The Rule of Law, Justice and, Human Rights team is a part of the UNDP Crisis Bureau and has over 30 globally dispersed members. Their workstream spans a wide range of topics from constitution writing, to human rights, gender equality, digital governance and much more. Once a year, the team gathers in New York and spends a week together catching up with what everyone has been up to, realigning their mission, establishing goals and strengthening relationships amongst team members.
In 2020, the UNDP Rule of Law team was forced to go virtual and approached InsightPact to help design an engaging and informative team retreat. About 70% of the three day x 4 hour session agenda was pre-filled with opening remarks from leadership, external speaker sessions, and team updates. What Rule of Law team needed was someone who could:
With that directive, the first order of business was to hone in on what the pre-filled agenda consisted of and check if it was in line with the needs of participants. To test this we conducted a series of semi-structured 1-on-1 interviews with members from across the team. From these conversations, a unifying intent emerged:
“Staying up to date with each other’s work is important, but a sense of community is what was needed more in times of adversity.”
To take note of this message we iterated the program design and suggested the leadership team carve out more time to simply hold meaningful conversations, share ideas and let the participants get to know each other better.
We wanted to find a solution where every team member felt heard. We recommended two options:
Option 2 won.
In addition to the break out rooms, we made space for team building activities that lightened the atmosphere and allowed participants to get to know each other on a personal level. Here are just a couple of examples of participant’s favourites:
Prior to the retreat, we sourced the information from every person and then made a game out of it using Kahoot digital quiz platform. It was the perfect solution for a group of people who don’t know each other that well. The stakes were low and there was no competition to perform/win. Even if you didn’t play, you could still learn something new just by watching.
Each day we asked participants to do a very simple thing - share a virtual background i.e. of their favourite place in NY. This created a sense of place since it felt as if they were again in NY together, just like in pre Covid-19 times.
On the last day of the retreat, we shared an anonymous feedback template. By filling up this form, participants “live” populated personal feedback that was later delivered to each individual after the retreat.
“One of the best virtual experiences I have ever had. Definitely exceeded my expectation of what a virtual meeting or retreat could do.”
— PARTICIPANT OF THE RETREAT
It was heartwarming to see that our efforts paid off even in the Era of Zoom Overload and with strict design constraints. Participants were happy that they got all the information they wanted and that they could do it not just by staring at their computer.
“Working with InsightPact during the COVID-19 pandemic made the transition from our annual global in-person event to a fully virtual event seamless. The team was professional, highly responsive, and flexible, which was exactly what we needed for a new way of working that we all had to adapt to quickly. Thanks to the InsightPact team, the event was well prepared and a success! We have continued working with Hermes and the team.”
— ALEXANDRA MEIERHANS, PROJECT MANAGER, RULE OF LAW AND HUMAN RIGHTS GLOBAL PROGRAMME