Integration communications for Lloyds Banking Group
Lloyds Banking Group’s General Insurance business is one of the largest underwriters of personal insurance in the UK, operating under the Lloyds TSB, Halifax and Bank of Scotland brands. The business had 3,000 employees based over six key UK locations, with 85% in operations and distribution teams.
Following the acquisition of Halifax and Bank of Scotland (HBOS), Lloyds TSB Group were renamed Lloyds Banking Group, but this was not the only change they would have to make.
In 2009 the General Insurance (GI) business began their integration programme with announcements to employees about creating a single business, and building stability and profitability for the future. To enable this change, they would have to combine processes, systems, and propositions, remove duplication, and re-shape their operations.
A period of planning between HR and the Business Change teams took place, and in 2010, the GI business was in a position to begin announcing what the change would mean for their employees.
The in-house GI communications team were already stretched across the requirements of business partnering and strategic projects; and so the integration HR team decided to bring in flexible specialist resource, to manage communications for the integration of their largest population: operations.
As initial colleague announcements had already been made, and a follow up set of briefings were planned for six weeks after we were brought in, we really had to hit the ground running.
The immediate requirement was to work closely with the GI integration HR team, and Business Change teams, to develop the approach and messages for these briefings, which would take place across a number of sites on the same day, affecting multiple teams across the business. The briefings included the announcement of site-to-site work transfers, team relocations and an office closure. These changes were to be implemented over several months, and in the case of the office closure, would take over a year.
We took on the delivery of an approach to communication, which needed to balance these changes, with a set of interlinked projects under the banner of the GI integration programme. Over the course of a long-term assignment of over 18 months with the GI team, we managed and implemented a plan of communications for all integration activities across the operations function, including:
- Engaging senior leadership in the approach to communicating change messages and coaching them in successful delivery
- A number of announcement days managed in co-ordination with Group Corporate Affairs, External Communications and the Press Office, with a focus on face-to-face communication
- Maintaining the engagement and motivation levels of employees during change; balancing the requirements of employees who were staying with the business, with those who were working notice periods prior to exit
- Celebrating the launch of new products and services, including a Personal Claims Consultants service
- Developing and deploying a series of communications around changes to telephony and IT systems, including support for ‘dress rehearsal’ weekends and staff training sessions
- Creating communications which made the best use of existing channels and resources; from an integration intranet site, to a regular integration ezine, and visual journey boards, to recorded leadership messages
- Taking on line management responsibilities for a Communications Co-ordinator supporting tactical integration communication activity
- Utilising a network of ‘Change Champions’ to gain feedback and evaluate how change was being received
This was undertaken alongside working with the in-house team on the launch of a new GI strategy, and supporting the implementation of a ‘Leaders as Communicators’ training programme.
Our delivery on the integration programme within the operations function was so successful, that we were asked to provide a similar service for the GI distribution teams. The model that we used for delivering change messages, and the templates we introduced for supporting documents, such as ‘Questions and Answers’ and ‘Line Manager Guidance’, were adopted across the Insurance business.
Being independent specialists, but also having gained an understanding of the business, and evidenced successful delivery, we were in a great position to offer support to the wider change programme across the Group. We were called upon to be involved in some of the largest, and most successful, integration changes in the history of financial services.
However, the key success for us was the reaction of the employees; throughout the integration programme engagement levels, and the service provided to customers, were maintained, and in some circumstances, even improved upon. We supported HR with achieving maximum redeployment opportunities for staff, and those employees who exited the organisation through redundancy, did so with their heads held high having been supported, and engaged in the reasons and rationale for making the change.
Lloyds Banking Group said about our support:
“We’ll be sorry to see Laura go as she’s been a great member of the team and has done some fantastic work that we’ve very much appreciated.”
Linda Fay | Senior Internal Communications Manager | Insurance Division |
Lloyds Banking Group