Staff engagement for an academic publisher

Developed an employee engagement programme to reverse a steep decline in staff morale and satisfaction for a scientific publisher.

Working inclusively across a global staff of 2,000, we supported the client to understand the drivers of decline and develop a plan to reverse the slide, uplifting productivity and ultimately retaining more staff. Focused on the key processes of workflow and people management, we developed a comprehensive change programme now underway.


This major academic publisher had identified significant issues with employee engagement within a key editorial division: staff morale and satisfaction were in steep decline.

There was a strong hypothesis that people management processes and recent automation were at the heart of the issues. They asked us to test these hypotheses, build a granular understanding of causes and solutions, and set up the change programme to turn things around. The plans would be developed inclusively, with extensive listening and collaboration across this global division’s 2,000 staff.


We began with a detailed survey to get underneath the issues, garnering a tremendous 70% response rate. The survey insights enabled us to pinpoint what was happening in granular detail, by issue and by department, level and geography. These were consolidated into 5-6 key themes and a set of quick wins.

Through a series of carefully designed virtual workshops representing key constituencies per theme, we developed a deeper understanding of issues and high-level solutions. We worked with global teams to prioritise the solutions and develop an implementation programme, ensuring the plans were developed from within and owned by the organisation.


The client teams launched the programme, and two months into the implementation we were asked back to provide coaching support. Quick wins had been implemented with immediate effect and key workstreams were progressing as planned. Where work had slowed or stalled, we worked with teams to diagnose and unblock these. The project continues on target.