The Children’s Trust is the UK’s leading charity for children with brain injury. It supports hundreds of children and families across the country every year by providing rehabilitation to children with acquired brain injury at the organisations’ national specialist centre in Tadworth, Surrey.
This helps children make the best recovery possible after a serious accident or illness. The centre is also home to the majority of the organisation’s 500 employees.
There are additional charity-funded posts in Nottingham Children’s Hospital and Sheffield Children’s Hospital, as well 23 charity shops.
In order to ensure all staff and volunteers are engaged, and that communications are cost-efficient and timely, The Children’s Trust has just launched a new intranet called The Loop. Based on Interact’s hosted intranet software, The Children’s Trust was awarded the platform free of charge in a competition for charities. (The intranet was already in their thinking despite Interact’s competition.)
Above: The homepage of The Loop
Armed with a mission statement, of “connect, communicate and collaborate”, The Loop is a lively, interactive and colourful environment which reflects the energy and strong commitment of staff and volunteers.
On the home page there is an extensive use of images in the form of icons and photos, as well as a range of people-centred content in the form of news focusing on employee activities. There are also a number of social features including an activity stream, a “what we think” section surfacing employee blogs, a list of social events and an invitation for employees to give their opinions.
The Loop has its own colourful logo, which incorporates the butterfly from The Children’s Trust main logo, but overall the home page has a slightly different feel from the organisation’s corporate logo.
Michelle Baillie, Senior Communications & Marketing Officer, comments “The Loop is informative and fun – it’s got a nice balance of content, images and bright colours which enable us to include both formal and informal content and messaging alongside each other. As a charity we’re using more fresh, modern and active language and The Loop is playing a key part in rolling this out across the organisation.”
In creating an environment which is “easy to use, informative, professional and fun” it was essential to involve users in the design and implementation phases.
Michelle Baillie explains “User engagement throughout the whole process of developing and implementing our intranet was key. We wanted our staff to feel they had been involved and could take a certain amount of ownership for the technology because it met the needs they had identified through the demonstrations and consultations we initially ran.”
Part of this process was what has become known as the “chocolate survey” where randomly selected names from a hat won chocolate in exchange for answering some questions about the new intranet.
Michelle says “We asked users a series of questions to gauge what would be important to them and also offering them the opportunity of suggesting a name for the intranet. We had around 100 responses to the survey and 118 name suggestions.
“To further extend engagement, all staff were asked to vote on their favourite suggestion after our core working group shortlisted the names down to a top ten. Just over 300 people did. This process neatly coincided with our lunchtime Christmas dinners so we had a captive audience and we were able to officially announce the name fresh for the new year!”
Additional communications helped to create a buzz prior to launch. This included mentions in the regular weekly update from the chief executive, a teaser poster campaign reinforced by email and publicity about the new name. On launch day there was even a fancy dress party for both staff and children, where The Loop was demoed to over 150 staff in four hours.
Although it is still early days, feedback about the intranet has been very positive. One nurse manager commented “The Loop which has already made my life at work much easier” while a member of The Children’s Trust Senior Leadership Team said “This is a terrific addition to our communication resources and has had a really positive impact on our organisation already in the short time since launch. It helps us to share more of the huge breadth of what we do with each other, celebrate and learn.”
All images courtesy of The Children’s Trust. My thanks go to Michelle Baillie for all her help in preparing this case study.