The challenge

Involving staff early and getting their commitment is crucial to the success of any new product, service or plan. We planned to launch our Business Plan for 2020/21 to our staff at an in-person event before sharing it externally with our customers. This became much more challenging as the country went into lockdown just before the proposed launch.

Rather than postponing the plan, we decided to do things differently, seeing an opportunity to run some of the engagement and communications activities online.

Our approach

Considering that staff were still adapting to our new ways of (remote) working, we saw the importance of making our message concise, engaging and easy to understand. We also made sure that communications were sent through various channels and different methods, and that they fully addressed a key question for staff: “why should we care?”

We wanted staff to feel connected to the organisation and its leadership, so we launched our Business Plan 2020/21 with a video message. We interviewed and recorded our executive directors and the chairs of our staff networks individually on Microsoft Teams, then edited the clips to create the launch video. As well as highlighting NEL’s future ambitions, it focused on our past achievements such as awards won, new business secured and expansion of our services into new areas.

Our Creative team developed a condensed version of the strategy – a ‘plan on a page’ – giving staff a document they could use for quick reference.

We shared the Business Plan and launched the video with staff via our intranet (Susi), an all-staff email and our internal newsletters. We organised virtual engagement sessions on Microsoft Teams, enabling senior leaders from our Business Development team and executive directors to talk staff through the Business Plan and its aims in more detail and giving staff a meaningful opportunity to raise questions and share their feedback.

The outcome

We saw a significant increase in staff engagement with our Business Plan in comparison to previous years. We received positive feedback from colleagues, appreciating the effort that went into the launch video in such a short time. The content and materials were later modified and shared with our customers – maximising the efforts of everyone involved.