Best employee engagement programme 2015 Article icon

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ODEON & UCI Cinemas Group

Agency: Synergy Creative

The previous two years had proved challenging for ODEON & UCI Cinemas Group, the UK’s leading cinema chain, but the arrival of new chief executive Paul Donovan in January 2014 provided an opportunity to park those troubles and move forward, growing market share and improving competitiveness.

But employee engagement, which was vital to rebuilding the business, was low, with staff unsure about their role, the company’s direction and how that affected them.

In an effort to boost engagement levels, agency Synergy Creative created a new Vision and Values for the business, but then faced the challenge of ’selling’ these into more than 7,000 staff across 150 cinemas in a way that grabbed their attention and excited them about ODEON’s new direction.

An Employee Opinion Survey, combined with a series of in-depth interviews across the business, highlighted that any campaign needed to suit part-time and shift workers in a way that did not depend on the Internet and was ultimately fun.

It became clear that cinema managers would be key to the success of the campaign, as they needed to ‘buy into’ the new Vision and Values and then cascade these down to their colleagues.

It was decided to have a launch event to share the Vision and Values, followed by 12 weeks of activities to both ensure that staff understood what these meant and boost their enthusiasm.

The creative concept ’Make every day an inspiring experience‘ was developed, and the bright, eye-catching imagery was applied to a range of multimedia and face-to-face communications. The launch event, hosted by television presenter Jason Dawe, was attended by 50 cinema managers who were recruited as ambassadors to help roll out the campaign across the nation.

Activities were held to bring to life the six values, which were illustrated by cinema-related icons, and a live Q&A session was held with the chief executive, who also featured in a video alongside other employees talking about what the values meant to them.

The ambassadors then embarked on a road tour, jointly hosting events with cinema managers at every ODEON where employees were shown the video and took part in interactive activities. Each manager was provided with briefing packs, which included strategy roadmaps, posters and activity cards for them to host fortnightly activities over the following 12 weeks to bring each value to life.

An activity was created around each value. For example, a ‘how well do you know our guests?’ quiz was created to demonstrate ‘insight’, while to explain ‘accountability’ staff were

invited to think of ideas and try them in their cinemas. Staff also shared photos of what they are passionate about at work to demonstrate ‘passion’ while ‘respect’ was highlighted through a ‘how would you respond to these scenarios?’ quiz.

A Google+ community was created to share ideas, pictures and comments that arose from the activities.

At the end of the national roll out, an OHI Pulse Survey revealed that employee engagement had risen by 25 percentage points, the third biggest increase ever registered by any company using these scores, while 98 per cent of employees had a good understanding of ODEON’s Vision and Values.

Chief executive Donovan was also so impressed with the employee ideas that he is currently considering which ones to introduce nationwide. ‘This was a creative and fun campaign,’ said the judges. ‘It was very well thought through and highly comprehensive.’