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Mencap shows how to successfully launch a BIG plan

How can you make a strategy and values launch interesting and engaging for employees and answer the elusive “what’s in it for me and why should I care?”

I’ve discovered one of the best examples I’ve seen and am delighted to welcome Liz Clyro, Head of Internal Comms at Royal Mencap Society to share how the charity has been addressing these questions and much more, through the launch of their BIG plan.

Mencap @mencap_charity work in partnership with people with a learning disability, and all their services support people to live life as they choose.

I love their use of visual content and plain language approach. I encourage you to read through the #YourMencap Tweets to get a sense of how successful this launch was. The best bit for me has been reading the comments directly from employees – no corporate gloss, just how it is for them.

That is effective communication in action – because it’s real, tangible and you can see how much this whole project and the charity mean to those who interact with it. This is why I love doing what I do for a living – witnessing examples like this launch.

Very well done to all involved. It’s my pleasure to hand you over to Liz…

Launching our BIG plan*

Our big plan front pageOn 29 January 2015, we seemed to get it right. It was a great day for Mencap. We launched a new five year plan, including five new values, to employees and volunteers.

Mencap people got together, had fun, talked values and future plans and really loved it. And to top it all off, they managed to get us trending on Twitter – a first for our charity.

So how did we do it?

1. A clear role for our leaders
We’re a charity, so a budget for roadshows to reach our 8,000 or so workforce just wasn’t an option. Instead, we tasked our top tier of leaders to plan and run their own events. The beauty of this was the instant ownership it gave to a devolved community of people – and their drive to make it work. It was their event and if it was a flop, it was their flop.

2. A bit of structure
We provided a toolkit and suggested structure around some centrally planned activities: a film of our CEO introducing the day and one about the new values; a values-based board game to get conversations going; a live, lunchtime Tweet-in with our executive team; and our very own Mencap radio show. Across events people watched the films, played the board game and listened to the radio show at roughly that same time which made for great online conversations and sharing.

3. A lot of freedom
But we stressed that the main objective was to get colleagues and volunteers together to have fun, celebrate Our Big Plan and talk about the new values. And they did just that. There was a disco, an owl display, dressing up, balloon releases, lots and lots of cake and more.

4. Making the most of what we have
POSITIVE value postcard design - backOur in-house creative’s came up with some great collateral. By far the favourite was a set of postcards of each of our five new values. We printed and posted one postcard to every colleague along with our in-house newsletter (which we print and post each month anyway as most staff aren’t on email – so no extra cost).

The board for the board game was the centrespread of the newsletter and we also inserted a one-page poster with Our Big Plan key messages. With a run-down of the day’s events, an interview with our CEO and a ‘meet the stars of our values film’ piece, that newsletter worked hard for us!

5. Social on the cheap
We’re lucky that our CEO, Jan, is a big Twitter fan and she’s been leading a bit of a revolution at Mencap. As a cash-poor charity, we haven’t been able to keep up with social tech for business. But Twitter has proved a cost-effective way of helping our colleagues collaborate and connect in a way they have never been able to before.

Many work shifts, don’t use a computer for work or have a Mencap email address. But they’ve taken to Twitter and love it. With around 3,500 Tweets and #yourmencap trending on our launch day, it connected people and events across the country and added a real sense of collective excitement for Our Big Plan.

6. Bringing people with us
We started running ‘Your Mencap conversations’ about a year ago, asking managers to hold themed team conversations on a certain day or month. Each theme has been linked to the development of Our Big Plan – for example, November’s conversation asked colleagues to discuss and vote on possible strategic themes for Mencap for the next five years.

Not only have the conversations provided a great narrative about the development of Our Big Plan, they have given colleagues a sense of ownership of and a direct link with it.

Our Big plan one pager

So there you have a whistle-stop tour of our launch. I’d be happy to chat though any of this in more detail – just send me a Tweet @lizclyro.

Here is a Storify from the day with just a selection of the 3500 Tweets our colleagues sent.

*That’s ‘strategy’ in Mencap-speak. We’re a learning disability charity so we strive to make sure everything we say is clear and simple.

Find out more about Mencap and get involved at

Post author: Liz Clyro.

Thanks Liz, I always enjoy hearing what people do, particularly communicating strategy and how to make it come to life, and what an example this is. Congratulations again.

I recommend looking through the Storify to see the Tweets and Vines. I’ve highlighted a couple below that struck me as I was reading through and also discovered this video:


First published on the All Things IC blog Monday 2 March 2015.

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