British Red Cross Case Study: Assessment for Redeployment 


Client Profile

Industry Sector: Not for Profit
Number of employees: 33,000 volunteers, 2800 staff
Location: UK


Following analysis of existing Middle Management job descriptions, the British Red Cross Trading team recognised the need for these critical roles to be more strategically focused.  They required the team to be more commercial in their day-to-day planning and decision making, whilst also be able to interpret, develop and implement their overall strategic vision.

It was therefore decided to create two new job roles; Assistant General Managers and Retail Field Managers.  Internal employees were then invited and encouraged to apply to attend an assessment process for the newly created positions.

It was important that the assessment processes being implemented would:

• Focus on assessing competency and behaviour rather than knowledge.
• Objectively measure the new Competencies required through a series of challenging behavioural simulation activities.
• Set a benchmark for appointing new candidates in future recruitment.
• Provide a fair, robust and legally defensible assessment process.


As the target roles were completely new, a&dc were unable to talk to job incumbents to identify the key competencies required for each of the new roles.  Senior Management and stakeholders were therefore asked a combination of job incumbent questions, critical incident questions, and future and strategic focused questions to help elicit information about the behaviours required in the new roles and to give an understanding of the strategic vision desired for the Trading team.

Our approach then involved designing a highly objective, fit for purpose Assessment process, which would meet the specific objectives of the British Red Cross, whilst acting as a blueprint for future external recruitment processes.

It was decided that, whilst the Retail Field Manager process would include a more ‘traditional’ Assessment Centre, the assessment of Assistant General Manager candidates would benefit from a more individual and in-depth Executive Assessment approach.

Assessment Centre to identify Retail Field Managers

A one-day Assessment Centre was designed to assess the key competencies identified in the initial job analysis.  The Centres comprised of a number of business simulation exercises designed to reflect the key challenges facing the Retail Field Manager population.  Scoring rules determining a pass/fail mark were drawn up in collaboration with the British Red Cross Team  before any performance data was collected, thus ensuring objectivity and consistency throughout.

Individual Assessment days for the Assistant General Managers

Due to the seniority of this position, individual assessment days were arranged for each Candidate.  During the day Candidates completed Simulation Exercises and a range of ability and personality psychometric tests.  The results from these tests were then fed into an in-depth Competency Based Interview (CBI).   This helped to verify the examples provided in the CBI and also allowed for a greater range of feedback for the Candidate.


A significant percentage of the new positions were filled with existing employees. A small number of posts were recruited for shortly afterwards, as two Assessment Centres were delivered to recruit for the remaining positions.  The comprehensive data generated during the assessment process has enabled the British Red Cross to put in place a structured development coaching programme to support the new hires as they settle in to their roles.

Training in-house Assessors means that the British Red Cross are now able to run future Recruitment Centres and Development Centres independently, using any combination of a&dc off-the-shelf Exercises.

What the client says

“We found that a&dc really helped us to explore what we needed from our managers to help us to recruit more effectively. They understood our business very well and worked hard to ensure the solutions they recommended would meet our needs. We are now in a position where we are much clearer about the competencies we need for our senior roles and have a much more robust and detailed recruitment process. This has resulted in us having managers who are very capable and competent in their roles and who are able to make a positive impact on our business”  Miranda Bradley, Retail Development Advisor, British Red Cross