RNLI rewards staff with educational opportunities

Date01 September 2007
Publication Date01 September 2007
AuthorMarie Smith
SubjectHR & organizational behaviour
12 Volume 6 Issue 6 September/October 2007
Short case studies that demonstrate best practice in rewards
RNLI rewards staff with
educational opportunities
Centre, brings the full spectrum of RNLI
training together under one roof.
Why Adult Learners’ Week?
The organization is constantly looking
for new ways to engage and utilize in-
house expertise while recognizing and
growing the skills and talents of
individuals. Adult Learners’ Week, an
annual event in the UK that took place
from 21 to 25 May this year, offered the
RNLI an opportunity to achieve this
while engaging its staffin the
excitement of learning new subjects in a
fun, motivating and cost-effective way.
In 2005, the charity marked National
Learning At Work Day, which is part of
Adult Learners’ Week, by facilitating job
swaps between the organization’s
training department and hotel service
provider Aramark at the charity’s 60-
bedroom residential facility, which is
part of the RNLI’s Lifeboat College in
Poole. The job swaps resulted in
increased mutual understanding and
appreciation between the two teams,
particularly in terms of working
together to provide a seamless service
to customers.
Due to the success of the scheme, a
small team of RNLI staffvolunteered to
develop an innovative and exciting
program for Adult Learners’ Week in
2006. It offered work-shadowing
opportunities within a wider group, and
the charity also conducted research into
the feasibility of running free learning
events called Lite Bites over the
lunchtime period.
Cost was key
In keeping with the organization’s
voluntaryethos, the challenge was to
offer all opportunities on a cost-neutral
basis, so the RNLI invited a number of
known talented people within the
organization to design and deliver free
hour-long Lite Bite events over
lunchtime on a voluntarybasis.
Following an enthusiastic response, a
program of nine diverse events, ranging
from card making to learning to speak
Chinese, werearranged and publicized.
Twenty-five percent of RNLI staff
attended, and the overall feedback
received was verypositive. Comments
following the 2006 program included:
• “I particularly liked the fact that staff
ran the sessions, sharing their
knowledge with us. This session was
wonderful. I did not want to leave.” –
From an attendee of the Digital
Photography Lite Bite.
• “Fantastic session – had some superb
insights into jobs which at first sound
daunting but are actually quite
simple.” – From an attendee of the
Basics of Car Mechanics Lite Bite.
he Royal National Lifeboat
Institution (RNLI) is a UK-based
charity that saves lives at sea and
provides a rescue service off the coast of
the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The
organization aims to be an employer of
choice for talented people and places
staff development as a top priority.
The charity relies not only on the
money raised by its fundraisers and
donors, but also on the generosity of its
staffin terms of their time. Only 10
percent of the organization is made up
of paid staff, with the remaining 90
percent consisting of volunteers.
Therefore, two of the RNLI’s people-
focused strategic objectives are:
1.To maintain and develop an ethos
of volunteering.
2.To maintain sufficient numbers and
quality of volunteers and staff for
recruitment and retention.
The RNLI’s HR strategy addresses these
goals by aiming to maximize the
potential of staff while reflecting the
charity’s volunteer ethos. This strategy is
aligned closely with the RNLI’sapproach
to training and development for its
volunteers and staff. Education and
training areintegral to the work of the
charity, and its Lifeboat College strongly
supports this. The purpose-built facility,
which includes a dedicated Survival
The RNLI’s training and development manager, Marie Smith, explains why the charity took part in Adult
Learners’ Week in the UK in May this year, and how creating a fun and inspiring program of activities and job
shadowing opportunities was beneficial and rewarding for staff.
© Melcrum publishing 2007.For more information visit our website www.melcrum.com or e-mail info@melcrum.com

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