Creating front-of-house communications champions

Ruth Scrase, 16.07.2018
Case study from Royal Museums Greenwich
I joined Royal Museums Greenwich as a visitor assistant in 2014 and am now the exhibitions project support assistant and a divisional finance coordinator.

Since I joined the museum, we have implemented a number of measures that have vastly improved communication, integration and development of front-of-house (FoH) staff.

Following an engagement survey, we introduced a staff forum in 2016 with the aim to create a better working environment for all staff at the museum.

Every department has a representative in the forum. And we also created FoH communications champions who represent their colleagues from each of our sites across all internal communication.

These special posts allow FoH staff to be represented and for their concerns and ideas to have a specific outlet, as well as solving or avoiding potential problems quickly.

The communications champions have also created their own newsletter, which has proved so popular and informative that it is now available to staff museum-wide.

They have facilitated a rota for speakers from all departments to come to FoH morning briefings to introduce themselves and discuss what they are working on.

These sessions, as well as being informative, allow visitor assistants to meet colleagues who they may rarely see. They can also learn more about projects going on around the museum.

This creates a welcoming environment for everyone and strengthens unity between different museum departments. 

Royal Museums Greenwich has also increased access to career development and secondments for FoH staff by looking internally during the recruitment process.
We now have former FoH staff working in departments as varied as curatorial, exhibition and collections, management, estates, human resources and IT, events, press and learning. 

I believe increased internal opportunities are an excellent developmental opportunity for individuals and allow greater appreciation of how different departments work. They help break down silos and greatly benefit decision making processes and outcomes.

We also run internal development sessions for FoH staff and volunteers. These enable them to meet former colleagues who have moved to other departments and get advice from human resources on CVs and applications.

We are continually looking to improve our best practise. These core changes are a sign that Royal Museums Greenwich values visitor services and recognises that its success is fundamental to the success of the entire organisation.

Ruth Scrase is the exhibitions project support assistant and divisional finance coordinator at Royal Museums Greenwich