Paola Cocchi Blog

#Working4- Let’s find the right person inside our NGO

Paola Cocchi | HRM Amref Health Africa | 26 May 2016

The right person at the right place. This is the objective of both recruiters and selected ones. It seems so easy and predictable but, on the contrary, it increasingly becomes a “mission impossible”, not only for those who want to enter or situate again themselves in the labour market – making the most of their professionality, experience and ambition – but also for those who would like to find the proper link between supply and demand.

If you are looking for someone to cooperate or an expat or a humanitarian operator, the peculiarity of a job which requires specific skills is an additional plug in this already complex frame. Motivation cannot lack, at least that to live a period of your life in a context of cultural diversity. This is often characterized by elements of risk in terms of security and precarious hygienic-health conditions; ability to adapt and manage stress, proactivity and great capacity of team work, with that team with which often you don’t have just to work but to share a bathroom and a kitchen too. Not to mention the technical skills: knowledge of language, donors’ guidelines, skills required by the professional figure. We can add a three or four-year experience too…

Yet every day I meet boys and girls who want that and much more from their professional life. Willing to study, make experience, leave. Maybe we should explain these people the need of specific profiles – technical ones more than humanist – since the choice of their course of studies. On the other hand, we should measure their motivation and will and their ability to learn what they do not know.  They should cooperate with an expert staff in order to attempt training process on the job or, as NGO, make a partnership with universities, masters, institutions dealing with education and continuous upgrade.

NGOs now have two strong challenges to deal with: look at the outside, be receptive, networking and let ideas circulate, exchange competences. Talk to each other, not only when they need references, but also compare themselves continuously about best practices and common actions.

And look inside themselves. Yes, because often the right person already collaborates with us. The trainee, the intern, the employee who wants to do something else from a long time, the local staff who cooperate from years on the field, the volunteer who makes himself/herself available for free. Without schizophrenia or snobbishness. Look at the inside and start managing your own resources. Get off your PC, talk and go around the offices. Analyse and plan, represent roles, positions and ideal skills, already owned by the staff; assign activities and clear responsibilities, in order to define medium and long term objectives; evaluate and give feedbacks, not to judge but to build growth plan, through education, support or improvement path, and to implement stimulating actions.

How many vacancies would be filled if we really knew people we collaborate with? How many collaborators are in the wrong place right now, and could be perfect for that vacancy which seems impossible to close? How many resources are working for years covering roles that have become obsolete, redundant or simply misaligned if compared to the new challenges of the context?

Maybe, as HRs, we should feel more the responsibility of training people, transforming roles, making people grow within a phase of change of the sector, which is already happening at a micro, macro and international level. They are long and often difficult processes.

However, are we sure it is not worth it?


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