By Andrea Jastrebski

The communications team at ATB is celebrating a third Gold Quill win since 2018 and their first Best of the Best, Special Gold Quill Award, which recognizes the very best communications strategy entries seen across the globe. ATB’s 2018 – 2019 winning internal communications Onboarding Express strategy could be described as innovative and ingenious. Strategic objectives set to reduce the amount of data entry staff were doing when working with clients created the opportunity for ATB to build more impactful connections with clients. 

Nekolina Lau from ATB with her Gold Quill.

Nekolina Lau, SCMP, explains, “Our goal is to make banking work, but the client onboarding process would sometimes take up to 45 minutes, so we could see we needed a more automated process to help reduce the time it was taking to onboard customers.” By wrangling the help of other teams and creating a pointed strategy with strategic objectives the internal comms team at ATB was able to integrate technology that reduced the time of onboarding clients from 45 minutes to 15 minutes or less allowing more time for clients to ask questions, voice needs and generally build a deeper relationship with ATB. 

“I’m proud of the large project team that worked together to make the customer experience one that we can say is exceptional,” says Lau. The strategy outlined details for working with a project team, a change management team, and a learning and training team. Lau says, “We needed to make a strategy that would address both a process and behaviour change, as well as the challenges that come with introducing new technology.” The winning strategy addressed both with it ultimately gaining visibility from senior leaders, and causing it to quickly become a high-profile project, which would make a big change for many people. Lau says, “I’m proud of how everyone worked together to make the project hugely successful, and I know the communications team couldn’t have done it alone, which is one reason this particular strategy was fun to work on and an excellent candidate for the Gold Quill submission.”

Teams at ATB and Lau are familiar with the Gold Quill submission process. The Gold Quill website provides a compressive work plan template that all communicators have access to. The template is a tool that enables strategists to create plans that consider every angle. Lau explains, “The template tells you exactly what you need to do to create a strategic communications plan, and we use it as a starting point for every strategy we create.” 

We asked Lau, “Why is winning a Gold Quill important to you and your team?” She explained, “It’s actually not about winning the award for us, it’s about starting our work with a focused lens, and the Gold Quill template is what helps us frame the lens we need to bring to our work. By starting our work this way, we are guaranteed to be able to have a Gold Quill suitable strategy and an opportunity to be recognized for the work we do.”  

Speaking of recognition, we want to thank Lau for taking the time to chat with us about her winning internal communications strategy and her knowledgeable experience with the Gold Quill process. Before we go we want to share her advice to anyone thinking of submitting a Gold Quill for the first time, she says, “Don’t be afraid to do it. You have resources to help you on the website. Also, people who have done it before are often willing to help out. I believe in IABC, and the Gold Quill process, and I encourage you to give it a go.” 

Congratulations on your big wins, ATB!  

Lau will present a case study on ATB’s award winning Onboarding Express strategy at IABC’s World Conference in June; we’ve included the link to register and hear more here.

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