2011 Platinum PR Awards: Employee Communications

Winner: Northwestern Mutual Leaving a Legacy – Million Minutes Project

CEO retirements are commonplace, but when Edward J. Zore, longtime chairman and CEO of Northwestern Mutual, chose to retire in 2010, the company decided to give the gift of a lifetime to the community that meant so much to Zore.

The Leaving a Legacy: Million Minutes Project was designed to donate 1 million minutes of employee time to nonprofits throughout Milwaukee. All 5,000 employees were given four hours of paid time off, and were challenged to find a way that they could help their community. The project was kicked off when 200 NM volunteers built a playground at the Milwaukee Boys and Girls Clubs camp in just one day.

Ultimately, more than 80% of employees volunteered a total of more than a million minutes to more than 1,120 nonprofit organizations, resulting in 80% coverage of targeted local print media and 50% of targeted local broadcast media. —BM

Fast Fact: In a Million Minutes wrap-up survey of employees, positive impressions of NM increased to 97%.

Honorable Mentions:

American Airlines and Weber Shandwick – Fuel Smart: American Airlines Employees Make a Difference: Weber Shandwick’s campaign led to 600 employee suggestions on conservation and, ultimately, more than 123 million gallons in fuel savings in 2010.

Beehive PR With Deluxe Corp – I’m In It to Win It for United Way: When the annual United Way Campaign needed a jump-start, Beehive developed an integrated campaign that renewed enthusiasm, and increased employee participation and donations.

Central Arizona Project – Safety for Life: After being given one year to bring itself back into compliance due to safety violations in 2010, the water management organization deployed a safety story video contest, employee-based safety posters and safety highlights in the company newsletter.

Deloitte – Greening the Dot: Since 2007, Deloitte’s CSR program has expanded its reach from the office to the home, and now has made a generational leap by using technology through its Next Generation Web site hub.

Discovery Networks Latin America/US Hispanic – DLA/USH’s Internal Communications Tools: Discovery EVP and managing director Henry Martinez’ “Henry’s Desk” e-mail is distributed to the entire company’s workforce. Topics include employee promotions, news and awards.

National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) – The Politics of Relocating an Office: After a decade in its downtown Kansas City office, the NAIC explored options for new space while regularly engaging and updating employees on virtually every element of the relocation process.

Turk Telecom – Welcome 2011: When Turk Telecom recruited 3,357 new employees in 2010 to its offices nationwide, it enacted the Welcome 2011 program to inform the new hires about the company’s organizational structure, business operations and corporate identity.

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