Campaign: HR firm reveals sport's impact on staff morale

Global HR consultancy Hudson had previously commissioned successful research, on topics such as 'the masculine culture in workplaces', to promote its brand. This year it wanted to undertake a similar study to generate further media coverage.

Campaign The Impact of Sport on the UK Workplace
Client Hudson
PR team Fishburn Hedges
Timescale April-June 2006
Budget Undisclosed

Objectives
To position Hudson as an expert commentator on talent management and employee retention. To raise awareness among, and generate enquiries from, employers regarding Hudson's consultancy services.

Strategy and Plan
Retained agency Fishburn Hedges wanted to link any research with the World Cup, but needed to ensure that it stood out from the plethora of other football-related stories that would be doing the rounds.

However, there had been numerous stories in the run-up to the tournament in Germany on the subject of football-related absenteeism from work. With this in mind, FH decided to challenge this assumption by asking whether sport (either watching or playing) could be a powerful tool for improving performance in UK offices.

Hudson worked with Social Issues Research Centre to assess the impact of sport on employees and their attitudes towards it. Research was conducted among employers and staff via focus groups and one-to-one interviews. This was followed by a poll of 2,000 people.

The aim was to find out whether fears of absenteeism and reduced productivity during major sporting events were exaggerated. Initial findings began to support the fact that the World Cup would have a positive impact on staff morale.

FH approached journalists with a teaser, before releasing the full results of the survey two weeks before the start of the World Cup.

Measurement and Evaluation
Hudson CEO John Rose appeared on a BBC Radio 4 You & Yours discussion, and on the BBC World Service, while broadcast features appeared on broadcaster CNN, with regional coverage on Central FM.

Print coverage included three articles in the Financial Times (a diary piece and two comment columns), and items in The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, The Times, Sportsman, Personnel Today, People Management, HR Director and Recruiter. International press coverage included Washington Times, Irish Times and Germany's Volksrant.

Results
The research stood out from other World Cup polls, prompting a comment from the FT's diary column that it was ‘in refreshing contrast' and ‘more weighty and credible' than most.

Coverage shows that Hudson has raised its profile as an expert commentator with strong opinions, and reports increased enquiries from clients and potential clients. Hudson's press coverage during the campaign period was double that of the previous quarter, and has also resulted in greater interest from journalists seeking follow-up stories on HR issues. 

You & Yours researcher Louise Cocker says: ‘The research came at a good time - before the World Cup - which meant it applied to a wider audience. The PR team was very efficient and arranged for the CEO to come into the office at short notice, which is really important for our programme.'

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