The Sovini Group presented an enthusiastic and compelling tale of how they were unafraid to throw out the all staff conference and implement The Sovini Games – combining mental, physical and gastronomical challenges, focused on their values, which engaged their office and mobile workforce in their objectives. The judges felt this fun and innovative campaign brought people together and achieved a lot for a minimal investment, leaving a legacy for The Sovini Group to build on in years to come.


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Brief and objectives:

The Sovini Group incorporates 8 companies across a range of sectors, employing 606 staff across 7 sites, including 209 mobile operatives.

Part of the internal comms strategy is to engage with all staff inclusively, which previously we had achieved through an annual staff conference. This became difficult as the Group grew and diversified. Staff feedback revealed the conference model had become less effective in communicating the Group’s shared values and culture. Staff based off-site felt disjointed from the Group and only identified themselves with their respective company.

This was reflected in the annual staff survey, monthly pulse surveys and staff meetings.

We were tasked with establishing a more effective engagement method that would accommodate the growth and diversity of the Group over the next 3 years.


  • Engage all staff particularly dispersed workforce (41% of staff)
  • Deliver within the existing conference budget of £35,000 by October 2016
  • Design a staff engagement model in keeping with corporate principles that can be implemented annually over the next 3 years.


Rationale behind campaign, including research and planning:

After staff consultation on what they would like to take part in, we came up with the idea of Sovini Games!

  • Activities took place across a week, with teams from across the Group
  • Hosted in on-site bistro with one special event off-site after working hours, minimising impact on front-line services and maximising opportunity for everyone to participate
  • Activities ranged from mental, physical and fun to ensure events were inclusive and reflective of diverse workforce
  • Culminate with closing ceremony, complete with winner’s podium, prizes for best volunteer, best team player and team who demonstrated Group values
  • Winning team awarded coveted Sovini Cup!


Strategy and tactics, including creativity and innovation:

Generate buy-in from influential stakeholders – Executive Management (EMT) and Team Captains who were nominated based on leadership and communications qualities

  • Plan inclusive events
  • Harness qualities of team captains to recruit participants
  • Create campaign to encourage word of mouth through using imagery of real staff and creating tongue-in-cheek personas including (e.g. Scotty 2 Hottie, Crazy Keouski) to reiterate friendly competition
  • Deliver in-house to keep costs down and retain brand consistency.


Implementation of tactics:
8th to 19th Aug – Research and event planning including risk assessments.

22nd Aug – Concept launched to staff.

25th Aug – EMT nominate captains.

29th Aug – Captains notified and briefed on rules and responsibilities.

1st Sept – Captain photo-shoot getting their ‘Game Faces on’.

5th to 16th Sept – Produce visuals for campaign:

  • Sovini Games brand
  • Poster artwork
  • Email templates
  • Games scoreboard
  • Motivational messages
  • Team Sovini Supporter Pack for staff to download campaign elements to use in their own way to support their team.

Two week timeframe to produce campaign materials after initial launch. This timeline allowed us to make a big impact to ensure the Games became talk of the office. Other comms messages were kept to a minimum so not to dilute this.

19th Sept – Announced team captains and event timetable by email:

  • Reminder SMS sent to dispersed staff
  • Call for participants to register interest.

19th Sept – Launched poster campaign:

Captains featured with their game face and competitive persona. With key message get your ‘Game Face On’. Recognisable faces to resonate with staff.

From 12th Sept – Over 10 days email biographies were released of each Team Captain. Designed to attract participants and generate rivalry.

26th Sept – Call for volunteers.

3rd Oct – Deadline for participants and volunteers to register.

3rd to 7th Oct – Volunteer roles attributed: MC, judges, co-ordinators.

10th to 15th Oct – Launch Sovini Games week.

Day 1: Giant inflatable darts.

Day 2: Eating challenge / Dragon boat race.

Day 3: Buzz wire.

Day 4: Endurance challenge.

Day 5: Triathlon, pub quiz and celebration prize giving.

Sovini Games banner stands clearly marked event areas. Photography at each event Ensure attendance of EMT to celebrate the achievements of all teams and volunteers.

10th to 15th Oct – Daily communications:

  • Leaderboard update
  • Round-up email including event images and leaderboard
  • Motivational messages on TV screens
  • Reminder emails to vote for best team player, volunteer and best team displaying values.

17th October – Post-event communications:

  • Email communicating winners and final scores
  • Staff magazine
  • Intranet link to event images.

17th to 21st Oct – Post-event feedback requested and collated to provide basis for business case for future engagement in this way.

28th Oct – Evaluation presented to EMT for approval to roll out Sovini Games annually.


Demonstrate how the campaign links to the wider communications strategy:
The goal to achieving a great working culture is embedded within the Group led by the CEO, Roy Williams ‘I want to give people their Sunday nights back and create a place where our staff are happy and motivated’.

Sovini Games presented a great fit with our internal comms strategy due to the collaborative yet competitive culture at the heart of our internal brand.


Measurement and evaluation, including evidence of real engagement or behavioural change:

  • 260 participants across 10 teams and 23 volunteers, equating to 47% of staff directly involved
  • 60% male 40% female representative of gender split across Group
  • Representation from all 8 companies
  • 45% of all Games participants of dispersed workforce
  • 320 attendees at prize giving and closing celebration
  • Zero impact on frontline services
  • Games voted 2016 best staff event (43% share)
  • 8% increase in staff satisfaction month after Sovini Games
  • 100% of feedback received was positive.

“The Sovini Games was a great way of bringing us together. I met people from parts of the business I’ve never met before and the atmosphere all week was really good. Please can we do it again next year!” – Adam Lythgoe, OVH Customer Service Advisor.


Budget and cost effectiveness:
Internal talent was utilised to save costs and create a more effective campaign, reinforcing collaboration, innovation and motivation.


  • Trophy – £180
  • Photography – £750
  • Winner’s podium – supplied by volunteers – £0
  • Buzz wire activity and inflatable darts – £540
  • Dragon boat – £800
  • 20 boxes cream crackers and Maltesers – £60.44
  • Balloons – £55.00
  • Posters – £200
  • Branded banners – £300
  • Catering – £1,378
  • Marketing (in house) – £0.

Total cost: £4263.44.

Financial outcomes:

  • 88% saving on original budget to produce the staff conference (£35,000)
  • EMT approved roll out of Sovini Games annually due to value-for-money, positive impact on staff culture and fit with corporate values. Game On!!