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Nov16WedPeople are at the heart of everything we do. November 16, 2022 by Colonel Evie Diaz
- Filed Under:
- Opinion & Critical Thought
Our people are one of The Salvation Army’s greatest strengths. Everything we do revolves around our people and the people we serve. Our territorial mission statement emphasizes our commitment to people: “The Salvation Army exists to share the love of Jesus Christ and meet human needs.” It’s our mission to love people and that includes those who work with us as officers, employees and volunteers.
As such, it would be shortsighted not to acknowledge the trend sweeping across Canada—that in the midst of a prolonged pandemic, workers are taking stock and reassessing priorities. Some are facing stressful work environments and burnout, and are simply walking away. In contrast, various sectors are struggling to find and retain workers.
The Salvation Army is not exempt from this trend. The second pillar of our territorial strategy, “Design for People,” could not be more meaningful or timely. We want to invest in our people by first understanding the pressures and influences in these days.
People are questioning themselves beyond the choice to leave or stay and reflecting on the larger story of their lives, asking questions such as: “What makes my family happy and whole? Am I fulfilling the plan God has for me? Am I satisfied?”
While it is not The Salvation Army that can answer these questions, as an organization, we have an obligation to recognize the need for change and evolve to meet the needs of our people in the ways we recruit, retain, invest in and develop officers, employees, Salvationists, volunteers and community partners.
We are looking at ways we can appeal to more people to become officers, through a renewed recruitment strategy that is in line with how people connect with ministry today, including designing innovative opportunities called pathways to serve.
As we have celebrated a new season of cadets joining the College for Officer Training, we look forward to a fresh spirit of joy and enthusiasm as they prepare for officership. A refreshed training college curriculum, with flexible training options, allows us to create person-specific training programs, recognizing the experience and education of those who are and will become officers in training. This curriculum will continue to include accredited biblical and theological education and will also identify new, contextually and culturally relevant, field-training experiences.
In addition, we will emphasize being a welcoming and inclusive movement by prioritizing improved staffing practices and overall experience through:
• A commitment to equity, diversity, justice and inclusion (EDJI) in plan and action.
• Improved, people-centric staffing practices.
• New, dynamic ways for people to signal their interest in growth and leadership.
• New development opportunities.
• People systems that are executed in a consistent, standard, efficient and high-quality manner.
• Systems that are easy to use and viewed as efficient, insightful and valuable supports for managers, officers, employees and volunteers.
• A renewed recruitment strategy and candidate materials.
• Bringing the front line to the forefront as we build our future state.
If it sounds exciting, that’s because it is! If it sounds too good to be true, let me be the first to assure you, it isn’t! Granted, some of these initiatives may not roll out until 2024, but be assured there are task forces and workstreams dedicated to their fruition and success, and I am personally committed to seeing them through.
This is how we will evolve as an agile, growing and sustainable movement—by championing our people and putting them at the centre of everything we do, with the continued commitment to our mission and vision.
Colonel Evie Diaz is the chief secretary for the Canada and Bermuda Territory.
Illustration: Rivonny Luchas
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