Staff Care PoliciesThe DRC Stand-by Roster gives high priority to staff care and emphasises the well-being of deployees both prior, during and after deployment.
The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) Stand-by Roster is characterised by the strong emphasis and high priority placed on the well-being of all staff on a DRC contract. This includes both members of the DRC Stand-by Member Roster and others deployed by the Stand-by Roster. We recognize that we are only as good as the performance of our staff, however it is not only a matter of efficiency and performance, but also a matter of ethics and securing that the people we engage with receive the best possible support and care.
The Danish Refugee Council has more than 5000 employees around the world and takes its duty of care responsibility very seriously. Duty of care for the DRC is a legal and moral obligation that ensures the safety of all people falling within our management control. We will not consciously expose anyone to unacceptable levels of risk and we exercise due diligence to make sure no one suffers avoidable mental or physical harm. While the DRC duty of care is about safety and security, staff care has a more holistic view on the well-being of staff.
DRC and its deployees operate in some of the most dangerous places in the world and numerous employees both work and live under very tough conditions. It is often not only security threats or a never-ending workload that pose major challenges, but also the feeling of isolation, a lack of privacy, bad or even non-existent supervision, poor accommodation, unhealthy food, illness or a difficult relationship with the home-based families. These can all be significant stress factors affecting the well-being of the deployee.
The DRC Stand-by Roster therefore constantly tries to improve the staff support given to its members before, during and after a deployment. A key element in this is the close engagement with staff during all stages of a deployment and the staff support offered includes the following elements:
1) Briefing Before a Deployment;
Prior to deployment, the DRC Stand-by Roster will facilitate individual briefings with the experts on the administrative side with focus on practicalities. Prior DRC experience has shown that thorough briefing increases work satisfaction and deployee efficiency, both prerequisites for high-level performance. In the administrative pre-deployment briefing all procedures for the deployment as well as advice on how to prepare professionally and mentally will be outlined to the deployee. The contents of the briefings are tailored depending on the nature of the assignment. The briefing will additionally contain a thorough instruction in the Code of Conducts (CoC) that apply during mission, and an explanation clearly stating the repercussions for any breach of the CoC. Furthermore the DRC Stand-by Roster will compile relevant briefing packages for pre-reading if needed. In addition to the CoC, this includes specific information about the receiving mission or agency (mandate, structure, operational sectors and priories) and information on the context in which the mission will take place. The overall responsibility of the programme briefing lies with the UN agencies.
2) Ongoing Support During the Deployment;
During deployment, the Stand-by Roster will administer all practical and contractual issues and will maintain regular contact to verify the deployees’ well-being and facilitate any need that might arise.
At the end of a deployment the deployee will be asked to submit a written report from the mission, which will form the basis of the debriefing. The report should include the main lessons learned, problems or particular positive experiences and relevant recommendations. Debriefings are held by phone or Skype and the aim is to address all issues relating to the deployment. This includes an evaluation of the impact and the relevancy of the deployment, an identification of personal and institutional lessons learnt and possibly a talk on recommendations for deployment procedures. Besides these more practical issues, the well-being of the deployee will also be assessed. If any follow-up measures (i.e psychological counselling, health check) are needed, this will be activated and agreed upon.
4) Sessions with Psychologist/Psychotherapist (paid by DRC);
Both during and after a deployment the DRC stand-by Roster offer consultations with psychologists either through the IHI Insurance provider or Falck Healthcare based on agreement between the deployee and the DRC Stand-by Roster. This arrangement is available up to 6 months after the deployment has ended.
5)* Regular Contact with Stand-by Member Roster Members Between Missions;
From experience the DRC Stand-by Roster knows how important it is to maintain contact and communication with members. This is to ensure that our members are mentally healthy both upon return and in the months thereafter, but also in order to ensure that members are aware of trainings offered, have updated information in MyPages so they will be offered subsequent missions and to retain their active engagement on the roster.
6)* Ongoing Capacity Building Program;
All members are encouraged to sign up for the broad range of different trainings offered by UN partner agencies and the DRC. In this way they will maintain close contact to the humanitarian working environment while at the same time improving their technical and soft skills. Read more about the trainings offered for members here.
* Points 5 & 6 only apply to members of the DRC Stand-by Member Roster.