Best in-house team 2016

Rentokil Initial

When the judges consider the best in-house team, the first thing they look for is evidence of teamwork. Nowhere was this more obvious than in the entry from Rentokil Initial, which stated at the outset the names of each member of the four-man team and their individual responsibilities, before explaining how its ‘one team approach’ helped the FTSE 250 company deliver a 29 per cent rise in its share price against a 8 per cent decline for the index.

Led by director of corporate communications Malcolm Padley, the team work closely together to deliver coordinated communications around results, acquisitions and corporate news. Over the 12 months to June 2016, Rentokil Initial acquired 30 businesses, including North American-based Steritech, its largest acquisition in ten years, just days after buying Chicago-based Anderson Pest Solutions. The deals were described by The Times as ‘an amuse bouche followed by the main course’.

Last year was also the 90th anniversary of Rentokil Initial, which was created after Harold Maxwell-Lefroy, Britain’s Imperial Entomologist, was asked to tackle an infestation of deathwatch beetle in the roof of the House of Commons. He created an insecticide, bottled it and called it Rentokil, establishing the company in 1925.

To commemorate the event, Rentokil Initial commissioned a book The Pest Detectives. With no company archive, the team had to identify former employees to share their stories. A gaming app, of the same name, was also created to promote the book and raise brand awareness. Players have to defeat ten levels of pests, such as Splat the Rat or Bash the Beetle, to reach the bonus level: pests of the future. (Colleagues were also encouraged to play: the team ran a competition for the highest scoring pest detective.)

Manager Laura Folley managed the book project, assisting Padley with writing and proofing; internal engagement manager Amelia Shire assisted with merchandise while executive Stuart Stevenson assisted with the app development and testing.

The team also worked together to create an anniversary event at the House of Commons, for shareholders, MPs, journalists, customers, suppliers and colleagues (old and new), to launch the book and game. Today Programme carried a four minute feature on the event, which also received other print and broadcast coverage.

MPs were encouraged to eat bugs to raise funds for Malaria No More, Rentokil Initial’s chosen charitable partner. The company has now raised more than £100,000 for the charity, and launched a report about global mosquito control with its preliminary results to highlight the work done by Malaria No More.

While a new corporate website and blog were launched to tie in with the event, the team also worked together to revitalise the company’s internal communications over the year with a new colourful brand identity. Stevenson overhauled the group Intranet, and launched 12 other local sites, adding interactivity and more access to social media, while the team created content. Shire launched the company’s global biennial survey of 31,000 colleagues on the new site, achieving an 85 per cent response rate.

‘We like this team and its creativity,’ said the judges. ‘They produced clear evidence of how the team works together to achieve great results.’