“Cuamm has always tried to pay attention to the person, keep in touch with human resources, take care of them and respect them. Seeking, identifying, welcoming and accompanying, this is the specific mission of the Human Resources sector. Professionality and mission-sharing, flexibility and adaptability are required of those in the field, but it’s all in ‘how’ one stands in front of the experience: it’s opening a door through which to let everything in”. Alessandra Gatta, on a mission from the Padua office in Tanzania, tells how the selection, dispatch and accompaniment of doctors, operators, administrators and logisticians works. So many steps, one big goal: mutual exchange and enrichment. A challenging and difficult privilege.

“Human resource management is complex. Generally, a person needs to fill a specific position; therefore, it is the projects department that notifies the human resources department of the profiles needed in the field. Through this notification we start the process of recruiting and screening resumes. We meet the candidates who seem best suited for the open positions, but also those who we think could fill future positions in the projects. The next step of getting to know people takes place either through collective meetings or individual interviews; the process of getting to know them -which must be reciprocal – is complex and delicate because on the one hand it is necessary to catch the salient features of the candidate, at least the most significant ones, so we explore the motivational area through direct or indirect questions, but also the history, professional experiences, difficulties and personal experiences. On the other hand, it is important to familiarize the candidate with Cuamm’s characteristics, mission and approach.

We conduct individual interviews in twos in order to get different points of view and be more objective; those in front of us may be more or less open, wary or eager to tell their stories; the phase of listening and “suspending judgment” is essential so as not to be influenced by personal feelings. Once the individual interview is concluded, we draw up a personal profile, which is followed by a technical evaluation by colleagues in the projects or administration department. We collect evaluations on the person and proceed to give feedback, always, whether positive or negative. In case of positive feedback, we proceed with the proposal of collaboration. The moment the person accepts, the pre-departure procedures are triggered, i.e. the resource is put in contact with colleagues who deal with the bureaucratic and administrative part related to the visa/work permit, contract and everything else. Before departure, we always organize a training, usually on site. This is a crucial phase because we have to give the person all the practical information and try to get them into the Cuamm world: we are building the basis of a long-term relationship. The departing person has the opportunity to talk to colleagues from all sectors to get the big picture and to those who, in particular, follow the project activities of the headquarters where he or she will be placed. The person receives a kit, a backpack, some t-shirts, a pin, a gown if they are health workers: small items, even symbolic, but important because they show that one is entering the Cuamm family.

During this training, Dante Carraro also cares about getting to know future departures, and this is a valuable moment. Once the human resource arrives in the field, he or she will meet with the country manager who will make an introduction related to specific aspects of context and work and then be placed on the relevant team. At this point, we in human resources remain available for whatever support may be needed, periodically contact people and possibly give tools for conflict management and self-care. We also do field missions, during which we meet people and try to create an informal space where the resource person feels free to open up. Often, he or she may have needs that go beyond the work aspect, which are just as important and require attention”.

Alessandra Gatta, HR manager at Doctors with Africa Cuamm

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