An Interview with Nationwide’s Elen Owens on their Successful Staff Suggestion Scheme


This is the first in a series of interviews where we will be questioning people who are involved with innovation and ideas programmes, how they have gone about setting them up and its benefits to their business, by creating increased profits, staff goodwill and enthusiasm. Our first interviewee is Elen Owens who is the scheme manager for Nationwide Building Society who have been members of ideasUK for over 10 years.

Who do you work for? Please tell us a little about them.

I work for Nationwide Building Society, based in Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. It’s in the financial sector with 19 administration, contact and technology centres, plus approximately 700 branches. Which means we have about 15,783 permanent employees and an ever changing number of temporary and contract workers. Continue reading

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Focus on … Top Tips from Our Members


Aligning ideas promotions with project resource – Tara Keane, Nationwide Building Society

Evaluator’s often reply ‘good idea, but we don’t have the resources to implement this currently’, or ‘good idea but we have just completed a project on xxx process, so it’s unfortunate timing’. At Nationwide we are trialling an approach which aims to put link our ideas scheme, Brainwaves, with our corporate projects by doing the following:

  • Working with the project management department (who run the major projects and programmes in Nationwide) to run Ideas Week promotions with either the top priority projects, or the projects which would most lend themselves to input from employees via Brainwaves.
  • Brainwaves has been added to the project procedures, so project managers are encouraged to search for any ideas which may relate to the projects they are working on.
  • The Brainwaves team are also working directly with project managers to send them ideas relating to key project topic areas.

Hopefully when people see the benefit of incorporating employee ideas into processes they are already resourced to look at, other project managers are more likely to do this in future.

We have just started this work and will send a further blog update when we get some results.

Tara Keane – Employee Engagement, Nationwide