Case Study

Harnessing the power of peer learning to strengthen connection, leadership and collaboration across Simply Business.

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About the client

The leadership team of an insurance provider discover new ways to connect and support each other to increase team well-being

Award-winning Simply Business is one of the UK's largest business insurance and landlord insurance providers, and prides itself on delivering streamlined and jargon-free insurance protection for over 3 million small businesses and self-employed people.

  • The challenge: connecting different parts of the business with a focus on well-being and supporting leadership capability in a time of great uncertainty.
  • The work: co-design, initiate, implement and support a cross-organisation peer learning programme for senior leaders and their team managers.
  • Outcomes: leaders who are on the programme have been noticed for their capacity to work with critical reflection, inquiry and support effective challenge in leadership forums. It has created improved connection, collaboration and understanding across the business, forming trusted connection both between work areas, and between the US and UK Op Cos. The programme has supported over 65 senior leaders and 26 middle managers to connect together with greater understanding, enhancing their well-being and collaborative capability across the business. 15 internal facilitators were also trained to enable this programme to move to be delivered internally.

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Where it began

The challenge


In May 2020, as lockdown wreaked havoc in all our lives and workplaces, the Simply Business UK and US CPO's approached RISE as they realised they needed to initiate a programme that would bring their senior leaders together to connect, learn and support each other at a time of great uncertainty. They sought RISE's experience with implementing and supporting peer learning to do this.

“I am increasingly appreciating the beneftis of listening instead of solutionizing, and how empowering it can be for a colleague to help them to discover and resolve problems instead"

Senior Leader

What we did together

The work


The programme had three strategic drivers. 1. To keep a highly connected culture alive  2. To prioritise well-being 3. To support and enable effective leadership in uncertainty. Simply Business knew that their managers were facing unprecedented challenges that required ongoing attention and support; and given previous experience with peer learning, knew that creating space for people to share, connect and access the collective intelligence of their peers could be extremely powerful and beneficial.


We worked in partnership to design an approach that brought together previous work on coaching culture and leadership to ensure this peer learning initiative felt integrated and additive to other learning initiatives. Alongside the focus on connection and well-being we designed a programme that created the space for leaders to challenge their capacity for proactive and responsive coaching to key challenges, and develop their confidence and resilience in responding to and leading their people at such an uncertain time.   


An additional motivation was the need to maintain and deepen the connection between the original UK business and the more recent US business. At different stages of maturity, it felt important to keep the two entities communicating together to work through tensions that might have arisen. It felt strategically important that the peer learning programme helped to create a stronger depth of understanding of the different needs, perspectives and dynamics between the two regions and particularly facing the global challenge of the pandemic.


When it came to developing the programme, we firstly paid close attention to the organisation’s context and needs and combined this with our knowledge and experience of implementing successful peer learning. We worked to develop trust with the Simply Business learning team and co-design a programme that met the strategic objectives of the programme. 


In collaboration with SB Learning we created a launch and onboarding process that brought people together, creating practical insight and experience that introduced key concepts, principles and skills required for a successful peer learning experience. The participants were then put into peer groups of 6/7, with a diverse representation from across the business. Each group then embarked upon 6, monthly RISE facilitated sessions, with content that underpinned core leadership skills of listening, reflective practice, inquiry and coaching to learn about, and explore, fellow group members challenges.

“There has been significant improvement in our alignment and trust. We've embraced vulnerability and have seen the impacts of this outside of the PLG"

Director (US)

Outcomes and Ongoing work



Since 2020, the programme has supported over 65 senior leaders and 26 middle managers create greater connections across the US & UK Simply Business team. It has also trained and supported 15 internal facilitators to enable this programme to move to being internally delivered.
Over the 3 years of the peer learning programme, the groups have been an ongoing mechanism and an embedded part of the leadership culture allowing for quality sense-making, critical thinking, leadership development and peer learning.
This programme was shortlisted in the CIPD People Management Awards 2023, and alongside other initiatives, continues to contribute to the award-winning culture at Simply Business; having been awarded Gold in the Mind Workplace Wellbeing Awards 2021, recognised continually as a “Great place to work” and increased levels of connection that employees feel to their teams and the business.
RISE continues to support Simply Business in developing their sense of team connection and workplace well-being.
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