The following is a collation of tips from managers who have many years experience working for NGOs in disaster and emergency settings about ways the IRC can assist staff who have been displaced: 

  • View staff as just as much a priority as community members and other beneficiaries, and make supporting their ongoing employment and well-being a priority.
  • Alleviate uncertainty about future employment as much as possible. This can involve:
    • Reassuring staff as much as reasonably possible that the IRC intends for them to keep/return to their jobs.
    • Keeping staff members working in their roles (or a suitable short-term emergency response role) as much as possible.
  • Recognize that many staff who have been displaced will likely have acute financial needs. Debt as a result of emergencies can be a significant issue for staff (and can also be a precursor to extreme emotional distress and even suicidal thinking). In many cultures, staff may be used to relying on the extended family structure for support. (Or, more often, staff have an extensive extended family structure that relies on them for support). Being displaced often disrupts these functioning networks and causes sudden financial pressure and extreme stress. The IRC can help alleviate this burden by:
    • Giving impacted staff their salary early, or providing some sort of reasonable salary advance or loan. Don’t wait until they have to ask for it. HR and leadership should proactively work to offer a salary advance to all impacted staff.
    • Looking for ways to link staff to assistance programs that are internal and external to the organization.
    • Including staff as beneficiaries of assistance when they are also part of the impacted population and are eligible to receive supports.
  • Provide time off to staff to address their own acute family needs. Create a roster to rotate this emergency leave among staff if necessary to prevent extreme programming challenges.
  • Facilitate contact with family and other loved ones from whom staff have been separated (e.g., by providing phone credit or access to a phone).
  • Support staff to get children back in some sort of routine during working hours (whether that be a school program or organized childcare activities in a community or camp setting).
  • Check in with how people are doing on a personal level during team meetings.
  • Provide staff with a copy of the tips sheet Self-Care During Internal Displacement (and/or the tips sheet on self-care during Mandatory Evacuation or SIP orders if relevant).
  • Provide access to psychosocial support consultations, and/or individual or team facilitated debriefs or exercises. Survivor’s guilt, suicidal thoughts, extreme mood swings, and feelings of despair and hopelessness are relatively common by those facing displacement from their homes, and individuals can benefit greatly from having associated thoughts and feelings explored and normalized.
  • Encourage individuals and teams to use their lunch break to step away from work (e.g., go for a walk).