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Motivating the RNLI's lifesaving family

Episode 4

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Series 1, Episode 4 – RNLI

Work Happy Podcast: Episode 4

There are few endeavours more noble than saving lives on our coastlines, so looking after your staff and nurturing the family spirit is a key contributor to the success of a lifesaving charity such as the RNLI.

For an organisation which has historically relied on working in person, the task of strengthening their internal communications required bold, fun initiatives from Internal Communications Manager Jessica Noble, and Internal Comms Officer Hayley Johnston.

Find out how RNLI’s weekly film update, wellbeing campaign, increased use of Yammer, and jovial content has brought the RNLI family together like never before.

This episode covers

  • How RNLI’s internal comms directed the business through uncertainty
  • Positive reception for the charity’s weekly film update
  • RNLI’s 3 most important principles, and their One Crew pledge
  • Keeping internal communications fun in the face of adversity
  • Connecting people with RNLI’s culture through their new intranet
  • Launching a new wellbeing campaign


Impact of the pandemic

“The organization hadn’t ever worked in a way where we weren’t together. We were really having to think about the impact of the pandemic on our life saving service on our people, understanding what it meant for every single group of individuals within the RNLI.”
[5:25 – Jess Noble]

No 'one-size-fits-all'

“Some of our crew members were still carrying lifeboats throughout the whole pandemic, whereas we had other people who had to take furlough, or other people who are working from home with homeschooling responsibilities, all of these different things came into play. So very quickly we realised we can’t have a one size fits all approach with our communications here, and we definitely diversified how we do things digitally.”
[7:55 – Hayley Johnston]

peed of comms

“That speed and being able to get messages out in a really timely way made such a difference to our people. Not having to wait a week or not having to wait for a newsletter, being able to access all channels and instantly find the most relevant information that you need.”
[11:20 – Hayley Johnston]

Welcoming people back

“It was really great to work on these resources, but also throughout the time that people were on furlough to work with the management team to gather feedback, and try and understand how people are feeling to be able to develop something that would really welcome them back in a way that made them feel like they never left the RNLI family, because they never did.”
[16:20 – Hayley Johnston]

Internal + External Comms

“Without a shadow of a doubt, I think we’ve realised – well we’ve always known it, but it’s just become so much more apparent – when internal and external comms walk shoulder to shoulder, we are so much stronger.”
[17:45 – Jess Noble]

Glimmers of hope

“It has been very challenging at times. But there’s been glimmers of hope everywhere, and innovation everywhere, and it’s just been great to see and share.”
[22:50 – Hayley Johnston]

One truth

“It’s been really good that we’ve been able to have one version of the truth, I guess, on our intranet, and then reflect that out to our volunteers, all with the same information. We don’t in any way change it. We believe that everyone should receive the same information.”
[27:20 – Jess Noble]

Inspiring conversation

“We have definitely seen things like comments and conversations on articles and Yammer posts picking up a little bit, which I think is a natural response to not being able to go and have that chat at the water cooler or the coffee machine. But also people seeing each other do that seems to have inspired them to get involved.”
[28:15 – Hayley Johnston]

Spreading out

“Our little team are no longer all based around our support centre in Dorset, we’re all over the place, and that shouldn’t actually matter. Actually, we should be able to bring in the people to our organization who are the right people, and not worry about where they’re based.”
[36:55 – Jess Noble]

Links & References

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