Snowdrop Systems Award for Communications Strategy

This award is aimed at HR teams who have used employee communication effectively
to support business objectives or support organisational change. Entries should
explain how they identified the right method of communication, planned
effectively and measured the impact of the strategy on staff. The judge will
look for the appropriate use of technology and other materials.

Category judge

Dominic Paul is the people and customer services director for Go. He has
responsibility for the airline’s training, recruitment, internal communications
and customer services. Prior to this he held various roles at British Airways,
including general manager Ukraine, where he set up the BA operation, and
various posts in Vienna.

Internal communications team

About the company

Ventura provides outsourced customer contact centre solutions for firms such
as O2, Woolwich Building Society, Amerada, Kingfisher Group, Northern Rock and
Freeserve. It has more than 30 years’ experience and is based in Leeds and

The challenge

To develop communications to ensure all employees understand and recognise
their individual importance to the firm’s success

What the company did

– Employee survey

– Developed processes to encourage two-way dialogue

– Management training to improve their communication of the firm’s messages

– Encouraged staff to provide ideas and take part in an overhaul of the

– Electronic communication delivered by a cascading system from directors

– Feedback encouraged at all times

Benefits and achievements

– Increased use of intranet as an information portal

– Monthly electronic and print information bulletins created

– Regular Q&A forums between company directors and staff

– Company magazine overhauled to make it more relevant

– Staff polls generate an average response of 75 per cent

Dominic Paul says: "I liked Ventura’s rigorous approach to
communication and its effective use of multiple communication channels. Its
constant focus on company goals was excellent, and ensured consistency and

The team

No. in team 42 in HR team, 1 in internal communications team

Staff responsible for 3,510

Paul Hart consultation and
communication representative
Becky Atkins consultation and communication representative
Vicki Moffatt consultation and communication representative
Nicky Shaw internal communications officer
Bev Ewing HR services general manager

Wokingham District Council
Personnel Division

About the company

Wokingham is a unitary council that provides a range of council services,
including social services, education and environmental services. It is based on
the M4 corridor in Berkshire and has a catchment population of approximately
146,000 people

The challenge

To refresh communications with employees within a tightly resourced local
authority that has both office-based and mobile staff

What the company did

– Employee opinion survey

– Team briefing mechanisms created to assess horizontal and vertical

– Roadshows to encourage ideas from staff

– Worked closely with trade unions

– Feedback from consultations acted upon and posted on intranet

Benefits and achievements

– 54 per cent response to staff survey (849 people)

– Nearly 800 people attended roadshows

– Recommended for Investors in People after just 18 months

– Cascading information flow introduced to increase staff awareness of the
council’s achievements, values and aims

Dominic Paul says: "An excellent low cost, practical approach to
improving the performance of the council. I particularly liked the fact that
the personnel division was driving change and improvement throughout the

The team

No. in team 20 in HR team, 3 in communications division

Staff responsible for 5,000

Jackie Wiltshire head of personnel
Alasdair Robertson organisation and development manager
Karen Jordan marketing and communications manager
Carole Samuda consultation officer

Safeway Stores
HR division

About the company

Safeway has more than 480 stores nationwide. Half of Safeway’s sales come
from its 183 superstores. Typically, one store would employ around 250 staff
and sell a range of up to 22,000 products

The challenge

To be business-focused and open in all communications to all colleagues at
all levels and to actively seek two-way communication

What the company did

– Company-wide meeting using video links and forum presentations

– Open invitation to focus group discussions with the CEO

– MORI climate survey for the whole of Safeway

– Internal advertising campaign using posters, cards and meetings

– HR focus groups created

Benefits and achievements

– Investors in People accreditation

– Creation of company magazine

– Unified communications strategy developed across the group

– Shift from a management culture to a coaching culture

– Increased feedback from staff

Dominic Paul says: "I liked Safeway’s back to basics approach and its
practical implementation of ideas. I think the HR division in Safeway is
clearly helping to drive overall company performance. I also think its campaign
was cost effective – which is critical for the future credibility of HR."

The team

No. in team 195 in HR team, 8 in culture team  

Staff responsible for 92,000

Jim White HR director
Fiona Bailey director for culture
Claire Smith people potential executive
Becky Ivers learning and development manager

The sponsor

Systems delivers highly scaleable and sophisticated HR systems worldwide. A
fresh approach to systems implementation and support plus a reputation for
creativity has fuelled Snowdrop’s rapid growth to a strong market position. A
95 per cent client retention rate shows Snowdrop’s commitment to successful
long-term business relationships achieved by its unique ‘partnership’ approach.

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