Investing in your employees is a necessity in today’s international marketplace; our sector demands leaders who can easily transcend borders, stay ahead of risks, and anticipate opportunity.

Employee development & investment is more than healthcare and wages, it is a transcendent opportunity for individuals to grow and to create a sense of passion and innovation that usually exceeds the desire to stay in a job that just ‘pays the bills’.

Given the right investment & capacity building programmes that focus on development, an INGO can nurture the innate seed within their employees to manifest their appetites, remain valued and fuel the engine that fosters real change.

At HAD, we are determined to find the best and most effective ways we can invest in to help humanitarian and development professionals and practitioners in their careers.

We are also interested in exploring how these investments can translate to gains for the organisation, beneficiaries and society at large.

Here are 3 reasons why you should focus on employee development:

It forces you to future proof

Employee development is a continuum – it requires forward thinking and the ability to mitigate growth and risks.

Development and humanitarian actors have a mandate to provide assistance and protect people in some of the world’s most challenging political, social, economic, and technological environments – this isn’t the easiest task around and naturally aligns with masses of uncertainty.

An employee development plan necessarily forces you to consider the future path of your organisation‘s position within the sector’s indefinite fluidity.

Over the past decade, the constant changes of the world’s industry have resulted in an increased pressure to be efficient and demands to be accountable.

In the NGO sector, there is a need to gain access and proximity to beneficiaries and affected populations, while effectively responding to the urgency and immediacy of the aid required.

This means that we have had to re-think how employees continue to effectively deliver their mandates as well as how they design and implement their modes of operations.

These new modes of operations, and the new relationships they entail are increasingly mediated, enabled, enhanced, and limited by technologies.

This all results in a significantly different set of risks, which currently many humanitarian actors are not prepared for, and must be addressed urgently.

It helps you foster transparency and accountability

Employee development is not an expense, it is an investment.

In the humanitarian action there is always a risk of corruption, and the way assistance delivery is contracted between various actors and the model of assistance can affect the nature and likelihood of the organisation.

That is why cultivating trust and transparency is the core of the sector and this begins with its people.

Humanitarian action comprises a diversity of donor organisations, bilateral and multilateral agencies, NGOs, agencies, private contractors and military forces, all operating according to various norms and guidelines, and all relying on various sources of funding like donor governments, appeals made by aid agencies to the general public or private corporations and foundations.

All which are interested in knowing the effects of their donations on field, so NGOs have the need to be transparent of their work.

Employers’ Awareness & Management Support (one of the commitments of the Core Humanitarian Standards) is crucial in that no anti-corruption policy and procedures will be effective without strong management support, employer’s awareness and training on organisational policies.

Among the organisational policies, a staff code of conduct which specifically prohibits all forms of exploitation and abuse must be in place and signed and understood by all staff.

It optimises your admin/staff budgets

Employee retention and a good Human Resources process is a huge challenge (and expense) for all employers.

Having a solid employee development program can attract and hire the best, and here are the reasons why it matters:

It is a benefit. 

Employee development can be seen as a benefit for not only employers but also employees, which gives your NGO a competitive advantage over other similar jobs and wages.

It builds loyalty.

Loyal employees aren’t prone to quitting. That’s what employee retention is all about. Knowing that an employer is willing to provide training and development makes an employee feel important and it makes them loyal.

It is a learning opportunity.

It is important that employees are permitted to use the skills that meet the needs of the job, but employers can also offer them opportunities to learn diverse skills that contribute into the development of not only the worker but also the organisation.

It increases your reputation. 

Having a reputation as a good employer — one who cares enough to provide training — is great both for hiring new employees as well as how donors see you. Word gets out about who is good to work for, and that can affect sales as well as the hiring process.

It brings in good people. 

By offering developmental training, continuing education, conference attendance, or even something as simple as a book allowance, with the understanding that you expect them to participate, you will attract implementers who are looking to better themselves. That’s an employee you want to hire in the first place.

Through training and employee development, the humanitarian and development sectors can use leadership and management practices to help employees become more adept at performing their respective jobs.

That is why HAD has given importance to employee development in the Management Development Programme (MDP), so that Managers can boost each individual’s strengths, enhance productivity and maximise the frontline effectiveness in any workplace.

HAD provides this 5 day training not only to people within the organisation, but also to other partners or clients who have the will to learn.

Written by Sonya Sanghera

Marketing and Communications Manager

Edited by Gabriela Hagedorn

Marketing and Communications Intern