It is only five years since Christopher Clare graduated from Queen Mary’s College, University of London and just three years since he joined Lloyds Banking Group, but the senior corporate communications manager has already gained the trust of chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio and other board and executive committee members.
In his current role, Clare has responsibility for delivering the executives’ key messages to his 75,000 colleagues across the banking group. He draws on past experience. For example, as a communications manager for commercial banking, Clare developed a new strategy, including an innovative Client First campaign, that brought colleagues closer to clients.
His supporters say that Clare understands it is not the channel, but how well you connect with the colleagues you are communicating with and how you demonstrate an understanding of the environment in which they operate. He managed 20 series of regional visits for Horta-Osorio and chairman Lord Blackwell, each comprising two team visits, two branch visits, a town hall for 150 colleagues, a recognition dinner for 180 colleagues and a breakfast for 120 clients. Almost all attendees, 99 per cent, said the visit provided them with a better understanding of the work being undertaken by the group.
Indeed, he organised ten colleague recognition events across ten regions in ten days, contacting the 1,000 plus staff who had been nominated with just a four-week lead time. The result was a 24 point increase in colleague awareness and an 18 point improvement in pride.
For the past eight quarters, Clare has had responsibility for delivering the bank’s financial results to colleagues in a way that is both comprehensive and easily accessible. In the run up to the announcement that Lloyds Banking Group had returned to full private ownership, Clare liaised directly with the UKFI and the Treasury to co-ordinate the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s involvement.
He was responsible for the communication’s programme, and even had to adapt plans, when the snap election meant a period of purdah. Within seven minutes of the announcement, Clare had reached 35,000 colleagues with a live broadcast interview with Horta-Osorio. Three quarters of viewers – 73 per cent – felt a sense of pride, while 87 per cent felt it was a valuable use of their time. The judges felt this was particularly impressive ‘as Lloyds had no exact date as to when the Government would sell its shares’.
Clare was also instrumental in developing a campaign strategy and key message framework for Words Matter, creating a central narrative on diversity and inclusion, that has served to transform the bank’s culture.
The campaign, which was delivered on time and under budget, was activated across 51 head office sites. Its launch video received more than 20,000 views, the highest viewing figures for an internal video at that time, while related articles on the Intranet have received more than double the average views.
James Murray, head of corporate, brand and internal communications, said Clare had ‘progressed rapidly’ at Lloyds Banking Group and had ‘made a positive impact on the team’.
The judges said: ‘Chris brings a lovely mix of creativity and strategic thinking, together with a passion for getting the job done. His passion for communications shines through his work.’