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HR Excellence Awards 2010: Most Effective Use of Internal Communications - Winner: B&Q

To mark its 40th anniversary in 2009, DIY chain B&Q set itself an ambitious target of delivering 300 million in profit and 300p per share by 2012.

Set against its 'Transforming B&Q' programme of redefining its purpose and clarifying staff expectations and behaviours, the firm launched an imaginative internal communications plan that started from the top - with B&Q and Kingfisher CEO Euan Sutherland blogging about his ideas - but well and truly involved the masses, including the 21,000 votes they cast to choose the name of the project, to the breakout sessions that gave employees the opportunity to discuss B&Q's 'Purpose', 'Values' and 'Customer Promise' ideas with colleagues in other functions.

The judges were impressed with B&Q's range of activities - everything from a specially commissioned film to bring to life the programme, a special edition of the staff magazine, screen-saver visuals, an in-store teaser campaign, to the launch of a sevenpoint business plan, and even events where the board of directors personally cooked lunch for staff. "You certainly felt there was plenty of opportunity to have a dialogue," praised one judge, and this was borne out by the results of the campaign, where its November 2009 engagement survey was the highest ever, with staff signalling a +0.19 improvement in knowing what the company's purpose was, and their role in it, and more saying they would still be working at the firm in a year's time.

One of the highest improvements (+0.39) was also around the leadership of the organisation "making me feel enthusiastic about the future". B&Q HRD Liz Bells says she strongly believes B&Q is now a better place to work, providing greater customer satisfaction. Despite the tough economic conditions, the firm posted a 2.6% rise in sales to £4 billion in 2009, which boosted profits by 79.4% to reach £195 million - a level that its says keeps it on target of reaching its '300-300' aim.


When research by Hyder found 80% of its 4,300 staff said it was too difficult and too time-consuming to find information on its online systems, HR and communications director Misti Melville created a multi-language, multi-audience intranet. Judges particularly liked the way employees could design their own 'My Site' profile, enabling social networking between staff, and the 'Ask Ivor' (its CEO) option, enabling true two-way communication. Regular news and information on all areas of the business means the intranet gets more than 120,000 visits per month.




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