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IoIC Live '16: Red Cross Map to success

Very few people want to read a corporate strategy – which means that not many will come away from it understanding their own role in the way ahead.

At the British Red Cross this was a real challenge as, in addition to 4,000 staff, there are 26,000 volunteers to get engaged, all of whom could just walk away at any moment.

IoIC Gold Award winner Helen Schick was at IoIC Live to explain how the charity fought this by enabling people to see a role for themselves in the organization’s plans.

“Not everyone needs to know everything,” she said, explaining: “Offering a genuine way for them to contribute to the objectives is crucial to building an engaged workforce and achieving your strategic goals.”

She joked that she had the project put into perspective when she told her six-year-old daughter of the challenge of passing on a strategy to lots of people.

“She asked ‘Is it a story?’ and I said ‘Yes’, which was good. Then she asked ‘Is it short?’ – well, it was 157 pages long. ‘Is it funny?’ – not really. ‘Has it got pictures?’ – er, no.”

To a room full of laughter, Helen said it was at that point she realised it was key that different people would take different things from the strategy. “The next leap was to work out how to get across what we wanted from each person.”

The award-winning answer was Refusing To Ignore People In A Crisis, a road map showing both aims and challenges.

“We wanted something that would make sense to our executive leadership team but was also of interest to someone who works in one of our shops for a couple of hours a week,” explained Helen.

The lengthy strategy document was broken down into six areas:

  • Work in the UK
  • Global work
  • Funding
  • Our people
  • Technology, and
  • Our voice (advocacy)

“Within each section we gave three headline things we wanted to achieve over the next five years,” said Helen. “The idea was not for people to remember everything but they would pick out two or three things relevant to them.”

Refusing To Ignore People In A Crisis then spread the word via:

  • Z-cards – people could fold out the road map themselves and find out about it in their own way.
  • Meeting in a box – a digital information pack used by teams. It showed the journey and let them make sense of it. Designed for use by up to 200 people, it could also be used by four or five in Red Cross offices and shops.
  • National assembly - 900 staff and volunteers gathered in Brighton and the event was based on the road map, with a marketplace where they could find out all they needed and contribute their own ideas and suggestions.

The campaign was launched in January and by summer awareness among staff was 96%.
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