NSPCC revamps learning strategy, with child wellbeing at its heart
The NSPCC’s mission is to prevent abuse and neglect. The landscape of safeguarding children has changed significantly in recent years. The arrival of COVID-19 made reaching and supporting vulnerable children, while their needs and risks were rising, all the more challenging. However, the pandemic also presented an opportunity for the NSPCC to innovate and test new ways of working, with digitalising workforce learning being a key example. The NSPCC looked to implement a learning strategy that would enable it to give the best possible care to as many children as possible within this ‘new normal’, and well into the future. With a mixture of paid employees and volunteers across the organisation — from managing apprenticeships to inducting ChildLine volunteers to prepare them to answer calls from young people — NSPCC’s learning needs were broad, and it was important for the new learning strategy to be and feel as inclusive as possible.
The NSPCC has been working with Cornerstone for around nine years. However, it was the pandemic that propelled forward its overhaul of the organisation’s approach to learning and development. Pulse surveys had shown that employees had felt that the charity’s approach to learning was a ‘postcode lottery,’ with some areas of the organisation having greater access to resources than others. Many employees also saw learning in a traditional ‘classroom-style’ sense.
Instead, the NSPCC wanted to roll out a system whereby employees and volunteers had equal access to the relevant learning solutions and were able to self-direct their own learning journeys.
The NSPCC wanted to leverage a system that would provide greater understanding of the organisation’s skills, knowledge, and capability gaps. Identifying these gaps would enable the NSPCC to offer targeted learning to those who needed it, as well as ensure consistent and up-to-date knowledge existed across all employees and volunteers.
The NSPCC sought a learning solution that would be easily available and accessible to all, and that kept it true to its purpose – providing the best possible support to children through a highly skilled and capable workforce.
Improvements in EDI initiatives: The NSPCC’s mandatory unconscious bias training was launched in 2020 and has since seen a 99% completion rate. The NSPCC also adopted a 360 appraisal for its leaders whereby feedback is given on their inclusive leadership behaviours. This feedback then forms part of their annual performance review, incentivising progress and creating leaders who listen and learn.
Shortened timeline for ChildLine induction training: The previous induction training model was localised and resource-heavy. Instead, the NSPCC centralised its model to deliver training that was of higher quality, more digestible and slashed delivery timeframes. Volunteers can now complete training online at times to suit them. A Volunteer Hub was also created to inspire a learning community amongst volunteers.
Increased workforce engagement: An emotional resilience course delivered by training partners LEVELheaded has so far been completed by over 629 staff members, with one employee claiming it was “one of the most useful workshops” they had ever taken part in. Supporting people to build their resilience toolkit is an important part of the people development wellness approach at the NSPCC, and 94% of employees said they were aware of the tools and resources available to support them. This includes an open-source mindfulness platform created by Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist Alex James.
Manager Development Programme: This new values and behaviours programme for all managers across the NSPCC looks to enable, equip and empower managers to manage in a consistent ’NSPCC way’. This enables the NSPCC to deliver its strategy through its people, with managers as the lynchpins of people engagement.
Apprenticeships: The NSPCC has seen an 800% increase in the number of apprenticeships started in 2021 compared to previous years. True to its value of ‘working together’ the NSPCC collaborated with others in the sector firstly to trailblaze a Fundraising apprenticeship and now seeks to create a new Volunteer Management apprenticeship.
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Learning and development strategies must continue to evolve in the ever-changing world of work. Training and development provide employees with a softer landing into change, and the introduction of digital learning and development platforms allowed employees a smoother transition into a new style of work.
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