In early 2015, Dee Gosney and Emily Cruickshank from HSBC’s Employee Digital Platforms Team were tasked with producing a film entitled Our People, Our Story that reflected the thoughts and opinions of the bank’s 257,000 employees across 71 countries.
The workforce is diverse in language, culture and lifestyle and relatively young: 57 per cent are Millennials or Generation Z. And they had been adversely impacted by Swiss Leaks, a media investigation into widespread tax evasion allegedly operated with the knowledge and encouragement of HSBC’s Swiss subsidiary HSBC Private Bank (Suisse). The news had severely damaged HSBC’s reputation in its key markets, including the UK.
Gosney and Cruickshank opted to abandon traditional film techniques, and instead create a global video crowdsourcing app but, to make it work, they had to overcome technical challenges and resistance from a conservative, highly-regulated organisation.
The team researched the marketplace and found a UK start up who were developing a video crowdsourcing app that they were willing to adapt to create a bespoke version for HSBC. At least four obstacles stood in their way.
The duo had to find a way for employees to upload videos both safely and legally from their personal devices. They also had to find a method of ensuring that the content satisfied stakeholders from the different businesses, along with legal departments with responsibility for regulatory, compliance and risk obligations. They had to overcome cultural barriers, and persuade people across the bank to recognise the power of harnessing collective intelligence. And finally, they had to gather and edit a mass of user-generated content into a short, engaging film.
The duo launched an internal campaign to encourage participation, pushing out ‘model clips’ to show what good content looks like and responded to contributors’ queries. The final edited film was viewed more than 62,500 times in its first week alone, representing a 378 per cent increase in viewing figures versus a traditional internal video. And the video made an impact: an online survey of 24,661 HSBC employees showed that a drop in pride and advocacy in the first quarter of 2015 had rebounded by the end of the Our People, Our Story campaign.
The entry added: ‘HSBC is a challenging environment for innovation and this is a two-woman team. They broke new ground with a truly avant-garde production process.’ The judges agreed. ‘This was just a tiny, internal communications team, who created great content in a challenging environment,’ said one. Another added: ‘This stood out because it was a small in-house team who did something different and engaging. Very impressive.’