The WHO Country office in São Tomé and Principe organized a 3-day retreat in April 2022 with all staff. The goal was to contribute to maintain an organizational climate conducive to the achievement of better health outcomes. The retreat aimed to highlight the Organization’s values and mission, provide greater integration between the teams and the supervisors, promote internal commitment for achieving better health outcomes, review the previous year’s performance, and project the objectifs and results to be achieved in the current year.
The event was attended by guests to facilitate and discuss important topics for improving the quality of work. Mr. Kizito Nsarhaza, a Strategic Change Manager at the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville coordinated the first two days of the meeting. He presented the results of the Performance Review 360-degree exercise for teamwork with the objective of knowing how staff, partners and leadership perceive the 5 dimensions defined in the tool: WHO values and work environment, effectiveness, quality, cost and management awareness, collaboration, change management and innovation.
Several employees were able to give their impressions about the retreat and the new working methodology used to conduct it:
“Our 2022 retreat had a participatory character that sought to stimulate the free expression of each of us. The open discussion of the results of the 360-degree exercise allowed us to better understand the different aspects of teamwork and to clearly identify how to approach the challenges encountered. It allowed the direct involvement of everyone in a collaborative environment” (Luciana Chagas – PMO STP and CPV – WCOs).
“The 360-degree exercise allowed us to do a reflection on our organizational work culture, highlighting our strengths and areas for improvement. With this, I can now clearly see how and in which areas I can contribute to our team’s strengths and organizational work culture” (Tambudzai Mutale – Partnerships and Resource Mobilization).
“It was a unique experience, because it allowed me to do through this exercise an analysis and self-assessment of the team, regarding our skills, our weaknesses and how to improve our activities in order to achieve our goals and results” (Rhecia Soares Dua – Office Assistant).
“I would like to congratulate the management of the WHO country office in STP for organising this 360-degree exercise, which is a great tool to assess the competencies, skills and behaviours of its employees, involving the contribution of the entire working environment: supervisors, supervisees, collaborators, beneficiaries and suppliers. The exercise allowed us to make a review of activities and a tailor-made planning, adapted to the needs of the organisation, the beneficiaries and the collaborators. All this will allow the organisation and its employees to make significant progress” (Dr Diallo Saikou Yaya Kollet, Consultant Epidemiologist).
“Besides, it is a great tool because it is not only about the results of the team members and the team leader, but also about listening to external partners and seeing how opinions differ. I found it really helpful to work with my team members to reflect on the results and see areas where we could collaborate and improve” (Joanne Lacy – Health Information Specialist).
“Getting this information about how others see us is extremely important for us as staff…. as a team, so that we can identify our strengths and try to maintain them, and identify what are, according to the perception of others, our weaknesses and work on them to get better results” (Dra Claudina Cruz – Head of Program).
“The 360-degree exercise has now allowed us to develop a work plan that will be followed in the coming months to improve our team’s performance. It was a very nice way to be positive about the way we were and are seen by our partners, and in a very neutral and effective way to be able to discuss among ourselves about our competence and performance as a team. I think it is also a good tool for team building, to be used by all WHO colleagues, UN colleagues, and others who want to take advantage of it” (Dr Anne Ancia – Representative).
The WHO office in São Tomé and Principe was the first in the African continent to organize this exercise. As next steps, work plans will be developed to improve the quality of team work based on the main aspects pointed out by the tool.
The third day of the meeting addressed the aspects of taking into account gender in the activities, and the cooperative projects and the strategic points of the inter-agency activities, presented respectively by Ms. Elisabete Azevedo, the United Nations Gender Focal Point in STP and Mr. Erik Overvest, the new Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in the country, . The retreat ended with working groups to present the main results that each team member contributed to achieve in 2021 and their commitments to be achieve in 2022.
WHO in STP believes that better achievements of health outcomes is directly linked to the commitments of its employees. A good way to promote these commitments is to enable team development and improvement.