Whilst acting as creative director at Team Rewards (an employee benefits and communications specialist) Marks & Spencer were a long standing client and had commissioned a refresh of their company-wide employee benefits and retention programme ‘M&S extras’. Based on the strength of the refresh M&S requested a redesign of their internal occupational health resources.
At the time, the resources consisted of a large number of disparate fact sheets available for download (some would say ‘lost’) on the M&S employee intranet that went largely ignored.
Marks and Spencer
– UX, UI & visual design
– Team management
M&S required something extraordinary to elevate occupational health into the consciousness of their 80,000+ employees across 900+ sites in order to cut down on staff turnover, tackle sickness absence and build a healthy and engaged work force.
Enter Plan A Wellbeing, part of the Plan A Health award winning initiative. A website dedicated to facilitating good staff health and wellbeing through interactive challenges, pledges, inter-office competitions and more.
Plan A Wellbeing needed to be engaging above all else. This meant breaking the mould of M&S internal communications guidelines to produce a digital product that would be as good looking as it was engaging and easy to use. It needed to make users feel part of a movement.
The project started with content. Lots of content. Upon investigation M&S had in excess of 200+ documents pertaining to occupational health and wellbeing. The documents were little more than converted word documents with little in the way of style or consistency.
Common themes became apparent from these documents – many of them referenced the same content for back pain and even more regurgitated the exact same content for time off through illness. As patterns emerged it became clear that much of the content could be used as the backbone of the site.
We conducted a study within M&S to establish the main health concerns of employees and used the results as the big ticket content items. In essence the site would be a two tier site. The main content would be that which concerned employees most, with the encyclopaedia like occupational health ‘library’ making up the rest. This would mean all OH content would still be available to those who wanted it, but the more engaging content would be the focus of the site.
Initially three creative routes were submitted, with the most radical being the preferred option. From this point on, page scamps and wireframes were created and tested, UI elements were worked up and colours outside of the core M&S black and acid green were employed to bring life to an otherwise clean and clear design.
Vibrant visuals and colourful illustrations were created to soften the content and make the site feel more human to the point that where it didn’t look entirely like an M&S product, it unmistakably was. It was an enormous project that took myself, two account executives, three developers and dedicated team at M&S 6 months to bring to life.
An integral part of the award winning Plan A Health initiative (BUPA ‘business in the community award’), the Plan A Wellbeing website was an immediate success gaining more than 8,000 visits on launch week with 30,000+ visits throughout the following two months.
The site was instrumental in improving staff turnover rates (a low of 0.5%), sickness absence fell by 7% in the month following the launch, and 10,500 employees had undertaken a wellbeing pledge such as drinking more water, to improve their health.
Over 1,000 employees joined the weight-loss challenge and 4 metric tonnes of weight were lost while increasing staff engagement, and 500 staff participated in a 24-hour cycling endurance challenge, raising over £1million for charity.
The site was so successful that M&S India ran a syndicated version featuring additional local content and design changes unique to M&S India employees needs, such as lower bandwidth imagery, smaller footprint pages and quicker site loading.