Chair of the RLSS UK Volunteer Reward & Recognition Project, Ed McCutcheon has shared with us more in depth information about the project.

One of the ways RLSS UK completes its work is through the use of Volunteer Project Groups who are given an area and set of objectives to pursue. Each group is a number of individuals (usually around 5), selected through volunteer applications based on their experience. We’re flexible and different groups meet more or less frequently, using whatever tools and technology is most appropriate to meet their aims.

I’m Chair of the RLSS UK Volunteer Reward & Recognition Project – reviewing the ways the Society currently rewards & recognises its volunteers, and making suggestions for improvements – anything from types of award to nomination process and ceremony!

Here’s an update on where we’ve got so far.

As a project we meet roughly 6 weekly by Skype, and 158 of you completed our Reward & Recognition survey. The questions were focussed around RLSS UK Honours, spanning from the nomination process, types of recognition available, whether you thought volunteers were recognised, and what the ceremony looked like. The results were interpreted for us independently of the group by a volunteer statistician.

There are a lot of thoughts from the survey for us to consider:

  • Over half of respondents don’t know how to nominate volunteers for recognition
  • Only a third think those individuals who go above and beyond expectations are justifiably recognised
  • Just over a quarter find the nominations process ‘easy & clear’ – the rest think it OK (55%) or difficult (17%)

We’ve also got a huge pile of suggestions (some suggested multiple times), here’s just a few:

  • creating/supporting local award schemes
  • raising awareness of the scheme and how to nominate
  • improving recognition of youth contribution (particularly before leaving for university or for during university)
  • proportional merit award caps per branch depending on branch size

The group has also been approached for input into other R&R work – helping define criteria for the ‘Pride of RLSS Awards’ at this year’s Conference, and a UK contribution to RLSS Commonwealth Reward & Recognition. We’re separately looking into R&R schemes run by other voluntary organisations in the UK, as well as the psychology behind good R&R. On the subject of which, I strongly encourage you to watch this interesting video – it might affect how you recognise the volunteers in your Lifesaving club!

What’s next? We’re meeting for a day to work on the suggestions, decide if they are sensible/viable, and how we could implement them, with everything ready for Honours 2016 nominations.