The FCA faced employee unease at the prospect of moving their headquarters. We knew that through consistent, informative communications plus a good dose of fun, we would help smooth the transition, and spin the narrative towards optimism.
The FCA is the conduct regulator for 58,000 financial services firms and financial markets in the UK, currently employing around 4,000 people. The large majority of these employees were based in Canary Wharf, but needed to be moved to Stratford.
The decision to move all 3,500 of FCA’s London employees from the financial heartland of Canary Wharf to a purpose-built HQ in Stratford certainly divided opinion.
The FCA commissioned us to develop a change communication plan with six months to go before this business-defining change in their location.
The change was being met with something between scepticism and hostility: some complaining about the extra distance they’d be travelling to work, others about the potential damage to the FCA’s reputation by moving out of the UK’s financial centre.
The team were concerned that these disparaging noises would ultimately undermine the potential of the new building, and the change in work practices they were hoping to facilitate. Worse still, it might mean an exodus from the organisation.
Our communications needed to be open and honest, to keep employee turnover at normal rates during the transition period; and minimise disruption to the day-to-day operations.
Failure to achieve these risked a huge exodus of talent; significant reputational damage; and wasting a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape an FCA fit for the future.
This was a high-stakes change, presenting both great risk and enormous opportunity.
Our first step was to understand the issues and employees’ depth of feeling. We knew the ‘noise’ generated by the announcement could undermine the move, so from employee surveys and interviews to a dedicated inbox to collate feedback, we listened to everyone and then formed our strategy.
We proposed the communications accentuate the positive. Rather than answering everyone’s concerns, they focus on what was exciting – new opportunities, new ways of working, a new perspective outside of the old financial heartland.
We developed a creative position – The Future is Here – to signify both the new ways of working and the new location and launched the position through a countdown to the move and promotion of the new tech and processes.
We then enlisted 80 volunteers from all areas of the business to be the spokespeople of the move, infiltrating the masses to generate excitement, and explode many of the myths we’d heard through our feedback channels.
Day one at the new premises included a session in their new auditorium including an inspiring video designed to create intrigue and excitement about what the building has to offer.
From high-impact, fully branded installations to full-wall signage, plasma screens and video ‘stings’ to posters frequently refreshed with news such as site progress updates, floorplans and details of new technology. From bitesize training sessions (face-to-face and via Skype) on how to use the new hybrid technology to welcome boxes for every employee containing: reusable water bottle and coffee cup, massage ball, welcome booklet with foldout floorplan and ‘free breakfast’ voucher, we utilised both digital and print channels to reach everyone.
Culturally, the FCA feels as though it’s ridden a wave of optimism into an exciting new era. The manner in which their employees engaged with the move and embraced the new building and our new ways of working signifies to us that the future really is here.
Staff turnover rates during the move remained at a normal level, with no major spike in evidence compared with the rest of the year.
From conception and planning through to delivery and evaluation, blue goose and the Financial Conduct Authority successfully developed and executed an impactful campaign – which combined powerful creativity with an integrated approach to channel deployment – to enable tangible behaviour change. The judges were particularly impressed by how the campaign leveraged technology and local partnerships to enable employees to engage positively with a complex, major change.CIPR Excellence Awards 2019 Judges