Engaging employees at Clarks


Engaging employees at Clarks in a new approach to managing pay.

Our Client:

C & J Clark International Ltd, trading as Clarks, is a British, international shoe manufacturer and retailer. It was founded in 1825 by Quaker brothers Cyrus and James Clark in Street, Somerset, England – where it still has its headquarters. Today Clarks are a global business, selling over 50 million pairs of shoes a year in over 40 markets around the world.

The Challenge:

Clarks requested specialist internal communications support to help them engage employees from their Group Supply Chain (GSC) function in a pilot roll out of a new approach to managing pay. The new approach will establish a clear link between individual contribution (performance rating) and annual pay review outcome. The brief was to provide quick, lean and focused support to deliver an effective and engaging suite of collateral to support a programme of communication, with the following objectives:

  • GSC employees to understand why we are introducing performance driven pay, what it means for them and feel motivated by the opportunity to potentially increase their pay award.
  • People to feel the new approach is transparent and fair
  • Managers to feel fully engaged, prepared and equipped to lead local briefings with their teams
  • Managers to feel confident about how they can use the performance framework in conjunction with performance driven pay
  • To mitigate any ‘risks and issues’ (where possible) relating to the pilot by getting engagement and communication off to a strong start.

Our Approach:

Our approach reflects our beliefs and experience on how to communicate changes to engage employees effectively. Working with Lynne Swash (Clarks GSC Change and Communications Manager) we developed an approach following best practice principles developed over 10 years of delivering specialist internal communications support.


Communications Plan and Materials

We believed communications could play a key role in the successful implementation of a new approach to pay awards by enabling Clarks employees to:

  • Understand the reason for the changes
  • Understand what they mean for them personally
  • Agree that communication on the changes has been effective.

And enabling Clarks leaders to:

  • Become positive advocates for the changes
  • Be the effective primary communication channel.

Once we had developed and agreed our overall communications approach with Lynne, based on best practice principles and above objectives, we designed and created a number of pieces of engaging communications collateral to support the pilot roll out which included:

  • A high level engagement pack for senior leaders
  • For Managers
    • A local briefing slide pack
    • A detailed manager guide to help them understand their role and commitment to leading the scheme and using the performance framework effectively
    • ‘On a Page’ – an engaging, pictorial one page including the timeline and fit with the performance framework to be used in the briefings
    • Animated introductory slide deck to be used in briefings
  • An employee letter and detailed guide to confirm what’s happening, to take away and keep for reference on how the scheme works
  • A set of frequently asked questions
  • A set draft pages for the new intranet which was due to be launched shortly after the pilot.

Understanding how successful the communications have been, and as a result how engaged employees are in the changes is very important particularly as this was a pilot running ahead of a full global roll out of Clarks new approach to managing pay.

The Results:

The overall communications programme of activity was received very positively with lots of the various elements receiving good feedback and the project team finding the support very useful.

Here’s what Lynne Swash, Communications Manager for Clarks Group Strategy and Change said about our support:

“Jos and Helen from The Internal Comms Team quickly understood the complexities and the challenges we were facing as we piloted our new approach to pay in GSC and delivered to a high standard. The expert and practical approach taken in developing the engagement and communications approach and materials helped us work quickly and effectively to prepare people for the pilot. The materials have been universally well received, leaving us with a suite of collateral that can be adapted for global roll out of the new scheme.”



Speak to Jos on - 07415 504 705


Unit 218, Paintworks, Bath Road, Bristol. BS4 3AQ

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