Our Clients - GoodPractice

Driving cultural change at Standard Life Aberdeen

In 2017, Standard Life merged with Aberdeen Asset Management to become one of Europe’s largest investment companies. To support 9,000 plus employees in this time of great change, Standard Life Aberdeen worked with GoodPractice to create a truly unique, digital learning campaign: The Leading Edge Challenge Series.


- Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management merged in 2017 to become Standard Life Aberdeen.

- Staff in 30 global locations serve customers in 80 countries.


Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) formed to offer a world-class service for its clients. But first, the organisation had to re-invest which involved cutting costs and phasing out jobs. To gauge mood at this uncertain time, SLA surveyed employees across the business.

Although 87% of employees supported the merger,  the survey also revealed what colleagues wanted most from the new organisation - strong leadership and personal growth opportunities.

The challenge for SLA’s learning team was to deliver a learning solution that could support colleagues during the early stages of the merger and help shape the behaviours needed in times of change. What’s more, the solution had to engage with a global workforce, be easy to use for employees familiar with face-to-face learning, and work to budget restraints. 


To kick-start a cultural evolution, SLA and GoodPractice identified desired behaviours from the ‘mood survey’. Now, staff could relate to – and aim towards – five core themes:

  1. Change and Transitions
  2. Career and Personal Development
  3. Resilience and Wellbeing
  4. Diversity
  5. Inclusion and Effective Teams

Next, GoodPractice filmed over 50 SLA colleagues from around the world with practical experience on these themes to create a series of 100 videos. They opened up on camera, sharing stories and offering insights to support their colleagues at this challenging time.

Launched in October 2017, The Leading Edge Challenge Series ran over 20 weeks to coincide with the early days of the merger. With video interviews from across the organisation, the digital campaign showed that everyone could practice strong leadership. More than that, the campaign encouraged colleagues to look at themselves, step up and change their own behaviour.

"I found the Leading Edge videos very relatable, as they featured real colleagues talking about real situations and challenges they’ve faced here. They were short and snappy, and in peoples’ own words.”

Gillian Murray, Training Consultant, Standard Life Aberdeen

Drawing on the behavioural science of nudge theory, infographics and digital brochures joined the videos to offer bite-size, relevant learning. Content was hosted on SLA’s learning portal which all colleagues can access without the need to log in. That way, colleagues could easily access this mix of content where and when they wanted to. Rather than overwhelm, colleagues could learn in short, habit-forming bursts.

The Leading Edge Campaign

To promote the campaign, GoodPractice worked with SLA to send out weekly emails, share social media posts and set weekly challenges that peers found to be effective. Developed with a business psychologist, these challenges encouraged people to try something new, change their thinking and nudge behaviour in the right direction.


Since launch, 9,000 employees have accessed The Leading Edge learning portal which has 50,000 views to date. What’s more, 87% of staff feel the campaign is relevant to them and would recommend it to colleagues. And the nudges are shifting attitudes. A follow-up survey revealed that colleagues who engage with The Leading Edge content are far more likely to live the core behaviours.

SLA survey statement graph


To make SLA a world-class place to work, a change had to come from within. The Leading Edge Challenge Series showed people already living and breathing the new culture. Campaign nudges encouraged colleagues to join them. And content showed that anyone in the organisation can lead. As Peter Yarrow, Global Head of Learning at Standard Life Aberdeen says:

"We’ve achieved something we can be really proud of, using a digital platform to make learning easy, attractive, social and timely to engage colleagues in learning during a period of significant change.  The stories our own colleagues shared are inspirational and the results demonstrate the connection this has made across our global business”.

The campaign has lived on beyond the merger, too, with bite-size content that’s changing the way people learn for the better.

Leading Edge Video screenshot

"I think the videos have been quite thought-provoking. I particularly liked the one about ‘Celebrating Small Wins’ - I try to do this but it was good to see how other people approach it, and it made me think about what else I can do. The videos make you think how you can apply other people’s ideas and approaches to your own role."

Lauren Sargent, Global Business Communications Manager, Global Operations, Standard Life Aberdeen


UK: +44 (0)131 526 4111 Level 1, 50 Frederick Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1EX

AU: +61 3 8648 8847Level 3, 10-16 Queen Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

US: +1 (617) 863-7160 120 Beacon Street, Suite 202 Somerville, MA 02143

Part of the Emerald Group Logo
LPL Award Logo
Herald Digital Winner Logo