5 Things We Do to Build a Positive Work Culture in Haiti

Written by Jessica Ciccarello, Hope for Haiti’s Director of Employee Experience and Administration

Offering a positive work culture is just as important as offering other benefits such as health insurance, time off and PTO.  While benefits provide an added bonus for employees, a positive work culture helps employees to feel not only satisfied in their work, but engaged.  There is no cookie-cutter version of a positive work culture.  Just as organizations and workforces are unique, so too are positive work cultures, always evolving to meet the needs of your employees.  Here are five ways that Hope for Haiti builds a positive work culture in Haiti:

  1. Annual All-Staff Retreat
    • Each year Hope for Haiti hosts an all-staff retreat where we come together to celebrate our successes as an organization and the impact each employee has had on helping to fulfill our mission of improving the lives of Haitians, especially children.  We do this through storytelling, skill building, team activities and site visits.  The retreat provides an opportunity for all staff to interact and get to know each other better across offices, departments and countries. 
  2. Professional Development
    • One of the most frequent requests from employees is the opportunity to learn more.  There are always new things to learn in our program areas of Education, Healthcare, Clean Water, Infrastructure and Economy.  Hope for Haiti provides each staff member with one professional development opportunity each fiscal year.  Professional development has included everything from creating child-friendly classrooms to performing cervical cancer screenings to attending conferences that empower female entrepreneurs.  These opportunities allow employees to grow and to continue to improve the quality of our programs. 
  3. Invest in Technology for Communication
    • Working in Haiti requires a lot of patience and flexibility, especially when it comes to working with technology.  With constantly changing power sources (public electricity to inverters to generators) and uncertainty of internet strength (Is the wind blowing too hard today?), we have to get creative in how we communicate.  Whether it’s through WhatsApp messaging, phone calls or Google Chat, we have invested in the technology needed so that we can communicate clearly and quickly.  
  4. 5×15 Meetings
    • Hope for Haiti uses the concept of the 5-15 Report, made known by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia.  Often our work takes us into the field and away from a desk.  The 5×15 meetings allow employees and managers to sit together to recap the week.  Employees take 15 minutes to write down their goals and accomplishments and then share those with their supervisors.  These meetings keep communication flowing between employees and supervisors and make sure that information is shared with all employees.  This keeps employees and supervisors engaged, connected and informed.
  5. Core Values
    • We keep our core values at the center of everything we do.  Ask anyone at Hope for Haiti what our core values are and they will tell you.  More importantly, ask them how they live our core values and they will show you.

We look forward to continuing to provide a positive work culture at Hope for Haiti.  In fiscal year 2020 we will be developing a Culture Committee and a Culture Statement.  What are some of your favorite workplace perks?