Creating a new blended way of working
Having had one of their busiest years on record in 2020 whilst managing dispersed teams, Citizens Advice asked The Team to build and implement a strategy to achieve a pioneering, company-wide cultural change.
After listening carefully to the diverse needs of their employees during the lockdowns, Citizens Advice discovered that most of their people wanted to split their time between home and an office in the future. To support this new working model, employees wanted to know how to best maximise time in the office and working from home. From this, Citizens Advice required support to enable the organisation to embrace a ‘Blended Ways of Working’ approach. The campaign needed to generate a feeling of transparency and sought to educate and inspire their 800-strong national team.
With the view to inspire change, we worked with Citizens Advice on an internal campaign that would both meet the requirements of the existing team and attract new recruits with a positive employee experience.
Now facing an entirely different working landscape post-lockdown, the experiences of the past year meant their employees embraced different working styles. A simple return to the office was not the right thing to do for many reasons.
They instead opted for outlining an approach of ‘Blended Working’ that was more representative of the needs of the organisation. With employees unsure of what work was done best in an office and what made more sense to do at home, we sought to help them navigate these new challenges and feel confident in how they work. They were also operating under a backdrop of office moves and reconfigurations, so the shift had to be treated sensitively.
Having trusted us to generate the tools they needed to steer the change, The Team designed the campaign to be vibrant, authentic and respectful, to align with the brand of Citizens Advice. Through simple design and messaging, employees could easily digest the new tools, work out their own path and understand their colleagues chosen working style.
As the challenge was centred around their employees, we chose to create user-generated content by working directly with employees at Citizens Advice. It was important for the messaging to be authentic, so the content was purposefully non-corporate, guided by the lived and breathed experiences of the employees.
A key part of the campaign was grounding the strategy in the values that we had previously produced with them. This was a real test of the strength of the values, and they were an invaluable resource when steering the campaign. By always returning to the core values, Citizens Advice were able to stay true to themselves as an employer as they ventured into unchartered territory.
Through a process of consolidating the information given to us by Citizens Advice, we refined their content to get to the heart of their messaging.
Citizens Advice had previously conducted a company-wide survey from which we gathered data to generate a picture of the needs of the employees. Together, we selected 6 existing employees to fairly represent different areas of the company to act as consumer profiles for us to generate the tools from. After sending stock questions to answer, the content created was informed by personal journeys and experiences.
The main feature of the campaign was a playbook, which provided different frameworks and tools for employees to use. It was vital that the information was laid out in a digestible format, with scenarios they related to.
We produced ‘Lead It’ bubbles placed throughout the playbook designed specifically for the managers of Citizens Advice. They included bite-size tips and links to landing pages to support them as they helped their teams embrace the approach. We ensured both the design and the information was simple to follow.
“The playbook really helped bring our new ways of working to life, with curated resources attached to real personas that colleagues could easily identify with. It turned what could have been an intimidating list of documents into a user-friendly and intuitive one-stop shop that used employee voices to tell a compelling story.” Hanif Leylabi – Head of People, Communications and Culture at Citizens Advice
To accompany the playbook, we created a film and social posts featuring quote cards to support the campaign. The same employees were used throughout to keep the messaging focussed, inspiring and recognisable.
As authenticity was crucial to the success of the campaign, the chosen employees filmed their content on their smartphones at home. This was a conscious decision to design content that honestly reflected the situation, furthering the position of Citizens Advice as a transparent company that is supportive of its employees.
Hanif Leylabi - Head of People, Communications and Culture at Citizens Advice
The Team took our branding and played it back to us in a fresh, playful and exciting new form, allowing us to project all those attributes onto the launch of blended working itself. This has given us the building blocks to approach engagement with our people in new and different ways.