SBTF volunteers have consistently demonstrated they are a reliable, hard working and creative bunch. On little notice, they are willing to put in hours of their free time, all the while holding a job / writing a PhD / entertaining three toddlers. Their encouragement and interaction with similar volunteers comes through a computer screen – emails, skype emoticons and the occasional call. Most SBTF skype chat rooms are full of positive comments (we once did a wordle of a deployment skypechat, and “(rock)” featured pretty prominently).
All that said, sometimes nerves can fray and conflicts flare up. As a growing network, we increasingly need to put systems in place to ensure we can maintain harmonious relations, especially at times of stress. This is why we have put together a formal SBTF Complaints Protocol, which you can view here.
In order to manage complaints, we have also set up a Human Resources Team. The HR team is responsible for providing support on issues relating to human resources to the entire SBTF, in particular:
- Intervene and mediate between volunteers when alerted to a conflict between them
- Receive and handle formal complaints from volunteers following the SBTF Complaints Protocol
- Maintain confidentiality of all cases handled within the HR Team
- Survey volunteers during deployments to assess burn-out levels
- If serious concerns about the psychological health of a volunteer arise that require immediate intervention, contact the SBTF Counsellor for support
Two experienced SBTF volunteers (Leesa Astredo and Christina Kraich-Rogers) will be the Coordinators of this team and will be responsible for:
- When no deployments are active, be the focal point for all activities above
- For any deployment, create a schedule for the HR team volunteers to assure coverage
- Instruct volunteers on how to manage complaints, mediations and referrals
- Keep a confidential document with all HR cases handled / action taken
A Standby Task Force needs standby human resources. Together with the psychological support recently added to the SBTF, we hope this new HR Team will help us all keep working in happy, productive and welcoming environment.