By Gloria Lombardi

BT Global Health, part of BT Global Services, is the British supplier of networked IT services to the National Health Service and other healthcare providers globally. Since 2012, they have been running an employee engagement programme, driven by internal communications. The whole initiative followed several years of changes in the health market which posed many challenges to the company – and meant a complete transformation to its health strategy.

Internal Communications Manager, Laura-Jayne Grover, has been working on the engagement programme since its beginning, and shares the key stages of the campaign so far.

Building a sense of community around a unified vision

BT Global Health needed to help its people to make the connection between their own contributions and the overall company’s goals. At the same time they needed to instil pride and enthusiasm in the business. “We wanted to support our people to strongly relate to the business purpose of enabling our customers to deliver excellence in healthcare and showing absolute dedication to customers,” says Grover.

The programme involved two main initiatives, Accelerate for Growth and Our Guiding Message.

Accelerate for Growth was an intensive exercise to review and understand the ‘health’ of the business. “We needed to adapt to meet the evolving and growing demands of our customers, while at the same time doing more with fewer resources. The results of the exercise saw us restructure our organisation so that we were fit for growth.”

Following directly behind Accelerate for Growth was a campaign called Our Guiding Message. This was meant to help build a sense of community and show to all the employees that they were sharing a common purpose. “This was about giving our people a powerful yet simple message that would help them to talk with confidence about our strategy – what BT Global Health stood for and how it would deliver its purpose: enabling customers to deliver excellence in healthcare.”

An important element of Our Guiding Message is that it was shaped by many, not a few. More than 120 Global Health people from all areas and levels of the company took part and helped to create it. Together, during interactive workshops, they debated the business’s purpose, direction, values, behaviours and strategic drivers.

A network of champions

The Internal Communications team set about creating a set of collateral that would support the campaign. They also identified and used a network of 100 ‘champions’, key influencers inside the business, who helped to shape the content into a compelling story that would resonate with the people.

Champions were introduced to a toolkit that would help them deliver Our Guiding Message. This included presentations, exercise worksheets, posters, booklets and a pledge card. All the material featured a common theme, an illustration of a knitted scarf to show how all the different strands of the strategy ‘knitted’ together.

The champions were tasked with rolling out Our Guiding Message to all BT Global Health’s people. In fact, every employee took part in interactive sessions, facilitated by one or two champions who helped them to understand the strategy as well as see how their individual role contributed.

While working on this, champions also participated in personal development programmes to hone their skills as future leaders of the business.

United as one team through social media

Employees were encouraged to use BT’s internal micro-blogging tool, OfficeTalk, to share photographs of the sessions they took part in and post comments about their thoughts around the strategy.

“We provide actual knitted scarves to our champions – knitted by one of our team – to inject some fun and stimulate creative thinking at the sessions. These were displayed proudly in many of the photos, from the UK, to Singapore and Australia. We even went as far as providing the knitting pattern so that the more enthusiastic could knit their own. Having something tangible to create a sense of energy also helped knit people’s memories of the fun sessions to the campaign – as you can imagine the ‘knitting’ theme had many uses!”

Since social media worked very well for this targeted campaign, BT Global Health has continued using it to share every day successes, progress updates and photos from other events and activities.

Grover enthusiastically comments: “This campaign was my first experience of using social media in the workplace. Having already been an avid user outside of work it’s definitely something that I will continue to champion since it brings people together to share, collaborate and feel united as one team.”

Results of the engagement journey so far

At the beginning of the programme, employees were cautious and a little sceptical. “Several years of change to BT Global Health’s organisational hierarchy – and the inevitable changes that a new senior team implements – had left people change-fatigued,” Grover states.

However, the company was able to turn that situation into a good opportunity to remind its people how vital the services they provide are to the NHS, as well as to remind people why they chose to work in that part of the organisation.

Leadership’s involvement also played a crucial role. Grover says that they “were integral to the creation of the strategy.” They also supported the communication of Our Guiding Message by “hosting drop-in sessions, stop for coffee events and round tables to help share their vision for the strategy and the progress they were making against it.”

In the weeks following the launch of Our Guiding Message, BT Global Health registered 100 per cent employees’ attendance at the champion’s sessions. Grover says that the company “saw a rise in employee engagement through a BT-wide quarterly survey.”

Since the concept used during the campaign was successful, other parts of the business have decided to adopt it for other transformation programmes.

Although this particular campaign ended, the continuous changes in BT Global Health have not. This is why they have already launched an update on the original Guiding Message. The messaging has been revised and the imagery changed, “moving away from illustrations and incorporating real people feels more authentic – and in a way it shows our journey, and how we’ve now grown up.”


This article originally appeared on simply-communicate