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With the deadline looming for the IoIC Awards 2015, here's some inspiration - a case study of the winner of last year's award for Best Ezine: Pathways for EY by Instinctif Partners.

The team members behind the winning entry are pictured right with their award at last year's ceremony. Here's how they did it...

To enter your own work in the IoIC Awards 2015, click here


EY is one of the world’s leading professional services organisations. Its EMEIA Financial Services Office (FSO) operates in 11 markets with a total of 8,474 people. This business unit, launched in 2009, is dedicated to providing strategic cross-border, global client services, and offers its employees excellent development opportunities at every stage of their career.

While the career prospects within the EMEIA FSO were impressive, the organisation recognised that it didn’t have a central career hub online, where employees could access information about the full range of resources and experiences available. Ownership of the specific development programs was split across different business functions, resulting in a lack of cohesion in the way that employee career development was approached within the unit. Employees were also not independently seeking out the right opportunities to help them to advance professionally within the business either.

A fresh approach to transform the communication of career development within EMEIA FSO was needed. A dynamic tool, unlike anything seen in the FSO previously, was created to drive employees to relevant career resources and reinforce the message that EY was committed to helping them build a rewarding and successful career.

Pathways, which is to be updated quarterly, was created as a simple, user-friendly, interactive career resource. It was designed to encourage and inspire employees to drive their careers forward by seeking out new opportunities within the company.

Goals and Planning

The overall objective of Pathways was to provide employees with an intuitive, informative and exciting career portal that provided them with an overview of career resources and motivated them to seek out all of the different experiences offered in EMEIA FSO. It had to highlight the extraordinary professional opportunities available, be aspirational and facilitate a conversation about career development in an exciting and informal way. It also had to stress that EMEIA FSO offered cross-border and cross-service line placements and encouraged international mobility.

The initial planning process kicked off with several employee workshops, to gain an understanding of their attitude towards career development and the existing tools offered. A multi-disciplinary team from EY worked alongside Instinctif Partners to define a strategy to conquer the challenges raised during the sessions.

Employees admitted that they found it difficult to get a clear picture of the opportunities available, as EY was such a large company, and didn’t believe that they were given enough guidance on the subject of career development within EMEIA FSO. They also raised concerns that information was scattered across too many different sources and was a little staid.

While it was recognised that a certain level of support had to be provided, the organisation wanted to highlight that it was up to the individual to take ultimate ownership for driving his or her career forward. The key to encouraging this change of mentality was to create a tool that was motivational, not dictatorial, so that employees felt inspired to take the driving seat and advance their careers themselves.

To guarantee that the activity would make an impact and resonate with the target audience, the team recognised that it was critical that the tool differed from the current mechanisms in place. As such, a completely new approach to presenting the information was needed and an interactive tool, with a bespoke look and feel, containing multimedia content to ensure continued engagement, was created.

Pathways was designed to foster a sense of community amongst employees in the EMEIA FSO, who were scattered across different locations. It also had to keep them informed on latest career news and resources, whilst inspiring them to make positive changes. It was imperative that it was accessible in both content and design.

Awareness of the platform was driven internally by bespoke email announcements, posters that were placed throughout all locations and inclusion in email news bulletins. Employees were also encouraged to engage with the new tool by the EMEIA Regional Manager who discussed Pathways at length during his ‘Big Conversation’ address to all EMEIA FSO employees.

Design and Production

Pathways takes a creative e-zine format that deliberately stands apart from the existing career collateral available.

The Joomag digital publishing platform was adopted as it offered an easily navigable, interactive solution with a simple user interface – eliminating the issue raised by employees that information was previously too complicated to find. Pathways was directly embedded into the EMEIA FSO Community Home Space ( CHS), the EY intranet, so no further downloading was necessary for employees to access the tool. Joomag was also a cost-effective solution that met EY’s budgetary constraints without compromising the main objectives of the activity. A microsite was considered, but the simplicity of the e-zine format and its readability was valued more highly.

Bright, colourful and creative, the design is visually stimulating and has personality. It adheres to the EY brand guidelines but pushes the boundaries too by adopting a multimedia and interactive approach. Text and illustrations are animated as the mouse hovers above them. The EY yellow pops against black and striking imagery is used to evoke emotion.

The vibrant design encourages dwell time on the platform and pithy headlines push users from page to page. Illustrations add an element of fun and editorial content and case studies are mixed seamlessly with the essential career tools. A scrolling page bar is accessible throughout and an easy page selection tool sits at the top of the page for quick reference.

Content is clearly divided into four distinct chapters, tabulated at the top to allow for easy browsing. Focusing on user experience, the pages integrate imagery, infographics, interactive timelines, illustration and video to create an engaging format that brings key messages to life. Any copy included is succinct, with click-through links available if the employee wants to see extended versions, which are hosted on CHS.

As well as being visually stimulating, it was crucial that Pathways was measurable, and the publishing platform chosen offered advanced analytics, enabling easy tracking of page views and levels of engagement with each strand of content created. To date, Pathways has had over 43,866 page views.

Execution: content

The content plan was determined following workshops with teams from different functions across EMEIA FSO, including HR, Internal Communications, Design, and Learning and Development. A series of aspirational features was planned and a content framework, that includes a combination of real-life stories, specific development projects, hints and tips, practical tools, client feedback and summaries of events, workshops and networking opportunities, was adopted. Editorial content is interspersed with links to career-building material and is visually led, rather than being text heavy.

A simple call to action is communicated throughout the tool – primarily that employees must “take the wheel and drive” their own careers forward – a company-wide message. The content also supported the belief that EY is committed to developing the talent and leadership of their employees by providing them with interesting work that enables them to continuously develop their knowledge and skill set in a dynamic and past-paced global working environment. This is reflected throughout the 10 real-life features.

The tool is structured into four key chapters:

• Seizing opportunities

• Making your mark

• Getting involved

• Working with the best

Storytelling was an essential component of Pathways. Vibrant case studies of EY employees feature throughout to illustrate the broad range of experiences and programs offered and foster a sense of community. They offer a truthful account of personal and professional experiences, give guidance to colleagues and motivate others to seek out similar challenges and opportunities.

The tone of voice used is conversational, concise and jargon-free to encourage a higher level of engagement. Articles are direct and easy to digest and are positioned around the employee’s development, not about the company. Concise summaries are accompanied by links to more detailed content, hosted on CHS, should individuals seek further information. Each item is also highly relevant to the audience to ensure continued engagement.

Infographics were used to bring statistics and activity to life in a visually stimulating way; they also broke up the featured articles and case studies. Video content was used to motivate and inspire, and slideshows of imagery were used to bring employee events to life.

Results and Evaluation

The level of employee engagement with the Pathways e-zine has exceeded all expectations from the business. To date, over 50% of EMEIA FSO employees have visited the tool.

Employees gave overwhelmingly positive feedback and praised the execution of the e-zine. Several people expressed that they “would love the chance to get involved in the activities” featured. New joiners commented that they found the resource invaluable for career development planning and 43,866 individual page views indicates that employees are revisiting the tool for guidance and reference.

Pathways successfully connected the target audience with the information that they were requesting and is now galvanizing employees to take control of their own career development, using the framework provided. It helped them to identify any gaps in their experience and how they can best fill them.

Pathways also served as a reminder to all employees that they are part of a global organisation and have many opportunities to challenge themselves on cross-border work, across different service lines.

Paolo Galletti, HR Director at EMEIA FSO, commented:

“The project has been a huge success as the call to action for employees to take control of their own career development was clear and simple. Pathways is an innovative and invaluable tool that was presented in interactive format. We made a decision early on to take risks with the content and borrowed from learnings in usability to focus on the people rather than the programmes to engage the reader.

"The peer-to-peer guidance given by the case studies offered a personal touch and has certainly encouraged deeper engagement.”
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