PRWeek UK Awards Winners 2021: Internal Communications and Employee Engagement

The award was won by Weber Shandwick for its campaign to engage with Unilever's 150,000 employees on the issue of domestic violence.

'Unmute', Weber Shandwick for Unilever
'Unmute', Weber Shandwick for Unilever

Winner – 'Unmute', Weber Shandwick for Unilever

During lockdown, cases of domestic violence grew by 20 per cent worldwide. Unilever wanted to do more than highlight the problem; it wanted to revolutionise corporate thinking on the issue. While corporates are often vocal on issues such as sexual harassment or mental health, the same is rarely true of domestic violence, and it is in that culture of silence that abuse thrives.

Unilever wanted to engage frankly with its 150,000 employees about the issue, so Weber Shandwick created ‘Unmute: End the silence against domestic violence’, a campaign hook encapsulating its goal with a twist on the Zoom-zeitgeist phrase “You’re on mute.”

The campaign launched around International Women’s Day, 8 March 2021, with Unilever chief executive Alan Jope holding a virtual town hall meeting for staff worldwide, a LinkedIn Live with #MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke, toolkits given to managers and training to staff. The decision was also taken to release the FMCG company's internal policy to a global, external audience, with the result that the internal and external contributed momentum, content and conversation to each other.

A record 6,000 staff attended the domestic violence town hall, and 200 employees accessed Unilever’s domestic violence services in the five weeks following launch, requesting information, training or support. The company is aware that even if only one of those was a victim of domestic violence, now encouraged to come forward for help, it means their voice has finally been heard, and a life quite possibly saved.

The judges said

A clever creative campaign playing on the virtual nature of our lives during the pandemic, brilliantly executed, targeting an important and sensitive issue.


Highly Commended – 'Switch It', MSL for AXA Health

When AXA merged three of its businesses into AXA Health, it wanted to create a unifying experience for employees of the new entity, resulting in MSL creating an internal platform: 'Switch It'. Post-launch surveys showed the majority of staff had thought about ways to make improvements within the merged entity, with half already having put them into action.


'BT Genuine Connections' for Blurred by BT Group

Lloyds Banking Group Internal Communications team


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