Located in the busy city center of Aarhus, the Red Cross store was only open when there were volunteers available, but now, the store is open more often than ever. Sales have also increased and that is great, because, the greater the sales, the more money goes into organizing activities such as mentoring and providing support to refugees, the homeless and abused women.
This is mainly due to 25-year-old Liva Sibirjova, who, as part of the International Hospitality Management programme did her internship in the Red Cross store. She especially worked on improving the motivation of the volunteers, which has succeeded to such an extent that she was named Student of the Year at Dania Academy.
“I was very surprised, because I thought that there were many other students who were much better than me. When I was presented with the award, my mother burst into tears. She was so proud of me, " smiles Liva Sibirjova.
Young volunteers are motivated differently
In just three months of internship at the Red Cross, Liva has managed to translate her theoretical knowledge about HR, leadership and motivation into practice. Her hard work and determination led to great success.
“The store is open more than ever before, so we can ultimately help many more people than before. Our turnover is better, the volunteers are happier with the overall organization and we work better as a team, ” explains Liva Sibirjova.
Her focus has been the motivation of the shop's volunteers, who are especially young people. In this way, the shop differs from the rest of the Red Cross stores, which are run mainly by the elderly. Therefore, the organization of the volunteers had to be done differently, and instead of one manager for 30 volunteers, today the store is split in five different teams, each focusing on one area of the store.
“It was too much responsibility for one person as a manager, and as a result today we have autonomous teams that are taking care of the social media, events, sorting and onboarding of new volunteers. In this way, everyone is allowed to work with what they are passionate about and that’s what motivates them, ” explains the Latvian graduate. Liva has also introduced snacks during the shifts, has organized more events, staff meetings, and even suggested the volunteers get discounts for clothing purchases.
The title and prize as Student of the Year is not only awarded based on results, but also on personal development during the studies. Liva Sibirjova managed both.
“I've learned a lot about myself as a leader along the way. I am an extrovert and I need people around me, which is why I chose this study programme in the first place, but I have learned to listen more, use my empathy constructively and now I even feel that I am also managing my time better, ” explains the 25-year-old International Hospitality Management graduate.
However, the list of unfinished projects at the Red Cross is still long for the newly graduate.
Liva is raising funds to create a cozy cafe corner in the shop, through which a community and meeting place can be built for volunteers and customers. She is looking for partners who match the values of the organization and who will kindly donate coffee beans for the corner.
“I learned a lot about myself, about the industry and about Denmark. I just really want to give something back to Danish society and make a difference, and I can do that here, ” she concludes.