Building Engagement at Credit Suisse



Following the financial crisis, organisational and regulatory changes had taken its toll on engagement at the global investment bank. Several global teams had been amalgamated and people were feeling unsettled and insecure and the group was haemorrhaging key talent. They needed to turn the situation around…and quickly.

AOC were engaged to create and implement a bespoke engagement and communications strategy, and to provide business leaders and department heads with training in how to effectively manage change and sustain employee engagement at optimum levels.

Our Approach


  • We analysed the results of their recent engagement survey. There were several inconsistencies in the results for the drivers of dissatisfaction between levels and regions so we needed to understand the reasons for the variance in order to align engagement across territories.

  • Working with the leadership team and a diagonal slice of key stakeholders we first dug inside their survey results, holding focus groups in each region to understand how people were feeling and what they felt was needed to shift the dial. We also identified engagement champions in each territory, who would become our voice, eyes and ears on the ground.

  • Leaders understood that the situation wasn’t going to change overnight, but they needed results…and quickly. Our goal was to create some quick wins and put the right frameworks and skill-sets in place to ensure engagement could prosper and global teams could continue to connect and feel actively engaged in the ongoing success of the bank.


  • We established a comprehensive communications strategy, so all parties could be kept in informed and involved at key stages. We didn’t want to launch ‘an engagement initiative’, rather allowing the results to speak for themselves, but people needed to know that the leadership team were acting on the results of the survey and eager to listen and support the engagement of the function.

  • We worked to establish a clear narrative for change, one that was aspirational, supported by the bank’s values, and that people could connect to. We then established a new behavioural framework to drive engagement and support.

  • To support the roll out we elicited the managers already working as agents of change from across the business - the ones who understood the power of engagement and had the leadership and influencing skills to bring people with them.


  • We ran a series of sessions with the group of change agents over three months, inviting them to share the vision and providing opportunities for development and discussion, so they felt able to lead by example and influence fellow managers through the reinvigorated engagement of their teams.

  • We also ran a series of workshops called Engaging Management, to support those managers whose survey report indicated were behind the curve on key management skills criteria.

  • Finally we trained the change agent network to run The Power of Connection, a day-long workshop with groups of employees from across the function, in which they had the opportunity to discuss how teams could better work together to support the mission.

  • The goal of each session was to enable each individual to reconnect to their core drivers and align personal motivations to the goals of the organisation. The workshop provided an opportunity for people to step back and get a different perspective, to share their thoughts and ideas, and to feel recognised and valued.


  • We established an employee network, with a new intranet, regular social activities and opportunities for newly-formed teams to connect in each territory. A global business challenge competition enabled us to connect messaging, drive change and provide exposure to teams from across the world.

  • By activating the agents of change network, engagement was owned locally and supported widely, and we provided ongoing support to this network to ensure we continued to respond to the evolving needs of employees.


  • After 18 months managers reporting feeling much more confident that they had the skills and structure they needed to drive the continued engagement of the group. 

  • Our comprehensive and long-term approach paid off, and the results, tracked via regular pulse surveys, reported the change in performance, engagement and results we were anticipating.

  • At the 2-year milestone we were pleased to see that engagement was up by over 50% and attrition down by 65%. Results of the group were at an all-time high. We’re continuing to receive positive feedback on the organisation culture.

For more information on this case study or any other aspect of our work, please contact, or call us on +44 (0)20 3105 0904.