Brussels, 30 April 2020
In the time when the world starts gradual exit from corona virus lockdown, Victim Support Europe (VSE) makes a step to consolidate content, practices, and its communications with members and partners, so that everyone in victim support community could look forward to the future.
The leading Europe-wide umbrella organisation for victims of crime has launched a new collaboration platform. This new channel will act as the backbone of communications both within and between all of the organisation’s structures – headquarters, the management team, the executive board and the member organisations.
Until recently, however, VSE’s internal communications platform was from another epoch altogether. When technical issues forced them to consider a new system, the team decided to seize the opportunity to make significant digital headway.
Levent Altan, Executive Director at VSE, highlights the role of their new intranet not only in improving the work experience, but also in creating a rallying point for members to engage with each other as well as with the affairs of VSE. “Knowledge management and communication in a multilingual EU-wide NGO that unites 58 member organisations with over 1000 employees, is quite a challenge. Our goal is to offer the community a powerful and feature-rich digital workplace platform. We believe our new intranet will add to a better member and victim support experience, and better overall levels of service”.
From their new intranet homepage, the network can access VSE’s announcements, as well as receive latest updates on the developments in the victims’ rights field.
There’s also a contact database – a people directory, an extensive digital library of over 600 articles (Knowledge Database) and a referral mechanism that would guide victims through the support service system.
With optimised collaboration and modern ways of working being important components of VSE’s growth strategy, their new intranet offers the perfect foundation for the community to find new approaches to strengthen the rights and services for all victims of crime in Europe.
Involving members from the start
“We involved every staff member at our Head Office in intranet development as well as the executive board and member organisations to ensure the intranet fitted the needs and wants of the community,” says Marina Kazakova, Communications Officer at VSE.
When the project kicked off, VSE started a series of focus groups for usability testing with staff and board members to ensure that all the documents and sources were referenced and that it would be easy to access various directories.
“Speaking with members, their priority was being able to find colleagues, quickly. Everyone wanted a well-structured intranet that was easy to get around, with a good search experience”, adds Marina. The VSE’s team knew that information architecture would play a key role in success.
The new Intranet now provides one central place for news, resources, contacts and referrals. “Everyone sees exactly the same thing and a constant flow of communications delivered in a consistent format helps to provide clarity and reassurance, which is particularly important through a period of change,” remarks Levent Altan. “However, our work isn’t done yet: over the course of the coming months, we will evaluate performance and implement new widgets where necessary”.
Intranet system must be simple and user-focused
The VSE’s intranet team conducts online introduction walk-through sessions to members to showcase the portal, the referral system and address potential concerns. “The referral system will be an important tool in cross-border cases. We want to encourage our members to actively use it. Their experience in national referral will also help us to adjust and improve our system to reach an effective and useful referral mechanism,” says Léa Meindre-Chautrand, VSE’s Policy Officer responsible for the referral system introduction.
The Online Library and Archive
The Library (Knowledge Database) stands out among other features of the portal and it is something VSE is proud of. It may not sound exciting, but having one library for all their documents has been a real win for VSE and its members. Putting all 30 years of VSE’s history in one place means everyone can be sure to work on accurate and updated content.
Cementing the victim support community
VSE’s team believes the main benefit that the new intranet has brought to members and partners is through creating community engagement. “We have been talking about becoming one single voice for some time, but before we created this one-stop communication hub, our communication was somewhat diluted through multiple channels – employees and members would see different content on different mediums depending on what part of victim support service they were working in”, admits Ruth Shrimpling, VSE’s Policy Officer.
“Hopefully, intranet will help cement us. We now log in and see the same content and we are confident that everything on there is updated and accurate for everyone”, says João Lázaro, the President of Victim Support Europe.
“The global pandemic has impacted everyone, the victim support sector is no exception. The world has seen a sudden demand for digital services, both employee and member expectations have evolved”, explains Levent Altan. “We are a part of this global transformation journey and we’re confident that with the new intranet, our members and partners will be better prepared to grow further as victim support professionals”.