Something went wrong, please try again later.


Trader Media Group

How Trader Media maintained employee engagement during business transformation


Trader Media Group

TMG now achieves an overall employee engagement score of 80%, which is well above the People Insight benchmark norms

About Trader Media Group

Employing some 1400 people, Trader Media Group (TMG) provides classified advertising of motor vehicles and related products through its websites, mobile platforms and magazines.

In 2009, employee engagement objectives were threaded into the high level business plan and subsidiary engagement objectives set for Departments with responsibility held by individual Directors.

In order to provide measurement, a series of annual employee engagement surveys was launched. The purpose of these is to generate accurate engagement scores for the business overall and for individual business units, and provide a further platform for employee voice

Working with People Insight

TMG contract an external employee engagement specialist (People Insight Ltd) to run the design, operation, analysis and feedback stages of the survey. By working with People Insight, TMG gain the following benefits:

  • Respondents perceive the exercise to be anonymous, therefore generating good response rates and honest feedback
  • External benchmarking norms provide useful context, enabling TMG to analyse relative strengths and weaknesses
  • The reports generated are easily understood and can be shared with decision makers and managers responsible for taking action


The surveys have led to changes in many key areas. These changes are a direct outcome of the employee feedback and include:

  • The introduction of flexible benefits and total reward statements
  • Improved communications across the group (including launching a new intranet)
  • Launch of the ‘5 P’s’ program to help employees better understand the new strategic priorities and how they can support them
  • Launch of a new careers website to make careers more visible and to support career development
  • Introduction of a ‘Pay for Performance’ scheme
  • Introduction of a Learning Management System to enable visibility of learning opportunities

Resulting improvements

As a result of these changes, significant improvements were seen in many areas measured by the survey. Examples of major improvements include:

  • Communication – 14% improvement in employees’ understanding of the aims of the business
  • Employee voice – 13% improvement in people believing that action would be taken as a result of their survey feedback
  • Reward and recognition – 11% improvement in satisfaction with benefits
  • Learning and development – 11% more people happy that their manager takes time to develop them
  • TMG now achieves an overall employee engagement score of 80%, which is well above the People Insight benchmark norms
  • Most impressively, engagement increased in the traditional print area of the business, despite the shift towards the online business

Business results

Business results have been positively impacted in a number of ways through the interventions following the survey:

  • In FY11, TMG achieved double digit growth for the first time against and achieved the stretch EBITDA target of £132m. This was against a backdrop of other publishing businesses reporting large losses.
  • Voluntary turnover has reduced and length of service in the business has increased from 4 years 4 months to 4 years 7 months in the past 8 months.
  • Employee referrals have increased demonstrating that employees are actively recommending TMG as a place to work. In FY11, there were 34 employee referrals representing 8% of the total recruitment. In FY12 (April alone) TMG have received 11 employee referrals representing 26% of total recruitment.

Communicating results

The initial survey was conducted in October 2009, and achieved a response rate of 70%. Results were presented in November 2009 and action planning sessions were run across the whole of the Group. The full results were cascaded using the following methods:

  • Sharing of the full Group results and implications to the executive team
  • Groups results and divisional comparisons shared via email and intranet
  • Functional results cascaded via email from the Functional Director and use of functional e-zines
  • Set up of volunteer led action planning groups supported by exec and HR
  • Update of key results and actions at functional conferences.

The cascade approach focused on both group wide priorities (e.g. improving communication of the corporate strategy, and provision of access to learning and development) as well as focusing on key issues at a local level e.g. implementing better refreshment facilities. This was very important as it ensured that even at the most local level employees could see action was taken as a result of their feedback.


The first follow up survey was completed in October 2010, achieving an excellent response rate of 89%.

In 2009 TMG recognised that not all employees were comfortable with the online survey and therefore to reflect diversity and support inclusion we produced a paper version of the survey at short notice. In 2010 a strategic decision was taken to move the survey completely online to reflect the transition to an online Digital business. Special measures were taken to ensure all employees could access the survey by an open link so they could complete the survey at home or by being given access to a computer with support from a survey champion if needed.