Centenary years aren’t always the easiest of initiatives for staff to get behind but BF100 was an outstanding example of a whole company coming together. The delivery of the campaign was greatly helped by the organisation focusing on a simple and clear set of objectives. The judges loved the overarching sense of employee empowerment which resulted in impressive results on a range of internal and external metrics. Inclusion in The Sunday Times ‘Top 100 Best Companies to Work For’ for the fifth consecutive year must have really been the icing on the cake for the team behind this project.

Mark of Excellence:

  • GMP Group and Lidl Romania
    We are Lidl, changing culture through internal comms

‘We are Lidl’ put the people at the heart of the business during a fast-moving organisational culture change. With strong objectives up front, backed by thorough use of internal data and research about smartphone use in the region, the team proved that the app was essential for every employee. The judges were impressed by the creative strategy developed, as well as the mix of engaging content with ideas to drive engagement and interest across the teams and management. The balance created a simple yet highly effective campaign, and the speed of the app’s adoption speaks volumes – a brilliant achievement and great value for money.

Finalists:

  • Drivers Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)
    Driver Examiner Services Project: Digitising the driving test
  • Edelman UK and Unilever
    The Unstereotype Experiment
  • Home and BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions
    It’s a People Thing – EVP
  • Lambeth Council
    Staff conference: We are Lambeth, working together
  • The University of Manchester
    Our Future
  • VisitScotland
    The VS Way

Winner entry:

Brief, objectives and budget:

2019 was Bishop Fleming’s centenary year – a unique business milestone that we used to deliver a year-long programme of employee engagement, profile-raising, PR and communications activity.

Rather than looking backwards, our strategy was to position our business for the future and as an employer of choice that would attract and retain the best people through a desirable company culture, leadership style, and employee engagement.

From our inception in 1919, we since have grown into one of the leading accounting and advisory businesses in the UK, with 370 people spread across seven offices in the West Midlands and South West.

As a professional services business, our people are our greatest asset and we knew this was an opportunity to involve them in something special. The campaign would have five objectives:

  1. To engage and bind our people together
  2. To give something back
  3. To cement relationships with our clients
  4. To celebrate our success
  5. To provide a lasting legacy for our business.

Our campaign would involve an extraordinary budget of c.£150,000 that would be used to offset the cost of organising events, activities, partnerships, sponsorships and projects.

To bind our activity we created the campaign “It’s what we bring together, that sets us apart” and the shorthand “BF100”. As a rallying call to our business, it would serve to create collaboration, excitement, fun and a buzz amongst our people not seen on such a scale before.

The idea, research and planning:

Planning for our campaign began in 2017 and at our staff conference in 2018, we canvassed our people for ideas – many of which were carried forward into our centenary plans. This created more buy-in and empowered more people to develop and lead these activities.

Many of our core projects and activities were front loaded into the first half of the centenary year with research and planning being undertaken in 2018.

A full evolutionary rebrand was launched on 1 Jan 2019, propelling us into the centenary year. Combining a new visual identity, website and offline collateral, this rebrand would serve as the perfect platform to launch the campaign.

Named Frank, after our founder Frank Bishop, our new intranet would become the focal point of our internal communications and how we engaged our people.

Strategy, creativity and innovation:

To build on our new brand and visual identity, we developed and launched a brand new ambition to be recognised as “the most rewarding accountancy firm in the UK, for our clients, people and communities”. Factoring in insight from all of our people, together with focus groups, the new ambition would be underpinned by a fresh set of values enabling us to reframe ‘rewarding’ for a new era of purpose-led performance:

  • We think client
  • We work as one team
  • We put relationships at the heart
  • We have the courage to be different
  • We do the right thing.

Our ambition to be ‘rewarding for our clients, people and communities’ was realised in a commitment to raise £100,000 – an idea inspired by our people themselves. But rather than enforce a single chosen charity of the year, we innovatively invited our people to raise funds for charities and causes personal to them. This widened the spread of our fundraising power, but most importantly it fostered huge employee engagement from our people, their donors and supporters.

It is a fundraising target we would smash in July.

Our people engagement would be achieved through a year-long programme of record-breaking mass participation sporting events, health and wellbeing initiatives, clients events, creative challenges, feats of endurance and personal sponsorship challenges. But what was most rewarding was the way these activities brought people who worked in different offices together for the first time.

Delivery/implementation of tactics:

The campaign would deliver 115 activities, centred around some major projects including our title partnership of the Bath Half Marathon.

We would enter a team of 120 runners – nearly a third of our entire workforce, forming the largest corporate team in the history of the event. They would raise £35,000. It was a fabulous event and was such a success, we are repeating our title sponsorship in 2020 and entering an even larger team of 130.

Other major events would include a team of forty staff who embarked on the National Three Peaks Challenge, a team of walkers who walked 100 miles from Wales to Worcester, and a team of rowers attempting 1 million metres. However, peppered around these activities was a diverse range of smaller personal challenges.

Measurement, evaluation and impact:

Our centenary campaign has brought our people together to deliver some amazing activities. In December, at our annual staff conference we celebrated our success and looked back on a fabulous year. Later that evening we held a fabulous Great-Gatsby themed Christmas party. Our guest compere – BBC Strictly Come Dancing’s Anton du Beke would reveal that our people had raised £150,000 for over 60 charities, with over 120 different activities generating over 3,000 donations. Further still, our people had given up nearly 3,000 hours in voluntary time to support a range activities.

Other achievements in our centenary year would include:

  • Winning ‘National Business of the Year’ and ‘National Wellbeing in the Workplace’ at the British Chamber of Commerce Awards in November
  • 10% headcount increase
  • Record levels of graduate and school leaver recruitment
  • 7% turnover growth
  • Being awarded ‘plastic free champion’ status for removing single use plastic across our business
  • 300% increase in the number of people blogging internally.

On Thursday 20th February, we were honoured for ‘Outstanding levels of employee engagement’ by Best Companies in their 2019 independent survey – and subsequently ranked in the 2020 Sunday Times Top 100 Best Companies to Work for list for the fifth consecutive year.

Our centenary has brought transformational change to our business that we will reap for years to come. But most of all we used our centenary campaign to make our business rewarding – to bring our people together to show what sets us apart. Our centenary campaign has been proof of that.