Our staff is our first concern | Enabel - Belgian Development Agency

Our staff is our first concern

Divider text here
" From a human resources perspective, managing the pandemic involved a host of challenges. Besides the need to ensure the safety of our staff, it was equally important to support our teams and strengthen the bonds between them."

Martine Brisse, HR Director

Enabel's HR unit sprang into action very quickly. It setup a crisis unit in Brussels as early as the beginning of January. Its role was to organise communication on prevention and barrier gestures, to ensure the teams, both in Belgium and abroad, could receive reliable information as quickly as possible and organise accordingly. Later, when the Covid-19 was officially declared a pandemic, Enabel went on to set up crisis units in each country.


As soon as the pandemic became widespread, the issue of repatriation began to emerge. Initially, repatriations took place on a voluntary basis. Very soon, however, they were extended to all non-essential personnel. Unfortunately, the agency still suffered two deaths in the field: staff members who were too far away to reach quickly.

Psychological support

In response to the many questions and the understandable concern of the employees,Enabel also set up a psychological support service with the help of external partners. In addition to this support, a crisis units remained active around the clock to answer questions from staff members as quickly as possible and to find solutions to any problems that arose.

Switching to teleworking

In Brussels and in our partner countries, Enabel quickly decided to shift to teleworking. The support of the IT team was vital in tackling this challenge. In each partner country, an HR officer took care of the follow-up. Like many organisations, the cooperation agency did not hesitate to shift a little from 'normal' working hours, so that everyone, especially parents, could organise their lives as easily as possible.

In Belgium, personnel briefly went back to the office in July, on a two-day a week basis. In October, it switched back to full-time teleworking, and Enabel decided to keep this arrangement until the crisis is resolved.

Keeping in touch

With teleworking comes the question of preserving the bonds between the teams. Several online activities were organised to stay in touch. This includes professional activities, but also socio-cultural and recreational ones. On a professional level, there is an online event every two weeks called "We are Enabel". This is a virtual meeting where everyone can participate and exchange on success stories, on how to continue the programmes...

A positive assessment

Enabel can be quite proud of what was achieved in 2020: the agency was able to anticipate, and was therefore ready each time to act quickly to ensure the continuity of work and protect the teams. The HR and Covid teams did a fantastic job, but we must also highlight the extraordinary motivation of the employees: it is because of that motivation that Enabel was able to continue its activities under the best possible conditions.


Divider text here
Keep up-to-date with our latest activities and with international development trends from a Belgian perspective.