EY UK and Ireland shares purpose and vision with 12,000 employees

The facts and stats

Business priorities: Company purpose and vision
Sector: Professional Services
Lead contact: Head of Communications & Engagement
Employees in the picture: 12,000 people
Locations: United Kingdom and Ireland
Lead time to launch day: 4 months

“It was the best example of a group activity I have taken part in for a long time in that it engaged everyone equally, was relevant to our work as individuals and as a team. It was well paced, easy to play without too many complicated rules and you were learning about the people around you as well as making you think about your own input.”

EY UK and Ireland Employee

Our client, EY UK and Ireland

Ernst & Young (EY) is a multinational professional services firm headquartered in London, England, United Kingdom. EY is one of the largest professional services firms in the world and is one of the “Big Four” accounting firms and prides itself on its purpose and vision.

EY are committed to building a better working world – with increased trust and confidence in business, sustainable growth, development of talent in all its forms, and greater collaboration. They strive to build a better working world through their own actions and by engaging with like-minded organisations and individuals. This is their purpose – and why they exist as an organisation.

Running through EY’s organisation is a strong sense of obligation to serve a number of different stakeholders who count on them to deliver quality and excellence in everything they do. They aim to use their global reach and scale to convene the conversation about the challenges facing economies and the capital markets.

EY’s launched its ‘Vision 2020’ goals in December 2013 to all EY people globally. Since then, EY has worked with BigPicture Learning to engage their Partners and people across UK&I and to help them understand what it means for their UK&I organisation (which includes people, clients and communities).

Two BigPicture Learning interventions in 2014 focused on conversations in teams/small groups, rolled out across whole global firm, with over 400 sessions held in UK&I alone. For EY, the power was in the conversation – simply taking the time to talk to their people, and also in the thought that in every EY office across the globe, the same conversation was taking place.

Both tools had a significant positive impact, the 2015 Global People Survey (GPS) recorded an increase of 31% in people who felt “The partners or other leaders I work with have communicated a vision of the future that motivates me” since the GPS in 2013.

 

The communications challenge

By 2017, a significant number of new people had joined EY across UK&I (approximately one-third). This meant that many people had not have been with the firm during the launch of its Vision 2020 programme or have experienced the engagement tools.

EY’s latest UK&I Global People Survey had revealed a fall in the number of people who understood how their job contributed to Vision 2020 and a fall in those who believed that the partners/leaders they worked with had communicated a vision of the future that motivated them.

To reinvigorate the existing Vision 2020 strategy, provide the accelerant we need to achieve our ambitions, and support Vision 2020+ in the UK, the Extended Leadership Team identified that a new engagement campaign was needed. This campaign would have to engage EY’s people in EY’s vision and help them to understand how they can contribute to EY’s success. It would have to inspire and motivate their people, whether they are a new joiner or have worked at EY for a number of years.

Putting people in the picture

EY commissioned BigPicture Learning to create an engagement experience that would significantly raise the number of people responding positively to the 2018 Global People Survey with regard to understanding and feeling motivated by the EY vision.

This experience would have to build on the excellent results achieved in this area from the previous BigPicture Learning interventions and the other work EY had done to support engagement with the vision. However, this would need to be something that moved to the “next level” in terms of building on (rather than repeating) previous interventions. EY also wanted to include digital and futuristic elements to their intervention.

BigPicture Learning worked with the UK&I Regional Leadership Team and a Steering committee including Partners from across the business.  With them, we developed a Learning Map System in the format of a board game that could be played in small teams of EY employees.  The game worked as follows:

  • It took 2 hours to play
  • It was played by a group of c.12 people split into two groups, competing against each other
  • Each team rolled the dice and moves around the board. Landing on different squares, means different types of cards are drawn.
  • Through playing the cards, employee learnt what “Purpose” is, why it is important, how well they delivered purpose in their day to day work and shared stories of colleagues delivering purpose across the business.

A small number of the cards and activities were designed to be accessed using an Augmented Reality (AR) using the player’s own smart phones.

 

Step-change in performance

Feedback from the Better working world game sessions was very positive. By the time the 2018 Global People Survey was run, 49% of employees had played the game. Even with more than half of employees still to experience the workshops, results revealed a significant uplift in results from EY’s UK&I employees:

  • Our purpose is a key focus for everyone, regardless of rank, role, sector etc. = 76% agree / strongly agree
  • I am inspired by other people’s stories around our purpose = 71% agree / strongly agree
  • I understand our purpose of what it means to be a purpose-led organisation = 87% agree / strongly agree
  • I am proud to work for EY and be part of something bigger and better = 87% agree / strongly agree

This built on the significant success already delivered for EY by BigPicture Learning in previous interventions.

“I thought spending an afternoon playing a game would not be a good use of my time but I was pleasantly surprised to discover otherwise. Not only did it make me think more deeply about our values and purpose, it was a catalyst to re-focusing my attention on how to bring that purpose into my day-to-day role.”

Find out how the Learning Map System can be put to work in your organisation

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By putting the Learning Map System to work, our customers have elevated their internal communications to a new level. They have won awards for employee engagement, improved staff loyalty and motivation, increased customer satisfaction, and made a step-change in business performance. Read more of their stories below.

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