Moving to the Next Level… 

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Transform Work UK recognises that CWGs can be at different stages of development. Knowing what stage a CWG is at can help CWG leaders plan for the future. It can also help Ambassadors know how to support the CWG in progressing to the next stage of development. For these reasons, it is essential to discern and know where a CWG sits on this continuum. The stages of development defined by TWUK are as follows:

  1. Individual
  2. Initial Contact
  3. Early Formation
  4. Organisational Acceptance
  5. Formal Recognition and Integration
  6. Organisational Celebration.

Some CWGs stay quite a while at one stage, while others move swiftly through. There is no wrong or right process. It depends on the nature of the CWG and uniqueness of the organisation.
 
The following scriptures help us understand the principle of stages of development as seen in the Christian Faith. 

  1. And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. Luke 2:40
     
  2. So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel. Luke 1:80
     
  3. Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them… And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favourwith God and menLuke 2:51-52
     
  4. Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Reports about him spread quickly through the whole region. He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. Luke 4:14-15

Everything starts as a seed. Seeds grow in dark and moist conditions, i.e. in obscurity. Nothing happens without due process. In production, the quality of the process determines the quality of the product. The process and nature of time becomes the crucible in which is forged the innate character of a product.

Therefore, as a matter of principle, it is important that a CWG takes time to build a firm foundation. It must develop a strong leadership core which will enable it to endure the challenges that come with recognition. In other words, it must grow in spirit, wisdom and favour. 

The timing of when to seek Formal Recognition and become a Staff Network Group depends on the process of maturation the group has under gone. It is best to keep a low profile while the members of the CWG get to know each other, especially the leadership team. Unity, vision and focus will ensure there is stability and security which will sustain the group in prominence.

Recognition happens most of the time when the CWG is ready to organise an event, such as an Alpha Course. This prompts the CWG to prepare their Terms of Reference or Business Case to request permission or Formal Recognition. The Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (EDI) Framework is normally the platform used for this. 

The Business Case will explain who they are, what they are requesting and the benefits they will bring to the organisation. This is where a TWUK Ambassador will provide coaching and support to the CWG. The Ambassador’s role is to help nurture the group and see it through this process of transitioning to the next stage of development.

Some CWGs go straight to management with their Business Case from the outset. 

Formal Recognition enables a CWG to organise events, access essential resources, support one another and others in the organisation, contribute to EDI discussions, and do so much more. It enables the group to exist not only as a support group for Christians, but as a group that engages with other Staff Networks and the whole organisation in order to influence it for good, which is what it is called to do – be salt and light ‘in’ the world.

Some examples:

a)   SuperDry Christians Group:
‘Our workplace faith group ran a Christmas Shoebox Appeal, for the charity Teams4u… The idea was very well received, not just by our head of HR, but also every single department from our head office… One of our corporate values is ‘Family’, so this is a project which was received very well within the company.’ (A Level 5 CWG, having used the ‘Diversity Calendar’ as a platform to bring benefit to the organisation).
 
b)   Action For Children:
‘…the network should add value to the organisation as a whole and not just individual members. It was involved in consultations and the Bullying Helpline, to name a few. Whatever shape the… staff network took, the organisation should feel its impact… I was tasked with writing our Terms of Reference. I consulted network members, inclusion officers, the Christians on Action for Children’s board of trustees, and of course TWUK, till we fine-tuned and agreed it’. (A Level 6 CWG).
 
c)   Ealing Council ‘Workers Aflame!’:
The CWG moved through the stages of development slowly. They stayed at Level 2 for some years until they organised an ‘Alpha in the Workplace’ course. Then they had to obtain the necessary permissions. Once consents were in place and they ran the event, the CWG moved straight to Level 4. With the support of TWUK, they ran successive events which took them to Level 5.

 Elizabeth Ukiomogbe