Get inspired: Meet the Unite 23 award winners pioneering EX evolution
Delivering outstanding employee experience is always something to be celebrated, and we still get a buzz every time we see Unily customers using their platforms to bring lofty visions to life. At our annual Unite awards, we recognize the people and enterprises that are pushing the boundaries to elevate the work lives of employees around the world. Want to know how the biggest brands craft experiences to delight their dynamic workforces? Read on and find out what great looks like in the fast-moving world of employee experience innovation.
Inspiring innovation in employee experience
Unite 23 was a blast of networking, learning, and fun we won’t forget. 600 attendees from the world’s biggest brands gathered from every corner of the world for 2 days of community-driven innovation.
From A-list keynotes that left us reeling, to brain-tickling breakout session, lively roundtable discussions, and parties that took us through to the early hours – our community came together in person like never before.
Topping off a packed two days were the coveted Unite Awards; a much-anticipated celebration of our changemaking customers and their inspiring success stories. This year, we introduced SMB and Enterprise awards to recognize a broader spectrum of exellence than ever before.
With hundreds of entries received, our industry expert judges worked diligently to review success stories from some of the world's most prestigious brands.
So, without further ado, let's dive into Unite 23’s winners:
Best launch or relaunch
Kicking off a new or revamped employee experience platform is an exciting and busy time. Devising campaigns that fuel adoption and engagement from day one, ensuring every employee feels part of the journey, and flagging up ingenious features and functionality that will change the way employees work is as much an art as it is a science.
Whether they launched loud and proud with great fanfare or eased in gently with a phased approach, entrants in this category embraced the opportunities presented by change with enthusiasm.
Top 3 post intranet launch activities
Congratulations! You’ve invested in your shiny new intranet but this isn’t the end of a journey, it’s just the beginning.
Enterprise winner: WSP
Global engineering and design consultancy WSP scooped the enterprise-level gold for their platform, Canopy.
Judge Mark Chevis (Head of Professional Services, NAM) was wowed by the organization's comprehensive rollout and support plan across regions, ensuring Canopy was relevant and owned by local markets.
He praised WSP for their approach's inclusivity and their 'personal touch,' starting with a single region and then collaborating with colleagues across the globe to adjust, upskill, and drive growth. This tailoring to local markets set them apart, along with the vision demonstrated in moving beyond a simple ‘intranet and knowledge hub’ model to personalized digital employee experience.
SMB winner: NewDay
UK consumer credit leader NewDay caught the judges' eyes with their masterful use of data-driven research for continuous improvement to their platform. Theirs is a story of major transformation, starting from an identified need to reengage employees disillusioned by a sub-par platform.
Powering up their phased rollout efforts with 'Content Ambassadors' to foster a sense of inclusion and involvement meant no one was left behind, and their stated commitment to 'an awesome UX' is evident across the winning outcome.
38% of employees trusted the content on the previous platform, whereas 85% trust the content on the Circle
Runner up: Alshaya Group
Multinational retail franchise operator, Alshaya Group based in Kuwait, impressed with their use of a single platform to effectively target multiple user groups, including frontline and corporate colleagues. Judges also praised their human-first approach, taking particular care to ensure their platform, Connect, is relevant and appropriate for their MENA audience.
Hybrid, blended, and remote-first workplaces are here to stay, and ensuring a strong company culture in this digital environment is a hot topic for many organizations.
The Culture Impact category's award winners are fueling a positive, cohesive culture with their employee experience platform. They're shining examples of how companies can enhance the employee voice, amplify colleague recognition, and nurture community in innovative ways.
Enterprise winner: EY
Judge Fran Slattery (Head of Customer Success, NAM) was impressed by the 'Uplift social equity’ scheme devised by professional services partnership EY. She particularly praised the balance of thoughtful, impactful design and stunning aesthetics it exhibits.
The initiative focuses on fostering greater awareness and understanding of social issues, in order to further the journey to create positive change through greater awareness. It utilizes programming across a host of mediums, sharing short videos of EY colleagues and their real-life stories, alongside actionable tools and resources to tackle inequality. Each story is unique, yet all share a common thread, with messages of feeling different or like an outsider.
Combining total respect for their corporate brand and the authentic voices of employee storytellers is no mean feat, but EY achieve it with aplomb.
One-third of the 400,000+ workforce attended Uplift's global launch webcast, with 90% finding it "inspiring to hear about EY's commitment to social equity."
SMB winner: ChampionX
The winning entry from oil and gas pioneer ChampionX illustrates perfectly the old saying, 'Where there's a will, there's a way.'
A small but mighty team took on the mammoth task of overhauling the employee experience in ChampionX’s Annual Development Month, which aims to celebrate and encourage employee growth on both a personal and professional level.
This ambitious scheme of work included creating a hub on their intranet with an interactive calendar of events, a social channel to share key learnings, and more. The new hub addressed last year’s employee frustration around finding and registering for events in Workday, and transformed Development Month into a more simple, highly attended, engaging, and community building experience in 2023.
"We are honored to receive this recognition and grateful for the opportunity to share the success of Development Month at ChampionX with everyone at Unite. If we have any words of wisdom to share, they would be to take employee feedback to heart and be as creative as possible to improve employees’ experience with Unily’s out-of-the-box functionality. Simple changes can make a big impact! "
Runner up: Caliber Collision
Automotive innovator Caliber Collision gained high praise in this category for their challenging of stereotypes, developing a holistic program that engages all employees regardless of their accessibility needs, age, gender, or economic status. Using the capabilities of their website to superb effect, they designed a complete cultural overhaul by celebrating workers in their element, both at work and at home.
Internal comms impact
It's impossible to overstate the strategic role strong internal communications play in a forward-thinking organization. Our customers' IC teams work tirelessly to leverage different channels and formats, driving engagement across the workforce and captivating the hearts and minds of colleagues.
This category celebrates the impactful ways those pro communicators get the message across, measure success, and embrace innovative techniques to cut through the noise.
Enterprise winner: British Airways
Flag carrier airline British Airways took gold in the enterprise section of the category for their use of Unily's full range of features to maximize the impact of their 'BA Better World Community Fund.' This initiative provides employees with a £20 voucher to donate to a charity of their choice, and the organization's Internal Comms team were eager to encourage high uptake.
Judge Hannah Unsworth (Head of Product Innovation) admired British Airways' success in capturing the full attention of remote shift workers, a demographic who can traditionally be tricky for internal comms to reach.
Using targeted emails, updated news articles that dynamically pulled into weekly roundups, and leveraging a new targeted pop-up feature to full effect, the campaign had an infectious impact not only on employees but for charitable giving too, raising over £138,000.
Colleagues leading the scheme noted a marked difference in donation level when using pop-ups, with around four times the engagement of other reminder methods.
SMB winner: Endo International
Our SMB winner triumphed in this category thanks to their balance of human stories and data. Having researched and analyzed employee needs, perceptions and communication preferences, the specialty pharmaceutical business realized colleagues were thriving in their collaborative culture, but seeking greater connection with each other and the business.
As a result, Endo made a conscious effort to increase the frequency of their people-focused featured stories, building pride in the company while tailoring content to strategic priorities.
Smashing their goal of a 5% increase in their communications engagement index by returning a 30% improvement gained the organization high praise from the judges. Also of note was their usage of Unily's robust analytics features to tweak and adjust as necessary – increasing news coverage having noted a demand for it, for example - and the team's agile approach to offering high-quality, meaningful content.
As a result of these efforts, the at.endo platform has recorded its highest months ever for both social activity and story views.
"We are thrilled and honored to receive this special award, which recognizes our intranet’s ability to effectively deliver communications and enable networking, knowledge management, productivity, and collaboration, for our team members across the globe."
Runner up: CAE
High technology manufacturer CAE was highly commended for their implementation of a multi-channel initiative to create a culture shift. Moving away from an outdated internal comms strategy that focused on disseminating information has paid dividends for them. Using the power of social and quirky campaigns such as dance challenges they gained unprecedented engagement in their important 75th birthday celebrations.
Best homepage – As chosen by our audience!
The Best Homepage category was a particular high point of the awards, featuring a nail-biting live vote. The power was in our attendees' hands as they took in a one-minute pitch from each of our three shortlisted organizations before voting for their eventual victor.
An intranet homepage is absolutely prime digital real estate, and our audience wanted to see how the companies featured were using theirs to drive engagement, surface content intelligently, and make an impact that keeps employees coming back.
Warren Kirtley (Resource and Delivery Manager) from British Airways, Craig Main (Digital Workplace Manager) from Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, and Stephanie Thomas (Senior Manager, Special Projects CEO's Office) from Wipro all put their case across passionately, but in the end, only one organization could come out on top.
Intranet design 101
At Unily, we know what good intranet design looks like. Our customers consistently win awards for world-class intranet design. We are the only intranet vendor to have won four Nielsen Norman Group Best Intranet accolades in one year. In this guide, we share our top tips for designing a stand-out intranet and give you an exclusive peek inside some of the world's best intranets, including examples from Johnson & Johnson, The Estée Lauder Companies, British Airways, and more.
And the winner is... Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
The Multinational hospitality and hotel management group took on a real challenge when they embarked on a bold redesign of their homepage to better deliver on-point communication and tools to all colleagues.
With homepages for corporate employees as well as each of their 30-plus hotels, striking a balance between highly relevant content and an overarching identity was no mean feat. Drawing on three years of lessons learned while working with Unily, and the deep knowledge of the organization's leadership, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group have created a modern, fluid homepage experience that delighted our attendees.
Innovation award: CVS Health
This new award was created to recognize an enterprise that through their partnership has pushed the boundaries of Unily's product, with the winner specially chosen by our Board of Directors.
It was presented to CVS Health in recognition of their extraordinary commitment to innovation and a strategic vision for the future of health by digitally connecting their workforce across an internal communication and collaboration ecosystem.
In addition, CVS Health has helped Unily stand head and shoulders above our competitors with accessibility and compliance standards, thanks to the rigor with which their teams have pushed and tested our platform.
This award serves as a testament to CVS Health's dedication to pushing the boundaries of EXP technology, profoundly impacting their workplace and broader industry.
Missed out on Unite 23?
If you didn't make Unite 23 and reading about all our inspiring award winners is giving you a severe case of FOMO, or if you were there but want to relive favorite moments again and again, we've got you covered.
We'll be sharing all of the sessions on demand, so you can tune in any time and hear from our award winners, keynote speakers, and much, much more:
Catch up on the biggest employee experience conference EVER: Unite 23. 2 days of keynotes, breakouts, and panels live from London, now available on demand. Get inspired with keynotes from Stephen Fry, Steven Bartlett, and Grace Beverley. Discover how leading enterprises are transforming employee experience and internal comms with talks from Wipro, WSP, Kerzner, National Grid, Pearson, and more. Game on.