The ICRC Onboarding to Prepare Staff in the Field

The Challenge

The ICRC operates worldwide, helping people affected by conflict and armed violence and promoting the laws that protect victims of war. An independent and neutral organization, with an operational budget of 1.75bn € for 2017, its mandate stems essentially from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. For the past five years, the ICRC has been transforming the way it designs and delivers critical training to its 17,000 staff, in order to effectively and rapidly deploy its humanitarian services. Such responsiveness depends in large part on how quickly their staff in the field can be brought to full proficiency, making effective Onboarding critical. It is also important that their Onboarding Program reflect the unique realities of the ICRC “workplace”.

The ICRC official logo

The Solution

CrossKnowledge helped the ICRC to create its Staff Integration Programme, a blended learning experience that brings together mobile and resident field staff through a combination of distance, classroom and collaborative workplace learning activities divided in three phases: online (self-assessment, essential ICRC knowledge, meet other participants); face-to-face (reinforce online learning, simulated operational experience, prepare for the field); and work-based learning (virtual practice exchanges, virtual library, digital toolkit). The Onboarding Program is user-centric and directly relevant to situations in the field, which facilitates quick and effective deployment.

The ICRC created the Learning Solutions Unit, a team of ‘techno-pedagogical engineers’ to help integrate digital learning in the classroom environment and deliver more distance learning in the field, and so accelerate the organisation’s shift to 70% learning on the job, 20% learning from relationships, and 10% learning via formal development activities.. To ensure training consistency, the team guides every new project through the same stages: initiation, analysis, design, development and deployment. Staff can also access the CrossKnowledge Library to receive ‘transversal’ training in relevant skills such as communication skills, personal development, and leadership. In addition, the ICRC can develop specialized content for its workforce using Mohive, a CrossKnowledge proprietary digital publishing platform.


learning projects


total learning sessions

Blue picto - learners speaking 20 languages, in over 100 countries


active learners

Digital Learning to develop ICRC’s employees

"We wanted the 70:20:10 model to really drive how we do things, and for training to be relevant to the situations our field staff actually face."

Dr. Feena May,
Head of Learning and Development, ICRC