Re-telling an Old Story

Company: Boots UK
Sector: Retail
Impact: Employee induction & engagement
Sponsor: Group HR Director
Timescale: 2006-7 (6 months from brief to first induction programme roll-out)

Project brief

To develop materials to support multi-tiered induction programmes for head office staff, fast-track graduates, pharmacists, warehousing and stores staff ensuring they assimilate key company values and an appreciation of the company’s history and business culture, and corporate social responsibility achievements.

It’s great to see where we’ve come from as well as where we’re heading.
Stores delegate at Boots Photo Conference, 2007
A common theme from the inductions so far seems to be around a genuine interest in the archive material we have on display.
Mike Holland, Training & Development Manager, Supply Chain 2007

Business archives used by the team

  • Over 100 images of company sites and stores, employees (including the company Founder), products, archive documents, adverts from 19th-21st century
  • Communications to shareholders including AGM agenda, 1884-2007
  • Annual reports 1884-2007
  • Board of Directors minutes
  • Press releases
  • Sales statistics, 1920s-1960s
  • Company magazines with news stories about key events, projects, products, joint ventures and people 1920s-2000s
  • Early film footage – adverts and staff training
  • Merchandising, R&D, formula committee minutes showing product development and sales planning
  • Product packaging and samples of Boots own brands
  • Product files, advertising and point–of-sale material

Outcomes and business benefit

  • Produced short illustrated publication A history of Boots The Chemists [30pp] which instills pride in the company and acts as a positive reinforcement for new employees’ decision to join Boots.
  • Initial print-run of 5000 copies increased to 20,000 because of the demand from departments beyond HR, in response to delegate feedback on quality and impact of publication.
  • Developed series of illustrated history presentations for induction programmes, customised for specific operational area of target audience.
  • Developed quiz, short film and exhibition of artefacts to vary the communication through mixed media channels.
  • Publication and presentations used to support assimilation of non-Boots employees to the group, at point of company merger with Unichem pharmacies.
  • Publication used by international subsidiaries for employee induction and training purposes.
  • Publication used by Boots store managers as long service gift for shop staff, as training tool for existing full-time and temporary employees, and for customer events.
  • Publication used as part of PR strategy in launch of new products in international markets.
  • Publication used for external purposes – visitors to head office site, PR and media audiences, supplier engagement, community group audiences – and transferred onto corporate internet for general public interest.