Giving Compass' Take:

• Here are three steps for leaders at global organizations to respond to COVID-19 and ensure that their employees are being taken care of during this time. 

• How will ensuring employee health lead to overall increased nonprofit effectiveness? How can donors support global organizations and their leaders?

• Read how funders can help nonprofits weather the coronavirus. 

Countless global organizations—whether nonprofits coordinating volunteers across remote areas of the globe, corporations employing factory workers on multiple continents, or government agencies staffing diplomatic postings abroad—continue to worry about the well-being of their staff and the continuity of their operations in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our own organization, Global Press, knows this worry first hand. In our work operating more than 40 news bureaus from Mongolia to Zimbabwe, we face a constant onslaught of global crises. On a given day, our reporters might witness violence among armed groups (Mexico), face overnight devaluation of bank balances (Zimbabwe), or endure a stifling curfew and internet ban (Indian-Administered Kashmir). We’ve also faced multiple outbreaks of the Ebola virus around our bureaus in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Weathering these disruptions has taught us an important lesson on how to respond to the coronavirus: The most effective way to care for our team members’ physical and mental well-being is to tailor our actions to their local contexts.

This lesson might sound obvious, but its execution is anything but. Indeed, leaders may be tempted to send clear, uniform guidelines to staff everywhere to reassure them that headquarters has a plan. That doesn’t work. Glossing over differences in local contexts ignores the value of local team members’ insights and the need to support their well-being. Generic guidance at best will be ignored and could even diminish trust.

Instead, there are three steps every global organization should take in response to the coronavirus crisis to support each of their team members. Although we’ve learned these lessons over the last 14 years of crisis response, we believe organizations can implement them quickly to both deal with COVID-19 now and build resilience for the future.

  • Step 1: Gather Accurate Local Pictures of the Crisis
  • Step 2: Focus on Team Members’ Mental Health and Well-Being
  • Step 3: Heed Local Constraints and Priorities

Read the full article about leading a global organizations through a crisis by  Laxmi Parthasarathy & Cristi Hegranes at Stanford Social Innovation Review.