13 February 2019

The 10 best internal communications case studies of 2018

Another year has flown by and with it a flurry of internal communications conferences and events across the UK and Europe.

Here, in our annual roundup, we share some of the best stories and case studies we heard throughout the year.  

1. SAP used eSports for recruitment

Heard at: World Employer Branding Day Enterprise software giant SAP sponsored its very own eSports team ‘Team Liquid’, with the sole purpose of promoting its employer brand to passive job seekers in the tech space. eSport’s user demographic is primarily made up of young, educated individuals who spend the majority of their time online, providing SAP with an excellent opportunity to reach potential developers, IT, and digital professionals outside of job boards.

Why we love it: SAP clearly knows its audience and have been bold and brave in the way they’ve reached out to them. This idea is disruptive, creative, and shows exactly what out-of-the-box thinking can achieve.  


2. The Cabinet Office and diversity

Heard at: Diversity & Inclusion Conference The Cabinet Office shared the story of how they plan to become one of the most diverse and inclusive recruiters by 2020. Their particular focus is on recruiting within the autism spectrum. The organisation’s thorough programme of activities has included helping young people develop skills, providing support and coaching to the team, with a focus on recruitment practices, career development and networking. They also increased autism awareness in the business and built line manager and team confidence in working with colleagues on the spectrum.

Why we love it: The implementation of the talent and diversity strategy has created approximately 4,000 opportunities – from discovery events at local schools to 1,300 graduate programmes. We love this because it’s a really practical and tangible example of Diversity & Inclusion – a hot topic right now and for good reason.  


3. Work/life balance at Monzo

Heard at: Engaging Employees Summit With rapid success and growth, Monzo has quickly become a team of 320 people – all believing in changing the world of banking. They wanted all employees to continue to be energised and buzzing about building a new banking experience. They used their employee engagement survey to ask questions about the environment, work and things people want. Monzo now offers free lunches, remote working, free subscriptions to Headspace, has changed the roles of managers v leaders and opened up a healthy dialogue about mental health.

Why we love it: This is a useful reminder to make use of the annual employee engagement survey. Find out what people really want and act on what they tell you. We also love their split between team leaders and managers, with each responsible for different aspects of an employees’ relationship.  


4. Waitrose’s suggestion box goes digital

Heard at: Engaging Employees Summit At Waitrose, every partner has a stake in the business which means they have a vested interest in the success of the organisation. With lots of change on the horizon, Waitrose wanted to ensure people could share their ideas and play a part in the future success. To do this, they needed to remove barriers to submitting ideas, answer the ‘what’s in it for me?’ question and make sure people knew their ideas would be listened to. A section of the Waitrose website was created for partners to submit ideas anytime, day or night, via app or website. These ideas are liked by others and commented on from across the business. It’s about recognition over reward. Why? Because recognition is often invisible in nature yet priceless in value.

Why we love it: Waitrose has harnessed its valuable assets – its employees. That’s shown clearly in the results with savings such as £160k worth of till roll after employee Janet suggested optimising and refining the information on the receipts. Remember – no-one knows more about what’s going on in the business than those on the front line.


5. Manchester Police shares their darkest hour

Heard at: IoIC conference. In an incredibly moving session, Manchester Police spoke to us about crisis communication in a busy emergency service and the importance of prioritising staff in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena terror attack in 2017. In one of the most devastating incidents imaginable, it was integral that employees were kept informed in real time of what was happening. But most importantly, that their welfare was put first. The solutions were fast acting and effective 1). Anything said publicly went to staff first via the internal comms network. 2). Leadership was key. The CEO went out to see and talk to officers and did lots of listening. 3). Regular briefings let staff know that it was ‘okay not to be okay’.

Why we love it: Manchester Police showed how united communications – led by strong leadership – can help a business and its employees in even the darkest of times.  


6. Alzheimer’s Society influences from the inside out

Heard at: IoIC conference. Looking to create true ambassadors to drive support, Alzheimer’s Society didn’t do things by half! The charity introduced a new brand, a new five-year strategy, new values, and new behaviours all at once. The key to success laid in successfully embedding these changes with its 2,500 employees and 9,000 volunteers. An internal TV channel launched with a film that explained the changes and the reasons behind them. There was also a jam-packed schedule of live activity including Forget Me Not Day, managers out on the road, the hashtag #unitedagainstdementia and special activities such as public speaking coaching provided to build employee’s confidence when it came to talking about the brand externally.

Why we love it: Think big. Think holistically. Think long-term. That’s what we tell our clients and that’s what Alzheimer’s Society did. There’s no point launching new values, behaviours and comms if you’re not going to invest in embedding them. It clearly paid off too, with 92% of volunteers and employees now seeing themselves as ambassadors for the charity.  


7. Merlin Entertainment’s global health and safety campaign

Heard at: Engage Employee Conference. A huge global organisation, Merlin has 28,000 employees, welcomes 60 million guests every year, and has 100 attractions globally. Health and Safety is an important topic – but one that is hard for employees to get excited about. A new campaign – ‘Protecting the Magic’ about health, safety, and security – challenged this head on. ‘Protecting the Magic’ was launched with a health and safety week, a #safie viral campaign, gamification, and employee competitions all with a unique storytelling concept. A health & safety toolkit included ‘A little book of safety spells’ and other useful information.

Why we love it: This campaign shows that even the most ‘boring’ of subjects can become engaging if they’re executed with creativity. Reaching a workforce who speak different languages and don’t all have access to technology was no easy task. But Merlin did it well.  


8. KP Snack’s Internal Communications Journey

Heard at: Engage Employee Conference. KP set up as a new company five years ago, after being part of United Biscuits. The brand took the opportunity to hold focus groups to define new values and to speak to employees about what was working, and what wasn’t. Research and a channel audit showed that employees wanted more video content, more visual content, that their factory-based workers needed to be more engaged, and that the ‘challenger’ spirit was missing. To solve this, KP Snack’s IC team focussed on improving manager communications, with hands-on training and an interactive toolkit.

Why we love it: Upskilling and improving other people’s comms capability is fundamental. Developing a toolkit like KP’s can be really powerful for creating change and providing support.  


9. Arval’s journey to employer brand success

Heard at: World Employer Branding Day We were thrilled to be invited to Prague back in April to share how we’ve helped Arval define, develop and launch their employer brand ‘The Journey Makers’. We loved working on this EB with a client we love in a real partnership. We used insight from our workshops with colleagues from across the business and learnings from external candidates to inform the EVP and the creative execution. The Journey Makers has been embraced throughout the business, with Arval mapping their entire employee journey from hire to retire and now focusing on engagement and onboarding. In fact, they want to make their onboarding experience something you’d tell your grandkids about. Now that’s ambition!

Why we love it: Arval really embraced the need to create a compelling employer brand, ground in truth, and it’s paid off big time. With a reduction in cost-per-hire from over £1,500 to just over £100, improved people survey scores across the board and winning ‘Best Employer Brand’ at the 2019 Employee Engagement Awards, it’s been a pretty good year since The Journey Makers launched. Check out the epic film we helped create here.  


10. BT shows the power of live events

Heard at: PRWeek Strategic Internal Comms Conference In May 2018, BT launched #Consumerlive2018, its consumer expo for staff. This incredible live event reached 20,000 colleagues, 6,500 of them face-to-face and the rest via cascade. The aim was to help BT’s people understand and get excited about the new business strategy, feel proud of their contribution and walk away feeling Better Connected (the name of the IC strategy). To do this, BT created a clear, simple, single story and vision. The expo included; a long lead-in with the team building excitement nine months before the event, learning experiences by external parties like Apple and Google, bands and choirs from their contact centres, and an interactive event app.

Why we love it: Face-to-face communication will always be the most powerful method and becoming known for an event like this can do wonders for employee engagement. The buzz created around the event saw employees share 6,000 pictures online (which were later used to cascade to those who didn’t attend) and 14,354 engagements on Twitter.   What was your favourite internal communications or employer branding case study from 2018? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.  

Image © SAP

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