RB recently joined Cirrus on one of our regular lunchtime webinars to tell the story of how they engaged colleagues with their new Science and Innovation Centre. If you weren’t one of the 100 guests who signed up to join us on the day, you can now see and hear the story of how RB engaged people with excellence by watching and listening to our webinar recording.
Global multinational consumer goods company RB is well known for its innovation and market-leading brands including Dettol, Durex and Nurofen. Its new £105m Science and Innovation Centre represents the largest single investment in the company’s history. Recognising that new buildings, systems and processes cannot create a centre of excellence on their own, RB wanted to place people at the heart of the new centre’s objectives.
During this webinar recording, the RB story is brought to life by Claire Gardner, Senior HR Business Partner, and Lynsey Peers, Senior R&D Manager, Eye Care. The webinar is introduced by Cirrus Head of Engagement Jenny Perkins, who forged a strong partnership with RB to co-create a highly innovative and immersive programme for colleagues across RB’s R&D function.
Claire and Lynsey speak with real passion about how this programme has deeply engaged colleagues, optimised the positive elements of RB’s culture, and helped R&D colleagues shift towards a more collaborative way of working.
Claire explains that R&D already had a very positive culture with pockets of innovation and best practice. RB wanted to build on that positive culture and to make best practice more consistent.
The programme began with Cirrus interviewing key stakeholders to capture a cross-section of views. Cirrus subsequently facilitated a series of workshops over an intensive two-week period to encourage buy-in across the organisation. During week one RB was encouraging people to attend. By week two they were oversubscribed.
“This wasn’t a top-down approach,” says Claire. “It was led by employees. A network of champions across R&D became cheerleaders for the programme.”
Lynsey explains that this self-selected group of champions helped to bring down barriers. “We now have lots of active clubs running across the organisation, from knitting to running to board games,” she says. “For me, the one closest to my heart is our choir. We’ve sung for the board, we’ve even sung with the board. It is a huge success and is so uplifting.” These clubs have helped colleagues to realise that they can make change happen and launch initiatives of their own without having to ask for permission.
As Claire and Lynsey describe the subsequent workshops and other activities that took place, you can also hear them respond to questions from some of the participants on this webinar. For example, they talk about the range of techniques used alongside the workshops and champions network to get people on board. The Cirrus Strata digital portal helped colleagues to connect virtually and share ideas. An online ‘Connections Wall’ enabled teams to share ‘big ideas’ as part of the workshop programme. These teams were made up of people who didn’t usually work together, which helped to introduce more cross-functional collaboration across R&D. One team created a very funny visitor’s guide to Hull which has been viewed online many, many times and has subsequently formed part of RB’s graduate recruitment campaign.
In addition, a wide range of communications materials such as banners and branded water bottles helped to raise awareness. A variety of learning materials and learning toolkits developed by Cirrus helped RB to take ownership of the programme, roll it out, and keep it alive. As Jenny Perkins highlights, the Cirrus approach is very much about building sustainability and not dependency.
Something else that emerged as critical was the concept of ‘pace with space’. Time for reflection was always built in.
Another participant during this webinar asks RB what they found the biggest barrier to be. They highlighted the importance of not getting tied down in day-to-day events and ensuring that you continually step back and maintain your focus on the bigger picture.
Claire and Lynsey both express their pride in being part of this programme. Many of the people who joined RB and Cirrus on this webinar commented on how much RB’s tremendous enthusiasm comes across. This enthusiasm keeps this initiative alive and thriving.