Awards case study: How EY invited employees to 'shape our future' and increased internal engagement

Learn how EY signficantly raised internal awareness of its seven new business priorities, and boosted employee engagement by 8%

Summary

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services with a simple brand purpose – to build a better working world. This is the story of the launch of its strategic business priorities for EY’s EMEIA Financial Services Organisation (FSO).

'Shape our Future’ was a rallying call to 13,000 employees to embrace the seven new business priorities introduced by the organisation. These priorities had to be communicated in a memorable way that would both inform and engage employees across the organisation. The solution was an integrated, multi-channel communications campaign, which included a pan-European live event, gamification, a video series, interactive content and a tangram: an overarching creative concept using a seven-piece puzzle that creatively demonstrated how the seven new priorities fit together and could be used to shape the future of the business.

In four months the campaign generated 33,863 visits to the campaign microsite, with an 8% increase in already high employee engagement levels and a record 86% participation rate in the Global People Survey.

About

EY is a multinational professional services firm headquartered in London. It has 212,000 employees in more than 700 offices around 150 countries in the world. It provides assurance (including financial audit), tax, consulting and advisory services.

Strategy

To maintain its position as a global leader in assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services and grow its business, EY needs to keep pace with the fast-changing financial services landscape. With this in mind, the company’s EMEIA Financial Services Organisation (FSO) refreshes its Market Leadership Plan, which charts the direction of the business, every three years. In autumn last year, the plan identified key changes that EMEIA FSO needed to address. These included:

  • Digital disruption, bringing new technology and new players into the financial services market.
  • The need for effective teaming and collaboration in audit rotation.
  • Increasing pressure on profitability and margin.

Objectives of the campaign

To help it do so, the business refreshed its strategy by introducing seven new strategic priorities based on four themes: Talent; Go-to-market; Innovation, and; Profitability.

Agency True's objectives were to:

  • Launch a campaign in January 2017 to 13,000 employees in EMEIA FSO to set the context and drive awareness of the seven new priorities. Embed them in phases until April 2017 using a variety of new and existing channels.
  • Develop a comprehensive campaign to build a ‘One EMEIA FSO’ community. Help employees understand the thinking behind the priorities; how they will be delivered; what they mean to their market, service line, sector and ultimately to themselves as individuals.
  • Develop a wide range of materials – both printed and digital – for launch and create collateral to be tailored for colleagues in each market sector and service line.
  • Create an umbrella under which key strategic EY initiatives can be delivered: including the launch of a new brand proposition, a Global People Survey launch in April, and ‘Better begins with you’ recognition programme.

The target audience

Internal: All EY employees and partners within EMEIA FSO.

Media, channels or techniques used

A strategic approach was implemented to inform, engage and enable employees across all EMEIA FSO markets, taking them on a ‘knowledge journey’ to bring the seven priorities to life and help them understand what their priorities are, and what they mean both to the business and themselves personally.

Among incredibly busy schedules and a multitude of internal communications, our creative platform needed to stand out with a memorable and engaging idea which would:

  • Bring the priorities to life
  • Convert priorities into behaviours
  • Stimulate and inspire while having an element of fun
  • Develop the feeling of unity and purpose
  • Deliver a tangible difference in KPIs
  • Deliver an improvement in engagement in EY’s Global People Survey

The big idea – a creative platform for our priorities

The seven business priorities cover talent, innovation, go-to-market, and profitability – priorities that would shape the future of the business.

Our idea demonstrated the impact and positive change that the priorities could create through the use of a tangram – a perfect metaphor for the flexibility and adaptability required to ensure EMEIA FSO thrives as a business. The tangram is a puzzle that has seven separate pieces, each representing one of the priorities. When combined, they can form almost any shape, demonstrating that the priorities will help EY respond to any challenge ahead and become whatever employees make it. So we invited employees to ‘Shape our Future’ using the seven priorities.

The big launch

A campaign of this importance required a big kick-off, so employees were invited to register for a pan-European live event, hosted by the regional managing partner, which was broadcast live to all employees. Communications started with a teaser campaign to create intrigue and impact – using ambient posters, e-postcards and plasma-screen displays which were placed around EY offices, asking employees to register for the event.

Campaign engagement and education

Following the launch, game-playing was introduced through interactive screens and online, allowing employees to get hands-on with the tangram and learn about the business priorities in an engaging way. Employees were also invited to unlock more on each priority, week by week, with educational information and video content introduced from ‘priority leaders’.

The campaign was also seeded across virtual spaces such as Yammer (EY’s social media platform), which featured a section encouraging employees across EMEIA FSO to discuss how they were ‘Shaping our Future’.

Empowering employees

Interactive material was developed to showcase the priorities in more detail, whilst outlining precisely what each employee in EMEIA FSO could do to put them into action. These materials included interactive brochures and a video of the regional managing partner explaining how the priorities fit together and their importance to the business and their individual KPIs.

These materials took employees on a journey from knowledge and understanding to believing in the priorities, inspiring them to deliver against them. Other deliverables included:

  • Elevator pitch summarising key campaign messages and brochure containing key messages.
  • A digital hub hosting key materials which people access on the move.
  • Ambient posters, e-postcards, plasma-screen displays.
  • A ‘quick guide’ summarising the priorities in a bite-size format
  • A pop-up/virtual roadshow, taken to each market and tailored to specific requirements
  • ‘Gamification’ and toolkits for partners and senior managers to use in team meetings

Timescales of the campaign

‘Shape our Future’ ran from January to April 2017, using a variety of channels to communicate key messages but the creative platform is still being used and is ongoing.

Results

The campaign microsite attracted 33,863 visits with 20.7% returning visitors. We also exceeded already high internal engagement levels by 8% across EMEIA FSO, with the Global People Survey drawing record participation of 86% across the organisation.

"The 'Shape our Future' campaign created a significant uplift in internal engagement levels across EMEIA. The creative platform originated by True brought our business priorities to life, stimulating our people to think about what could be achieved and inspiring a sense of pride and ownership."

Mark Cullen, director brand, marketing and communications, EY FS

B2B Marketing Awards 2017 – winners

This submission won the award for 'Best internal audience campaign' at the B2B Marketing Awards 2017: 'Shape our future' for EY by True.

See the full list of winners

B2B Marketing Awards 2017 – winners