Campaign: Focusing the finance team
Client: Royal & SunAlliance
PR team: In-house with Harkness-Kennett
Timescale: October-December 2004
Insurance group Royal & SunAlliance (RSA) serves millions of customers worldwide and employs 26,000 people in 34 countries. To meet market changes, the company decided to focus on general insurance, and the upheaval led to some challenging employee feedback on communications. Finance director George Culmer reacted by implementing an internal communications programme for his finance teams around the world.
To provide a clear sense of the direction of the business and the finance function. To encourage team spirit and provide a forum for debate. To clarify the roles of leaders, teams and individuals and motivate them to deliver business goals. To build relationships and encourage networking.
Strategy and Plan
The strategy was face-to-face communications, with two one-day events planned. One was for all staff in the finance department, and a second was for the leaders of finance teams from different parts of the group around the world.
With a short timescale, the in-house team asked consultancy Harkness-Kennett to help organise the events, including conference design, message development, speaker coaching and production management.
The two events were very different. The finance day was held in a large circular room at the Copthorne Hotel, Gatwick, last November. It was designed to build camaraderie among the 120 attendees, as well as offer the opportunity to share business plans. HarknessKennett designed the day around the priorities of team work, improving comms, and educating staff on the role of finance at RSA.
Attendees were thrown straight into team-building activities. Newspapers, film, radio shows and TV programmes illustrated the issues they faced.
These sessions were interspersed with strategy presentations, including one from Culmer. The day was rounded off with a dinner and a light-hearted awards ceremony.
The leaders event at the Four Seasons hotel in Canary Wharf in December 2004 was more business-focused, giving 20 leaders from across the world the opportunity to present their challenges. There were project updates, and the HR team led an exercise on leadership skills. In the evening the group bonded over go-kart racing.
Measurement and Evaluation
There was an overwhelmingly positive response to both events. Evaluation of the finance day showed substantial improvements of between 30 per cent and 50 per cent on the results of the original employee survey, including understanding of business strategy and the link to individual roles, motivation and management comms.
More than 80 per cent of attendees at the leaders event said they had a better understanding of the priorities of the company and the finance function. They also reported that they valued the networking and team-building opportunity, and the insight into other parts of the business.
Culmer tells PRWeek: 'Without the support and guidance from Harkness-Kennett we would not have been able to produce such high-quality events in the demanding timescale.
'The response has been fantastic, and we managed to achieve in two one-day events what would otherwise have taken months.'