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The Science Museum has chosen a brilliant name for their staff members

27th Oct 2014
Editor HRZone
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I went to the well-known Science Museum in the "museum quarter" in London in late September and was very impressed with the staff there.

They’re called Explainers. It’s a brilliant job title.

From that one word we learn:

Employee purpose:

  • The fundamental aim of their job is to increase public understanding of science

Organisational values:

  • The Science Museum believes that public understanding of science is crucial

Employees themselves are also aware from their job title two details crucial to the success of any role:

  • What they will be judged on: the important thing is to communicate with the public and enhance public knowledge of science
  • What to work on personally: every skill they have should make the process of explaining things to the public easier and more effective

Line managers know how to advance the skills of their Explainers through training. The first question would always be: will this training course help this person be better able to engage visitors with science and raise their understanding and love for science?

The Explainers are easy to segment into key skills and responsibilities, which is fundamental when it comes to organisational design and ensuring the right staff with the right skills are in the right place at the right time.

  • Are they explaining to children or adults?
  • Do they need to explain complex things simply or simple things in more detail?
  • Do they prefer visual methods of teaching or verbal and therefore what is their learning style?
  • Do they explain better face-to-face with a few people or at the front of an auditorium?

These questions can help identify skills gaps, so if you have an abundance of visually-orientated Explainers you can redress this balance in the next round of hiring.

Explainers. It’s a great job title. 

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By pam kennett
28th Oct 2014 11:09

I think this is a great example of how linking work to a meaningful outcome brings a number of benefits - to the organisation (through good PR such as this) and to the employee (through clarity about how they can positively impact others). Great, love it, thank you for posting.

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By JohnPope
11th Nov 2014 10:57

A great idea from the great museum which I visited whenever I could when a schoolboy.  It led me to read physics at Oxford and to work in the commercial world where  the principles of science and engineering helped me regularly.

Thank you. 

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