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2020’s best internal communications strategy: NatWest Group

The NatWest Group has been through seismic change over the last few years, completely re-engineering the business and redesigning its communication method in order to improve customer experience.

Now the group has shifted its focus to the colleague experience to help deliver its purpose of serving customers well.

To put its 2020 Colleague Strategy in place, NatWest needed to implement and embed one of the biggest investments of digital HR transformation across an organisation ever. The strategy’s priority was to improve employee engagement and make the bank a great place
to work.

Working under its theme of ‘digital HR transformation’ were three key aims. The first was that colleagues have the same digital experience as customers; the second to reduce the HR cost base and become more efficient and effective; and the third to pivot to build the platforms needed to optimise the value created by the HR function.

In 2017 the HR function secured the significant financial investment needed to digitally transform using Workday. It created a colleague experience similar to that of the customer.

Levels of organisational change were at a peak; the bank had already reduced headcount by 120,000, a 67% reduction since the 2008 financial crisis. Change fatigue was a real concern for the group.

The scale of NatWest’s digital HR transformation stretched beyond the launch of a digital platform. Workday replaced the HR system that was in place and transformed the way colleagues managed performance and development, built capability, and managed HR tasks, in a way and at a time that suited them.

The strategy was an immediate success after launching. Over 34,000 logins were recorded within the first 24 hours. An embedding strategy designed with RBS’ behavioural science team and using ‘the humanist checklist’ encouraged colleagues to get started on Workday and explore its features. Metrics such as daily Workday log-ons, numbers of HR processes completed, regularly used features and course enrolments so far were also used to track how adoption was going.

The team responded and pivoted quickly to colleague feedback. As influential business managers who support bank leaders started to use the new platform and adopt the new ways of working their feedback was used to shape changes.

In response to business and HR feedback, the team delivered a new weekly digital HR bulletin with balanced comms to remind HR what was working well. For example, high levels of user adoption, better completion rates for core processes like end of year reviews and what the bank was doing to quickly tackle the inevitable issues that arise with any transformational change.

Today, colleagues have completed 2.2 million business processes in Workday. Not only did this suggest that the internal communications strategy had done what it set out to do, our judges also felt that the team had also exceeded the initial goals of the project making it a well deserving winner of this year’s award.



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Find the full list of the 2020 HR Excellence awards winners here. You can also watch the event on demand and register your interest in the 2021 event here.