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Human resource management

To support the implementation of the recalibrated strategy, 2013 was used to ensure that War Child had the best people in the right positions. Hiring a dedicated recruiter and a voluntary recruitment team improved the quality and efficiency of recruitment processes, contributing to timely communication with potential candidates, and our reputation as an employer.

VFI function and salary house

In 2013, we adopted the VFI function and salary house to benchmark our salaries and ensure that salaries and job descriptions were in line with the NGO sector and professional field. In accordance with our low-cost policy, we used the lowest salary base in the VFI salary house. The transition, which included revising all job descriptions and implementing a new benchmarked salary system, was a thorough process; all managers and employees were involved in the revision of their job descriptions. The recalibration of the strategy also led to new roles, responsibilities and functions, especially at head office; describing, weighing and plotting these new functions was made easier by the transition to the VFI function and salary house.

New head office location

In October 2013, War Child’s head office moved into a new office building. The move not only lowered our expenditures on rent, but also provided better facilities for War Child staff and external contacts. Although not planned for 2013, the move fit with the Human Resources (HR) Department’s plans to move towards flexible working space and facilitate activity-based working. The move was managed within a very tight timeframe, but did require the time and energy of all head office employees. Although the move to the new office was not without some initial challenges, such as interrupted wireless service and a lack of closet space, it improved the overall working climate with more light, less noise, better inside temperature and good accessibility, which was line with personnel feedback inventoried through internal research. A risk inventory and evaluation (RI&E) will be conducted in the new building and outcomes shared in 2014.

Lessons learnt

Although War Child stayed within its 2013 budget for salary costs, this was partly due to the fact that not all vacancies were filled as quickly as desired. A more precise budget should have been developed and more strictly followed in the first half year. To address this issue, the Finance and HR Departments put together a new labour costs overview to better steer the use of resources. Unlike previous years, volunteers and trainees will also be budgeted in 2014.

In addition, the transition to the VFI function and salary house took more time and effort than anticipated, and the deadline had to be rescheduled twice. The project was completed in the second quarter of 2013 with a good outcome, but planning could have been better.

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