Anonymous case study
This case study is based on three archive services that all contribute to inductions for new staff at their parent organisations. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, large staff induction events usually took place in person about two or three times per year. During the pandemic, the induction events were mostly moved online, but in some cases they are hoping to return to their original format in the near future.
What did they do?
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, a couple of the archive services had a staff member attend the induction event with a stand. In both cases, they were representing their larger department/division (e.g. University Library or Secretariat), but they ensured the stand had a strong archive presence (e.g. promotional postcards, displays).
Another archive gave historic tours of the buildings to staff as part of their organisation’s induction event. They also have a display and leaflets about the archives at the event. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, they have delivered a short online talk about the history of the buildings and the organisation as part of an online induction event. Although the focus of the tour/talk is on the history of the buildings, they use archive collections to illustrate them.
What advocacy benefits were there?
- Having a presence at the induction event is a simple and good way to introduce and raise awareness of the archive with new staff.
- The staff induction events will include new senior managers. For some archives, this is a good way of connecting with those they might not usually have the opportunity to engage with.
- Taking part in the induction events does not take up a huge amount of staff time. It might consist of some preparation and working for an hour on the stand 2 or 3 times per year or giving a short talk. For small services, where time is precious, this is an easy win and an effective use of resource.
- Seize the opportunity or piggy-back – the services were either invited to take part in the inductions by Human Resources or volunteered themselves in their department/division. They saw an advocacy opportunity and took it.
- Be patient – for some services this is part of a ‘long game’ to raise awareness of the archive with staff and senior managers. They realise they might not see the benefits immediately.
- Develop simple messages – you won’t get a huge amount of time with the new staff so think carefully about the key messages you want to communicate to them.