Customer Story

Lush: the beauty of enabling 9,000 global employees to collaborate and grow via Google Workspace

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Lush’s legacy IT systems impeded its global growth, so it migrated to Google Workspace in 2013 to empower staff, promote virtual collaborations and streamline tasks.

Google Cloud Results

Connecting 9,000 staff across multiple times zones

• Offers tools that foster a spirit of sharing, proactivity, and initiative without the need for IT support
• Enables all employees to join meetings and events remotely with tools that don’t require extra hardware
• Turbocharges discussions during online events, with participants giving feedback to speakers in real time through Google Meet
• Enables teams to trial customer experience initiatives, such as a click-and-collect ordering system created with Google Forms
• Enables anytime, anywhere access to global company data via any device

Lush launched in 1995 as a small family shop in the English seaside town of Poole, creating beauty products from fresh fruits and vegetables. From these humble beginnings, it’s grown into a global cosmetics brand operating in 49 countries. With a focus on ethical practices, Lush doesn’t stop at rejecting animal testing for its products, it fights cruelty to animals with public awareness campaigns.

At the heart of that activism is the company’s open working culture. It encourages its 9,000 employees, from shop-floor staff to warehouse managers, to discuss ethical and environmental practices and make suggestions for how the company can have a positive impact on the world. “Lush operates based on the autonomy that we have as employees,” explains Matt Blackhurst-Evans, Digital Product Lead for Business Tools at Lush. “We are encouraged to do what we think is right and put forward ideas. As a result, the company is constantly changing and adapting. We set our own challenges, and it’s fun!”

And as explained in its Digital Ethics report Lush applies this ethical approach to its IT processes too, so that they are built for the greater good and impact positive social change. Recognizing that it required flexible collaboration tools to enable a global conversation with minimal environmental impact, Lush turned to Google Workspace.

Driving flexible working and sustainability across a global brand

“People are empowered with Google Workspace. A colleague who is enthusiastic about technology but has no coding experience did something clever with HTML and Gmail to generate newsletters, without having to call IT.” -- Matt Blackhurst-Evans, European and UK&I Digital Services Lead, Lush

In 2013, Lush worked with Google Workspace partner Ancoris, the company’s trusted digital transformation consultants, to migrate to Google Workspace, then G-Suite. Prior to this, it relied on multiple on-prem legacy systems that were incompatible with a global business. “Ancoris helped us implement Google Workspace and was invaluable in encouraging the use of Google Sheets,” says Blackhurst-Evans. “They helped set up a day with the Google Cloud team in London to address questions and demonstrate capabilities. It was a bit of a eureka moment for our finance teams.” As well as enabling collaboration, Lush now uses Google Workspace to encourage flexibility, providing access to tools without them needing to be set up by IT.

Using Google Drive, Lush employees with Google Workspace accounts can unite over shared resources and a single point of truth, with files instantly available for reference, rather than hidden away on local hard drives. This flexibility encourages sharing and initiative, says Sheelagh Davies, Senior Producer at Lush Digital: “Someone can change roles, and they don't need a new device. I could start working in a shop tomorrow and still have access to everything I need, from Google Drive to Gmail. Whether I am in a Lush store in Toronto or our head offices in Poole, I can access everything I need.”

Google Calendar has also helped to improve transparency by giving Lush employees the means to share their availability and book online meetings in Google Meet or physical meetings rooms in Lush offices all over the globe. Compatibility and version issues are also avoided with collaborative files on Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides, which encourage teams to work together, on local, national and international marketing campaigns, for example. Lush used Google Forms internally to collect data for events and activities, participate in surveys and even request support from our internal IT team.

“People are empowered with Google Workspace,” says Blackhurst-Evans. “A colleague who is enthusiastic about technology but has no coding experience, for instance, did something clever with HTML and Gmail to generate newsletters, without having to call IT.”

Google’s commitments to sustainability were also key to Lush’s decision to base its e-commerce platform on Google Cloud. And, as Blackhurst-Evans explains, Google Workspace enables Lush to be more sustainable in its approach to technology, too: “The disposal of short-lived hardware is a massive sustainability challenge. With Google Workspace, we have far less hardware waste, and we enable people to work from home. We’ve taken full advantage of the global flexibility it provides.”

Overcoming tough challenges with the help of Google Workspace

“The disposal of short-lived hardware is a massive sustainability challenge. With Google Workspace, we have far less hardware waste, and we enable people to work from home. We’ve taken full advantage of the global flexibility it provides.” -- Matt Blackhurst-Evans, European and UK&I Digital Services Lead, Lush

This flexibility enabled Lush to keep working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, when it discovered that many of the tools it needed to continue serving its customers, while protecting its staff, were already in place. Lush staff could work from home and collaborate remotely without the need for additional hardware. It was a seamless transition.

Google Workspace was also a vital tool to keep employees connected during the pandemic. Every Thursday, the Lush Retail team ran an open call on Google Meet, for employees to drop in, ask questions, or just see a friendly face. And they used it for large scale company events too.

“Every year, we host two-day in-person events for store managers to share messaging, product updates, and training,” says Davies. “Because of the pandemic, we moved that online onto Google Meet, using Google Sites to create an event page where participants could see the program and schedule sessions they wanted to attend. It was an even bigger buzz than doing it live. We could see people posting their reactions in the chat, which felt more intimate. And because people could dial in from home with minimal technology, we reached a bigger cross-section of the company.”

Embracing new tools for the long term

“The Google Workspace team is always trying to do things in a more effective way while communicating the reasoning behind those changes. We believe in that approach because it’s how we operate, too.” -- Matt Blackhurst-Evans, European and UK&I Digital Services Lead, Lush

Google Workspace has become integral to Lush’s operations. It has scaled in line with Lush’s expansion and the team members, wherever they are in the world, are quick to utilize the growing army of tools that Google Workspace offers. Lush is now looking to use more Google based user hardware in its business to support the licenses for all staff.

“The beauty of Google Workspace is the way that it adapts,” says Blackhurst-Evans. “The Google Workspace team is always trying to do things in a more effective way while communicating the reasoning behind those changes. We believe in that approach because it’s how we operate, too.”

*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.

Google Cloud Premier Partner

About Ancoris

Ancoris, an award-winning Cloud Services Provider and one of the longest-standing Google Cloud partners in the UK, excel at helping customers innovate and transform through the use of Google Cloud.