The Challenge

The parent company announced it wanted to exit the credit card market in Europe, meaning possible closure or sale for UK and Ireland business. There was significant uncertainty for  associates, few had clarity on whether or not their jobs would be secure, but the client decided the best route to a positive outcome was through a positive and engaged workforce..

The Solution

The solution we developed in partnership with the client was a programme called Xplore; based on their mindsets associates were encouraged to adapt (“explorers” thrive on taking accountability for their actions in uncertain territory).

Xplore used strong imagery and language to engage staff in shaping and influencing the business, with a focus on development rather than promotion.

A portal was created using SharePoint with three zones: Safari (engagement-related activities); Mountain (leadership development); Polar (performance appraisals, performance development plans).

The client developed a leadership-specific hub known as “The Leadership Cloud”, a social learning hub with customised content.

Designated “Lead Xplorers” attended six Xplore experiences to assist in cascading Xplore throughout the business in a social and high impact manner. They helped the whole business to navigate the Xplore experience and the associated changes.

Finally we understood that not everyone would like it or “get” it – but something the client was comfortable with, the aim initially was to get a response from people, to make them sit up and take notice, and to spark curiosity.

Xplore was a metaphor for the changes in the mindset we wanted to encourage.

The Result

The results of the employee engagement survey show something quite remarkable considering the unstable working climate. The overall engagement score for the business rose from 64% to 70% and within this, 83% said they cared about the future of the business. Management were perceived to be effective by 84% of those whom responded and Goal clarity, support and team work all scores 73%. The overall engagement index continued to rise to 74% in the calendar year.Staff attrition fell from 9.7% to 7.4%. Absence fell from just under 4% to 2.75%.

Externally the Xplore strategy was shortlisted for and HR Excellence Award and won the Personnel Today Award for best Engagement Strategy. the client also won the Consumer Money Facts Award for best Credit Card Provider.

Finally and most remarkably the parent company ultimately had a change of heart due to the continued growth in trade and performance of workforce, and decided to continually trade the business and remove it from public sale.


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