Cousin Island staff in a souvenir photo
There has been a lot of discussion regarding payment of a13 month salary to employees of the civil service. For Nature Seychelles this is not a new concept. The Cousin island Special Reserve Scheme of Service states that a 13 month salary is provided when a Reserve staff has performed well and agrees to sign a new annual contract.
“We have had this system in place for about 8 years and it is a great incentive because it is based on performance, and the signing of a new contract becomes something of mutual benefit and not just something automatic,” says Eric Blais, Cousin Island Reserve Coordinator.
Tourists arriving on Cousin Island photo by Liam Martin
“The 13 month salary and other incentives in place build staff fidelity to our conservation work, to Cousin Island Special Reserve as a work place, and to Nature Seychelles as the employer,” Alex Underwood, the Assistant Chief Warden on Cousin adds.
Often times we forget that it is people who work to protect the environment for people. Many environmentalists, in Seychelles and elsewhere, may get caught up in saving wildlife and do not really include building employment and staffing in the environmental equation. This defeats the purpose of environmental protection.
Nature Seychelles has lived by a maxim often repeated by its Chief Executive, Nirmal Jivan Shah: “Conservation is as much about people as it is about biodiversity”. For that reason it has put in place many actions and programs to work with people and to ensure that its projects generate employment.
The 13 month salary has proven to be a great incentive for the staff working on Cousin photo by Liam Martin
As part of this longstanding policy stance the organization may be the only Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in the country to focus strongly on staffing issues.
“Our staff are essential pillars for the successful implementation of projects of national and international importance. That’s why our internal policies are people-friendly and go far beyond only financial remuneration,” says Ms. Kerstin Henri, Nature Seychelles’ Special Operations Director. “Our actions for our employees include maintaining an interesting, interactive, and learning-oriented work environment. Our core staff operate like members of a successful sports team, because we all share the same vision, which is delivery of action- oriented results (for conservation).”