Recognition has been identified – not least of which through the 2001 and 2005 Emergency Management Volunteers Summits – as being of paramount importance to emergency management volunteers. In short, it is the crucial contribution made to the safety and wellbeing of the Australian community that must be recognised. The four key groups that should be recognised are: the sector; organisations; local units; and individuals. Recognition is sought by government, business, community, the media and of course, by the organisations themselves.
Means of recognition are incredibly broad and include funding/sponsorship, awards, inclusion in policy development and implementation, public statements acknowledging outstanding work, etc. These are all public and rather formal means of recognition. However organisations must also ensure that the more private and informal “pat on the back” is embraced by managers as a valued and significant form of recognition for volunteers.
In addition to recognising volunteers themselves, the people who support their efforts – family, friends, schools and employers – must also be recognised. They make personal and business sacrifices so that volunteers can serve their community.
Key Areas for Development
- Identification of what emergency management volunteers mean by ‘recognition’. Unless established, well-meaning recognition programs and initiatives, whilst appear to be effective, may in fact be missing the mark for the volunteers themselves.
- Identification of the means of recognition already available. This includes initiatives by government, business, community and the media. Importantly, many organisations have excellent recognition systems in place and these systems should be shared throughout the sector. See results of recent study here.
- Support for implementing best practice in recognition at a national level and across all states and territories.