Being a leader or staff member of Hillsong Africa requires a higher level of accountability and general lifestyle expectations, as we aim to please God and live without blame before others (1 Tim 3). Our communities and Church look to us as an example of how to follow Christ and be transformed by Him. Though we don’t expect people to be perfect, we do require you to be committed to becoming more like Jesus and being accountable. This means that we are open to feedback that will help provide correction & realignment whilst creating safe places where concerns can be raised without victimising those who courageously provide feedback. We work through and resolve disputes on a case-by-case basis following a restorative approach, seeking to provide care and support for all involved.
Scripture provide guidance on our general approach:
- Matt 5:24 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him,
- James 1:19-21 First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
- Eph 4:15-16 …speaking the truth in love…
- Matt 18:15-17 Reconciliation is progressive in nature, from one-on-one to getting others and the church involved
We believe in and expect the best of each other.
That means: We seek to create an environment of trust and safety; We hold open and honest conversations with positive intent; We always act in love and grace, in all relationships; We do not take offence, but seek to understand each other better; We seek to draw the gold out of each other; We are each other’s greatest cheerleaders
We operate with healthy, humble, honest communication and feedback.
Jesus was crucified, so we don’t crucify each other.
That means: Feedback is welcomed and encouraged; We give feedback with love, wisdom and grace; The focus of our feedback is to improve what we’re working on; We check our intent before we give feedback; We listen and respond, rather than react when we receive feedback; We’re not afraid to apologise when we get something wrong
We don’t sweep things under the carpet.
That means: We don’t avoid issues that need to be challenged or addressed but at the right time, with love and grace we address it; With wisdom we keep confidentiality while recognising the legal and moral obligations of every situation; When things go wrong, we deal with them openly and honestly and we don’t take criticism personally.
We have a big vision, we work hard and we sometimes make mistakes. We do not like making mistakes, but we recognise that in a growing organisation mistakes will happen.
That means: We acknowledge and fix mistakes quickly; We learn from our mistakes; We deal with our mistakes with love and with grace.
What is not ok: Sweeping mistakes under the carpet; Consistently violating lifestyle expectations; Repeated and unrepentant moral failure; We recognise that each situation is unique, with context and background that we may not see at first. We seek to understand. We strive to make wise decisions.
If we are made aware of concerns or grievances regarding any leader or staff member, that are not aligned to biblical principles, our code of conduct and/or cultural standards, the following procedure is available to help bring alignment in a supportive, safe and honest environment. Tension in human relationships are inevitable but inappropriate behaviour, actions, situations or decisions that are unfair or unjustified, perceived or real, should be addressed.
The grievance team is a small team, that includes representatives from our Pastoral, HR, and Pastors Team, who are trained to deal with grievances and concerns and are mature in their ability to listen and stay objective, whilst activating resolution.
Their key responsibilities include:
- Be a safe place to bring concerns without being judged
- Activate resolution (this will look different for every situation but the goal would be to bring alignment to our values and standards).
- Document process
- Raise patterns with our leadership team to ensure we offer adequate training and development, as well as support to our team
The Grievance Process
We want to continue be a healthy team where we all flourish in our God-given callings. Creating safe spaces and equipping our staff team with the right tools and resources, will help us in this endeavour.
The following process was designed to help us to navigate this well:
Where possible address any concerns directly to the person(s) involved. Alternatively speak to your oversight; a member of the grievance team or to a leader you trust. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or submit a grievance form, as found on our staff guide.
Inform Grievance Team
The grievance team records concerns for accountability and advise on the next steps. Where possible and appropriate a member of the grievance team will equip team to resolve grievances directly and continue offering support. If the person doesn’t feel comfortable talking to the person(s) involved, or they tried and it was ineffective in resolving the concern, or if the grievance is of a more serious or sensitive nature, the grievance process will be activated.
All Grievances will be reviewed with discretion and sensitivity by our Grievance team. Based on the information available a member of the grievance team will be assigned to check in and guide the person through the process.
Depending on the situation, either a informal or formal approach will be adopted to address the concerns and take appropriate actions.
After care and follow up will be provided after the agreed upon actions have been taken. This support will depend on the situation and needs of the people involved.
All Grievances will be reviewed with discretion and sensitivity by our Grievance team. The following guidelines will help address grievances, but can be adapted on a case by case basis, depending on the nature of the grievance and the person(s) involved:
- based on the information provided, a member of the grievance team will set up a meeting (in person/telephonically/zoom) to explain the grievance process, discuss the concerns raised and provide appropriate support and care. If the person doesn’t feel comfortable with the grievance team member or they can not effectively help navigate the grievance, another more appropriate person will be assigned.
- based on the initial meeting and the grievance team member’s discretion, the most appropriate process will be adopted. This could be either an informal or a formal procedure.
This involve a range of informal actions, to resolve the grievance with
permission from the person making the complaint, such as:
- the Grievance team member might discuss the issue with the person against whom the complaint is made;
- the Grievance team member might facilitate a meeting between the parties in an attempt to resolve the issue and move forward.
Many personal grievances are able to be resolved through the informal procedure. However, in circumstances where the Grievance team member considers the informal procedure to not be appropriate, and the grievance is more serious, the grievance may be escalated to the formal procedure.
Where the informal procedure is not sufficient it might require a formal investigation and a possible disciplinary inquiry depending on the situation. Generally the complaint will be discussed with the person against whom the concern was made and they would be given a letter to attend an Inquiry.
- If necessary, in dealing with serious concerns, the person might be suspended during the investigation period. The investigation generally involves collecting information about the grievance and when appropriate, presenting those findings as part of a formal inquiry. Once a finding is made, the Grievance team member or an external investigator will make recommendations about the grievance.
Where all parties to the grievance agree that mediation may be appropriate in resolving the grievance, the grievance may be referred to an external mediator.
- Work will continue as normal (when appropriate) while a personal grievance is being dealt with. And we trust that all parties involved will work towards bringing resolution.
- With the desire for creating a safe place for feedback, serious action will be taken against any person who victimises or retaliates against someone who is involved in a grievance.
- The Representative will endeavour to maintain confidentiality as far as possible. However, it may be necessary to speak with others in order to determine what happened, to afford fairness to tall parties and resolve the grievance. We trust anyone involved will also highly value confidentiality while stewarding sensitive information.
- The parties may include an appropriate support person on staff during the grievance meetings.
The outcome will be based on the nature and circumstances unique to each grievance and the associated corrective action required to bring restitution. In situations where biblical principles, our code of conduct and/or our culture standards were dishonoured, serious corrective action could include termination following the appropriate procedure. In every part of the process we will continue to offer care and support, with a desire for reconciliation when at all possible.
We want to be continuously mindful of our team’s overall wellness and we understand from time to time, in more full seasons, some extra breathe and refresh days will help. Oversights can recommend team to take these days, or team can discuss taking refresh days according to what is needed. 3 days a year are available and similar to family leave, will not be carried over.
Seek to understand and acknowledge that you are listening. We take grievances seriously regardless of who is making the grievance or against whom concerns are raised.
Be a safe person.
Do not jump to conclusions and judge anyone involved in the situation, as we only see in part and our response is always to love first. There are always different perspectives and though we want to support the person bringing the concern, we also want to believe the best about those we work with. Our rash response can be damaging to the situation, so stay calm and impartial.
*Adequate information enables a diligent investigation to ultimately bring about restitution and healing for all parties involved. It is not to victimise or bully people in any way and our desire is to provide safe places for all people.