Background

The World Food Programme (the food-assistance branch of the UN) employs some 13,500 staff worldwide. Established in 1961 and headquartered in Rome, it is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation focused on hunger and food security and it is utterly committed to human rights and to promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace, one where difference is celebrated and where teams work together in the fight to end hunger.

Lantern Training supported WFP Kenya to equip staff with the knowledge, skills, and mindset to build a working culture of respect. Lumina Spark proved to be an indispensable to tool in this endeavour. No fewer than 350 Spark assessments were generated and debriefed in 13 workshops.

Lumina Spark proved vital in sparking deep discussions about diversity now it has become the ‘go-to’ tool for WFP Kenya.

The Challenge WFP’s vision is for a diverse, committed, skilled and high performing workforce, in which each member is selected on merit, subscribes to the WFP’s values, and works together in a healthy and inclusive environment to save and change lives.

The Global Staff Survey in 2018 had highlighted some areas of concern and, in response, the new People Policy and Strategic Plan set out to bring real organisational change, reaffirming values, enhancing the role of leaders and increasing employee engagement.

But policies and procedures are not enough, and to build a positive climate, it is the responsibility of every individual at WFP to contribute to a workplace where everyone feels safe and respected. The Respect Each Other campaign was launched to bring about culture change in the long term and rests on four pillars:

  • Awareness
  • Inclusion
  • Fairness
  • Humanity

Whilst many country offices introduced this campaign internally, the WFP Kenya Office was committed to real change. The Workplace Culture team understood that self-awareness was central to understanding the impact of staff behaviour on others.  Of all the personality assessments on the market, (and they weighed most of them) they finally chose Lumina Learning.

Lumina Spark is an ideal instruments that helps to level up personal and professional development

Lantern challenged them to think beyond the first pillar, that of Awareness. Lucy Brewster and her team made a compelling case that Inclusion, Fairness and Humanity would be equally important. They convinced them that the whole workshop experience would build team cohesion and that Lumina Spark would be the ideal instrument with which to level up their personal and professional development.

The Respect campaign was radical in concept and ambitious in scope. It involved more than 350 WFP staff over thirteen days in no fewer than eight area offices. Lantern held workshops in Nairobi, Mombasa, the northern refugee camps of Kakuma and Dadaab and the field offices of Lodwar, Garissa, Marsabit, Isiolo and Wajir.

 

Each workshop aimed to:

  • Bring about a paradigm shift in mindset about their role in fostering an honest and respectful culture within WFP
  • Educate the team with the latest thinking on respectful working and a solid understanding of WFPs code of conduct.
  • Help participants understand how their own preferred ways of working and being can affect the way people feel around them.
  • Put personal accountability and respect at the heart of teamwork


Lantern Training generated no fewer than 350 Spark Portraits and the full day workshop was carefully designed so as to ensure maximum participation and focus on specific actions and changes in behaviour.

Each practitioner employed a cornucopia of Lumina Learning techniques.  Chief among them were the Lumina Cards and peer coaching. The former participants to better grasp the model, while the latter enabled everyone to better delve into their own portraits.

All conversations guided the team to reflect on how their own behaviour preferences and responses to pressure might have an impact those around them.  The afternoon session concentrated on their own team dynamics and here Lumina Team was called upon to guide the discussion through the World Café activity.

Through the Lumina lens, Lantern asked the team to consider:
Team working through Lumina Lens

  • How are we treating and working with each other?
  • What are the consequences of our behaviour under pressure?
  • How can we truly appreciate diversity in the team?
  • What do we need to do now to change?

Colourful beaded Kenyan bracelets were given as gifts of appreciation from one staff member to another, highlighting the value of each colour within the team.

Teams working in more trying environments, where they may be away from home for weeks at a time, took part in three-day workshops, in which Lantern deftly combined Lumina with various teambuilding activities and allowed time for deeper conversations about diversity, communication and team dynamics.

Then Covid struck, but Lantern were well able to adapt with consummate ease. Over the last two years it has supported teams by means of:

  • Practical ideas to continue activities and discussions themselves.
  • On-line workshops during lockdown to reflect further
  • On-line manager workshops to build resilience
  • Coaching for priority individuals who are struggling
  • Focused programme on managing conflict and resilience for Field Offices
  • Refresher Lumina programmes for priority offices in 2022

And the work is still continuing …

Results

The new Kenyan Country Director joined the World Food Programme in 2021. Of Lumina Spark and Leader, she said: “This is an excellent training as you leave with actionable learnings on how to deal with people and also understand your behaviours”, adding “this has been a life-changer. It sets a new standard for the way we work together.”

During country lockdown, Lumina became the psychometric of choice to tackle problems arising in Field Offices, where some individuals were stranded for months at a time, and so tension and friction between individuals started to show.

Cut today and there is overwhelming evidence that Lumina has had the most beneficial of effects on the team and indeed individuals.

Tribal dynamics, a shift in leadership and organisational restructure brought a cry for help from the Kakuma team and they expressly asked for Lumina.

Intervention is tactical for now, but Lumina is firmly embedded within the country office.

WFP global staff survey

WFP’s global staff survey measures long term shifts in organisational culture. Conducted in 2018 and 2021, it gives us accurate and meaningful way of measuring impact. Staff feedback in Kenya showed improved scores for:

  • Line manager effectiveness; from 54% to 61%
  • Communication; from 50% to 63%
  • Teamwork and belonging; from 62% to 69%
  • Diversity and inclusion from 61% to 64%

With reference to specific questions, improved scores include:

“In my team, I feel valued and respected for who I am.”

“In my team, we hold each other accountable for doing a good job.”

“There is open and honest two-way communication between my supervisor and I. “

“In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.”

“At work, my opinions seem to count.”


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Lumina Learning is a global network of skilled experts and Practitioners operating in more than 40 countries all over the world.