Internal Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Strategy
In October 2016, electricity network Ausgrid was purchased by a consortium of IFM Investors and AustralianSuper as part of a 99-year lease. The challenge for the new owners and Ausgrid was multifaceted; contention surrounding a move towards privatising a government owned agency and an external environment with a national focus on energy, increasing prices, deregulation and competition. After two years of significant cuts across Ausgrid getting it ready for sale, employees were very concerned about future changes and what privatising would mean in the longer term, as well as some excitement about the opportunities the owners would provide with investment and new technologies and an opportunity to do more in their roles than just ‘keeping the lights on’. Our brief was to develop a comprehensive internal communications strategy which would encompass the transition to new owners as well as the first six months of integration activities.
A three-phase integrated strategy was developed: Phase one – Connection; Phase two – Direction; and Phase three – Integration activities. We also conducted a series of focus groups with employees and managers and an audit of internal channels.
Phase one (December 2016) focused on building an understanding of IFM Investors and AustralianSuper to the broader Ausgrid workforce.
Phase two (January to March 2017) focused on direction, aligning employees to the future purpose, direction and leadership of Ausgrid. Ogilvy launched ‘Making Ausgrid Better’ campaign.
Phase 3 (April-December) the transformation program commenced implementation with a restructure and heavy union consultation on the changes and their EBA. Focus shifted to supporting cultural change program.
Results included: 3,100 employees attended the Roadshow events; 90% of employees understood why Ausgrid needed to change; 77% understood the role they need to play in making Ausgrid better; 60%+ understood the transformation plan and what they can expect to happen over the next 12 months; and 70% believe the new purpose, vision and values set the organisation up for success.