sector has been on a path of professionalisation, which forms part of the sectoral commitment to quality and accountability.  This commitment is informed by the recognition that organisational effectiveness and successful programme implementation are closely linked to the ability of agencies to attract, develop and engage the right talent.

Most agencies have invested in and established a Human Resources (HR) function that ensures there is a formalised and systematised framework for their people management practices. Yet, if that rings true for many organizations, the reality for smaller actors is more nuanced and such resources and systems might still be lacking or incomplete.

Whilst the professionalisation agenda progresses, we ought to continue providing support, while encouraging the humanitarian sector to share good practices and expertise. This way, we will ensure that the professionalisation initiative is accessible to all and that it informs people management practices across the board to save newer or smaller actors from having to reinvent the wheel. Equipped with strong foundations, organisations can then grow and increase their impact and reach.

In order to provide such support and enable the sharing of expertise, the CHS Alliance and the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation have partnered to bring to CHS Alliance members a tactical Human Resources (HR) Support Package. This initiative brings together both organisations’ years of expertise in providing innovative technology, best practice and support in people management with the much needed contextualisation to our sector, whilst also leveraging expert inputs from a wider pool of resources.

We hope this HR support package will give organisations foundational and tactical tools to set up, improve and manage an HR framework.The package offers individuals involved with Human Resources:

  1. Guidance and good practice to inform the development and/or enhancement of HR policies;
  2. A series of questions to assess their current HR framework and identify the required activities and priority actions to strengthen it;
  3. Suggested resources that can help address potential gaps.

In the pilot phase, we will be working with the membership of the CHS Alliance to test and improve the tools included. In our shared vision, we see this support package as a conversation starter, a “living” and evolving resource that will grow organically as users also become contributors.

Upon revision of the pilot in the first part of 2017, we hope to expand its reach. The wider the audience that can benefit and provide input into this project, the greater the impact we will have on the people management practices in our sector. In increasingly complex and demanding operating environments, we believe this is what our staff across the globe deserve due to their central role in enabling the achievement of our mission as individual organizations and collectively as a sector.