King’s College National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust is one of the busiest trusts in the UK, providing healthcare services for a population of over 1 million people. It supports numerous clinics and hospitals, including King’s College Hospital, a leading teaching hospital and trauma centre serving several boroughs in southeast London. Their vision is to hire brilliant, diverse staff who provide outstanding care for their patients and continue to educate and innovate for the future of medicine.
King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust came to PeopleScout with a challenge. They were, like many other healthcare organisations, struggling to recruit for clinical roles such as nursing.
To address this, our initial objective was to develop a “Why King’s” message for an employer brand campaign. But after conducting focus groups with employees, it became clear that, to fix the attraction issue, we needed to start with employee engagement.
Retention of staff wasn’t an issue—King’s was overarchingly seen as a place where, with the right motivation, employees could grow in their career. The problem was an overall feeling among staff that there was a lack of recognition and appreciation from senior leadership. While there was a great deal of pride and loyalty within teams, there was no strong sense of unity across the five sites within the Trust.
Before we could go out with an authentic employer brand message, we needed to show employees that they are valued, encourage staff recognition and galvanise the organisation.
And we needed to do this on a big, Trust-wide scale.
We designed an employee engagement campaign that would not only recognise employees, but would also be a big, bold, morale-boosting showcase of Kings’ values:
- Always aiming higher
- Working together
- Inspiring confidence in our care
Little did we know just how important this message would become as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world. As the UK began clapping for the NHS in March 2020, we were designing a campaign that would greet the King’s staff on the frontlines and serve as a constant reminder of their incredible work, both before and throughout the pandemic.
This was so much more than an attraction campaign. It was our ‘Big Thank You’ to those who had sacrificed so much to keep us all safe.
Bringing It to Life
Six Days. 166 Participants.
As soon as lockdown restrictions lifted, we safely photographed and filmed people from across a range of clinical and non-clinical roles from all of King’s sites. Staff gave up valuable break time to take part in something that honoured their colleagues as well as recognised their own contributions.
Using comments made about participating staff members by their colleagues, we created 350 thank-yous—for both individual participants and general messages to all staff.
300 Pieces of Artwork. 18 Installations Across Three Main Sites.
We used the secondary colour palette from the NHS brand to create something that would stand out from the usual NHS blue to celebrate our King’s stars. With 300 pieces of eye-catching collateral in tow, we plastered our larger-than-life installations across three main sites, including a huge projection onto the outside of the hospital at their central location. Images went up on walls; inside and outside of buildings; on fence railings, stairs and windows.
Imagine the feeling: Arriving for another exhausting shift on the COVID frontlines to see an over 300-square-foot personalised message of gratitude to you, from your employer, projected on the outside of your workplace for all your colleagues and the local community to see.
That’s recognition on a big scale.
Not only did the installations delight staff, they also expressed the appreciation of King’s leadership and echoed the community’s warmth and gratitude for the Trust and the wider NHS.
In times of unprecedented turmoil, unimaginable pressure and unbelievable sadness, this uplifting campaign created a feeling of belonging, camaraderie and engagement among staff. As COVID-19 raged, what had started as an idea to recognise and celebrate those who brought the King’s values to life, evolved to become a wider message for all, “Thank you to all of you, for everything—and whatever comes next, we’re all in this together.”
The campaign has been instrumental in building a sense of pride not just in individual teams, but in the Trust as a whole. We’ve helped create positive advocates who are proud to be Team King’s and who contribute to a culture of recognition and gratitude. As a result of this campaign:
- There was a 50% increase in the number of recognitions made by staff to their colleagues following the campaign.
- 13,159 thank-you letters and badges were sent out to all staff.
Their Chief Nurse is beyond thrilled with the results. Not only with the execution (which has also, on a practical level, brightened up some of the older hospital buildings), but with the impact she directly attributes to this campaign—renewed feelings of inclusion, recognition and engagement across the King’s staff.
“You’ve captured the people and heart of King’s and brought our values to life. The staff response to these images has been extraordinary and has created a real buy-in and the internal buzz that we were after.”Nicola Ranger, Chief Nurse & Executive Director of Midwifery, King’s College Hospital
In addition to the employee engagement benefits, the Trust is leveraging the content in their on-going talent attraction and recruitment efforts via a custom careers portal and targeted recruitment marketing campaigns. We created a video for each person we interviewed to showcase King’s employer value proposition (EVP) and communicate the opportunities they offer.
This feel-good, reputation-healing employee engagement project will have an impact on the King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust workforce for years to come.
AT A GLANCE
- COMPANY: King’s College NHS Foundation Trust
- PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Talent Advisory
- ABOUT: King’s College NHS Foundation Trust provides healthcare services through numerous clinics and hospitals, including King’s College Hospital, a leading teaching hospital and trauma centre serving several boroughs in southeast London.