ANALYSIS: BBC ups staff involvement to build trust - Internal Communications

Client: The BBC PR Team: In-house Campaign: Making It Happen at the BBC Timescale: February 2002-ongoing Budget: In excess of £100,000

It may be the nation's most popular broadcaster in terms of ratings, but the BBC has had its management problems, leaving some disquiet among its 24,000 workforce. Following the arrival of new director general Greg Dyke in January 2000, the BBC moved to create a more collaborative working environment. Since February 2002, Dyke has overseen a five-year programme called Making It Happen as part of the One BBC project.

Objectives

To create support for change among the BBC's sceptical but emotionally charged employees. To increase trust after previous administrations - most notably that of John Birt - gave the impression of creating change by diktat. To maximise the quantity and quality of staff input into the campaign, and use it to boost the BBC's internal communication.

Strategy and Plan

The first thing the BBC did was get the whole executive on board, with the last six months of 2001 spent just engaging them. The Corporation also used its own staff to lead change, with only 20 people - including five internal communications staff - dedicated full time to the programme.

Staff were invited, rather than forced, to take part. Nothing was mandatory - people had to buy in voluntarily to make any change real.

The campaign could not be seen to be dreary or tiresome, and so everything emphasised fun, as well as it being a challenge. It started out with the 'cut the crap' slogan to get people sitting up and listening, with the personal involvement of Dyke. Everyone contributed ideas during half-day sessions of between 30 and 300 people.

Among the tools used was a conversational intranet site that was built to encourage staff to open discussions across the BBC. 'Just Imagine' events were organised and live studio sessions, on theTop of the Pops and Johnny Vaughan Tonight sets, broadcast on internal TV.

Measurement and Evaluation

A monthly survey revealed how things are progressing.

It found that 98 per cent of respondents have heard of Making It Happen.

In the first three months, 34 per cent believed it would make a difference, a figure that rose to 44 per cent during the peak of 'Just Imagine' in July 2002. An annual MORI survey in November backed these findings, showing a positive impression had been made.

A leading BBC expert with close staff contacts praised the campaign, as it solved simple problems such as new fans for offices. He said: 'People are positive about it and they are mostly all for it.'

Results

Around 190 events were run across the UK and the world. These involved 10,000 people and generated 98,000 suggestions, which were distilled into 15,000 ideas. These then became 49 key points for change, signed off by the Executive Committee in December 2002.

The intranet received 50,000 hits and over 2,000 ideas, almost a third of which have now been actioned.

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