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Case Study: Cross cultures engagement - freshfields

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An Engage for Success case study from the cross cultures subgroup

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Case Study: Cross cultures engagement - freshfields

  1. 1. Cross-Cultures Engagement A Case Study Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer International Film Festival, 2011
  2. 2. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP Introduction “Challenging times call for creative and bold solutions and running an International Film Festival was the best way for us to achieve a sense of unity and pride.” Global Managing Partner  An International Film Festival created in the heart of the credit crunch as a bold, confident and robust way to support the continued excellence of delivery of services to our clients in unprecedented markets requiring entirely innovative thinking. The International Film Festival reinforced firm values, increased engagement and unleashed our lawyers’ creativity.  Firm management’s strong belief was that at this time of crisis, the firm must pull together across our - at the time - 27 office network and challenged the internal communications department to deliver a global campaign which resulted in closer international ties, lived the values of the firm (in particular ‘imagination’ and ‘outstanding teamwork’) and raised engagement levels.  A small central team worked closely with local office film teams who were each tasked with creating a five-minute film which creatively demonstrated our firm’s values. Offices wrote scripts, acted in the film and 17 completed films were submitted, covering 24 offices (several offices collaborated to produce combined films within their country).  Each office showed all 17 of the films within an agreed timeframe. Films were screened in large rooms with the entire office attending. Popcorn and ice cream were provided and in one office, a cinema was hired. A supporting global communications campaign ran throughout the International Film Festival, running ‘teasers’ of the films to be shown and featuring the firm’s top management.  Working closely with our IT department, we developing an on-line voting system where the whole firm was invited to vote on their favourite film in three categories: Best Film; Best Cast; the Angel Award for the film that best captured the spirit of the firm.  A globally coordinated Awards Ceremony was held, with offices around the world holding a celebratory party at the same time and, in an unprecedented use of technology, a great many offices took part in the Awards Ceremony via a live video link-up.  The number and quality of the films, the huge numbers of votes, the number of people hooking into the Awards Ceremony and the terrific amount of feedback on the benefits of the International Film Festival made it clear that we had achieved our goals.
  3. 3. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP Rationale With the credit crisis severely impacting the global economy, our lawyers more than ever needed to draw support from the firm’s values. We wanted to reinforce what makes the firm so capable and reassure our lawyers that our 250 year history meant we would not only survive but thrive under such intense conditions. We wanted people to feel a strong sense of connection to the firm at a time when the world felt very uncertain, and we wanted people to feel confident when there was little to be found externally. We knew it would not be easy to positively engage our global workforce of around 5,000 people in an exercise requiring them to look away from their local markets, and temporarily away from the intensity of their working environment. Through exercising significant collaborative skills and a deep understanding of the firm, we were able to ensure a truly engaging experience across the entire network, as well as utilise untested technological solutions to global communications which will be used in the future.
  4. 4. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP Impact A huge proportion of our offices chose to take part in the International Film Festival – 23 of 27 in total – and about a fifth of the firm participated in the online voting (with around 80 per cent of the votes coming from outside London). The screenings held in each office had a very high turn-out. Some offices even chose to hire external venues – such as a local cinema, complete with red carpet and popcorn. And, despite the challenges of time differences around the world, 16 of our offices took part in the live video link-up – at that time, the firm’s first ever ‘virtual’ global party. We built on the foundations of greater global collaboration achieved through the International Film Festival by subsequently developing the firm’s first and only global on-line communication platform. Utilising social media and video, the vehicle ‘Freshfields ThisWeek’ intends to continue connections, all in a confident and informative way. The International Film Festival was recognized as the “Most Effective Internal Communication” in The Lawyer HR Awards 2011.

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