Could you be a Head of Internal Engagement?

Could you inspire 20,000+ regular volunteers and 4000 paid staff as British Red Cross’ new Head of Internal Engagement?

Today I’ve got something a bit different for you. I heard about this interesting new role at British Red Cross and wanted to find out more about it.

Every week companies place job adverts on the All Things IC website and I’ve noticed engagement is increasingly appearing in job titles for professional communicators.

But what about internal engagement?

What’s the difference and why is it important?  

To find out, I asked British Red Cross Executive Director of Communications & Engagement Zoe Abrams.

She told me: “The symbol of the Red Cross is one of the world’s most recognisable and most powerful emblems. It stands for neutral and impartial help to the people who most need it, in times of crisis, so that they can recover and get back on their feet.

“British Red Cross is proud to be part of the global Red Cross humanitarian movement, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies both overseas and here in the UK.

“Our humanitarian work is principally delivered by volunteers and has been for almost 150 years. The enthusiasm, energy, commitment and service of our volunteers sustain the movement, and we have many paid staff too, including in our large and versatile Communications Directorate.

An extraordinary year

“2017 was an extraordinary year for us. We had a high-profile role giving help and support and raising funds after the terror attacks in Manchester and London Bridge and following the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in London.

Across these three emergencies alone we supported over 2,000 people in need and raised over £25million for those affected, including through the One Love Manchester concert hosted by Ariana Grande, of which we were a key part.

Keeping volunteers informed and engaged

“As a result we are front-of-mind in the UK public consciousness in a new way and this has inspired a new wave of volunteers to sign up with us.

“They join the incredible 60,000 people who volunteered for us in one way or another last year – from helping frail, elderly people live independently to giving emergency first aid; in our network of retail shops and community fundraisers; to online mapping of new ‘refugee cities’ in Bangladesh via our digital Missing Maps project.

“To help keep all our volunteers and staff across the UK informed and engaged with what is happening across our network, including the huge impact of our work, is absolutely crucial for us.

Understanding how we are helping at a local and national level is what our people find most motivating and inspiring. After all, the reason they signed up to volunteer with us is to make a difference.

So why Internal Engagement?

“Having previously had a Head of Internal Communications we decided to make the change to Internal Engagement for 2018 to send an important signal.

This is because we recognise that it is our people who make us great, and when our internal audiences are most positively and actively engaged with our mission and values,  that we will  make the most difference for people in crisis.

If communications is an activity, engagement is the outcome.

“We like to say that the job of the Internal Engagement team at British Red Cross is to build and sustain our UK humanitarian movement from the inside out.

“To do this, the Head of Internal Engagement leads a team of eight, who between them own and deliver our internal communications channels including an intranet, an emailing app and an internal magazine.

“They are also key in managing our internal stakeholders and stakeholder channels including volunteers’ regional assemblies, which are organised by our Internal Engagement events staff. They work closely with key internal partners, including the CEO’s office, the Strategic Change Team and the Organisational Development Team to ensure that the strategic development of the British Red Cross is both understood and informed by our people.

Further reading on my blog: Do you have the right skills to do your job? – includes IoIC skills map to help you plot and spot any skills gaps.

Sharing information at British Red Cross

“Knowing that it is social media where many people digest and share information and stories, we want to explore how these sorts of channels might be used more to share content on amongst our network to inspire people to take action. We also want to create digital spaces where we can talk amongst ourselves, asking questions and sharing ideas, to promote conversation and collaboration.

“We also want to get better at measuring engagement. We know it is there – we see it every day, as people go the extra mile to help – but how do we quantify it?  And what will boost it?  Part of the answer lies with understanding our internal audiences better, so we have started some more work looking in close detail at what prompts people to join us, in either a voluntary or paid capacity.

“As you would expect in a voluntary organisation, we try to take a participatory approach in much of what we do.  So the onus is on us to deliver communications that inspire, influence and persuade.

We have adopted a storytelling approach for our communications generally including for our internal communications and want to do much more on this.

How you can get involved

“Please consider applying for this great role with us if you are an amazing communicator with a combination of internal and external communications experience and a solid team management track record.

“You are probably experienced in how digital and social media can deliver internal engagement and have some good ideas about how to measure impact. You need not have had previous experience of communicating with volunteers, as long as you can demonstrate the right attitude and approach for leading communications to our voluntary and very dispersed network.”

If you would like to apply for the Head of Internal Engagement position, it is being advertised until 15 January 2018 and is based in Moorgate, London.

Zoe adds: “We are also looking to recruit to a role within the Internal Engagement team, Internal Communications Manager, which closes on 21 January 2018.”

Thank you very much Zoe.

You can find out more about British Red Cross on Twitter @britishredcross, Facebook and their website.

Find your next comms job

If your new year goals include finding a new comms job, check out the All Things IC jobs page to discover the latest vacancies, including both positions at British Red Cross.

You can advertise jobs for just £99+VAT per week. Find out more and see @AllthingsICjobs on Twitter to keep an eye on the latest vacancies.

Sign up to learn about internal communication

Happy New Year! Have you started planning your year yet?

I’ve got lots of resources to help you have your best year yet, including:

New Year training bonus for comms pros

Looking to invest in comms training this year? Don’t forget my New Year offer runs until the end of this month to save you 20% off an All Things IC Masterclass place in 2018.

Use the code NEWYEARBONUS at the checkout by 30 January 2018.

My Masterclasses cost £499+VAT per person and the price will be going up on 31 January 2018, so act fast to save and benefit from this offer. CIPR and IoIC members can earn CPD from attending one of my classes.

Comms pros from the following organisations have attended one of my Masterclasses:

If you’re looking to boost your skills, confidence and network this year, explore my day-long courses to choose the right one for you.

Thank you for stopping by,


Post author: Rachel Miller.

Disclosure: British Red Cross is a client of All Things IC, as I have the pleasure of working with them.

First published on the All Things IC blog 2 January 2018.

Image credits: British Red Cross.

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