International Committee of the Red Cross
Approx. 1,500 staff members
First time implementing an automated 360-degree review for a large group of employees, project linked to the implementation of a new leadership and management framework, as well as the request from employees to assess DE&I capacity in their managers.
- Two-way feedback and engagement
- 360-degree feedback surveys software
- Competency framework development
- Aggregated reports
- Consulting support
Strengthening Assessment of Leaders and Managers
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance. It takes action in response to emergencies and promotes respect for international humanitarian law and its implementation in national law.
Based in Geneva, the ICRC’s Employee Experience team (part of the Department of Communication and Technology) identified an opportunity to strengthen how the organization assesses senior leaders and managers, linked to the implementation of a new leadership and management framework. A pilot involving around 1,500 people operating globally in the Employee Experience team began in 2019, but it became clear that the ICRC’s internal systems would not support delivery of the project.
Explorance was appointed by the ICRC in May 2020 to provide 360-degree feedback survey software through its Blue People Insights platform.
360-degree Surveys Promote Competency Development
“We needed to have 360-degree feedback as a way of assessing and providing feedback from team members – a two-way approach to feedback and engagement,” said Aleksandra Popovic, Head of Employee Experience at the ICRC. “Our own systems were not convincing, and not super user friendly, and Explorance was recommended to us by other organizations in Geneva. We purchased Blue 360 feedback software and a package where we engage with Explorance’s consulting team to help develop content and analyse our surveys. As we were unsure what the best strategy would be to assess competencies we started there and the team helped us design the related behaviour statements. They also advised us on how to work through the nomination process and report development.”
The ICRC ran Blue’s 360-degree surveys for the first time in 2021, and repeated these again in 2022 (this time in four languages), achieving a 96% level of engagement. “This has given us the tools to assess senior leaders and managers and promote learning opportunities to develop essential leadership and management competencies,” revealed Alan Mwendwa, Employee Experience Adviser at the ICRC. “What has been particularly valuable is having access to aggregated reports. We found that 50% of managers and their managers are not aligned in their competencies. So better communication and interaction with managers is needed. The results in other areas will guide future projects, such as the way formal and informal feedback mechanisms are designed.”
From Pilot Project to Organizational Roll-out
Aleksandra explained that “the principle of 360-degree surveys is now clear” and that with engagement being strong the focus is now on taking this to the rest of the organization. “We surveyed senior leaders and managers on whether they find this approach useful. 89% said they would continue to do 360-degree reviews”, she said. “We are positioning 360-reviews as a growth tool, a key element of our bigger strategic objective around professional development.”
With the ICRC employing over 20,000 people in more than 100 countries, the opportunity to roll out 360-degree reviews more widely is clearly huge, but Aleksandra said this was a question of “when and how”. “With the current situation of dealing with simultaneous large scale crisis (COVID-19, climate, etc) on top of our ongoing humanitarian work, we have had to back down on the level of engagement with our employees as workload is unprecedently high,” she continued. “So we will do our next round of 360-degree reviews in late 2022 or early 2023. However, we want people to feel empowered, and we have a great partner in Explorance who I would recommend working with.”
Alan added: “If ever I have a problem or a question about the front-end system I can turn to the Explorance customer support team. They respond within minutes and sort out any issue very rapidly indeed. The support of the consulting team is outstanding. We work with a number of companies and there are very few where we do not want to leave a meeting. Our partners at Explorance have been amazing.”
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