4ec672f05432aFrom 17 until 20 September, the Bi-Annual General Meeting of the Europaischer Verband Freikirchlicher Diakoniewerke (EVFD) took place in Leichlingen, Germany.

EVFD is a network of diaconal organisations with 28 members spread out across European countries; this year, they gathered to discuss the balancing act between securing financial sustainability and upholding diaconal values in the contemporary landscape of service provision.

One of the keynote speakers, Professor Heinz Lohmann, emphasised the need to develop a stronger client-oriented approach and to exploit the potential of the latest technology. The latter would create more space for staff to concentrate on their “real mission”. He also recommended that diaconal actors expand their networks, strengthen their bonds and consider developing new products together in the future.

A second speaker, Hubertus von Stein, who is a board member of the xpand-foundation in Dortmund, added that showing appreciation is not only important towards clients, but also towards the staff. Managers need to know the strengths of their colleagues, not shy away from constructive criticism, be able to present achieved outcomes through measurable data, and define goals in a transparant way.

According to Von Stein, the first hour when a new employee starts with an organisation or institution is of great importance in making him or her feel welcome within the team.

The next meeting of the EVFD will take place from 14 until 17 September 2017 in Zurich, Switzerland.

For more information, please contact Stephan Burger.