Marketers strategize and build successful brands that appeal to target audiences. They create messages designed to resonate with specific groups of people, who, in turn, believe and put trust in them.
To get real results from culture, HR professionals need to think like marketers. The tactics used to communicate your company culture matter and influence your results in a substantial way.
As they might be at your company, recruitment and retention are among the top organizational challenges at ITA Group. But in order to shape our culture to address these issues, we needed to start with ground-level tactics—namely, understanding our people and what motivates them—before communications came into the picture.
Related: Great company culture doesn't happen on its own. Like a house, it's built by design. Learn the five steps for building a thriving, rock-solid powerhouse company culture in this ebook.
To build a new powerhouse culture for our team, we first outlined the specific behaviors we wanted to drive in our people. Through an anonymous, company-wide survey and a focus group, we landed on the right benefits and the right blend of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators needed to keep our people engaged: a new dress code, annual anniversary gifts, flex hours, and more.
After understanding the elements that benefit our people, we set the framework for a compelling culture story that helped our team members “feel” and experience the culture on a personal level.
With our goals established, benefits and motivators addressed, and culture story outlined, we drafted a comprehensive communications plan designed to deeply resonate with each of our team members.
And the impact on our company was impressive.
Strategic Engagement Communications: What They Are and Why They Matter
A great culture must be well-communicated and strategic—missing one part of the equation would spell disaster.
Clear, consistent and targeted communication is the cornerstone of employee engagement, especially in the context of organizational culture. Skimp on the communication and you’re sure to create confusion and undermine success.
Giving your culture a unique, appealing voice makes your company stand apart. And that’s accomplished with a distinct approach to engagement.
The Engagement Tactics We Used to Change Our Culture
- We used our culture story to create a distinct internal brand for our campaign. This helped unify every communication tactic and provided an exciting theme for team members to rally behind.
- The next step: unveiling everything to the whole team with a powerful launch event. We helped our people experience—not just read about—these changes through a compelling video and a surprise party themed to our new brand.
- Since our company, like many others, spans a wide array of demographics, a mixed print and digital approach to communications was crucial to ensuring every detail was heard loud and clear by all generations. On top of that, this approach appealed to remote employees and helped them feel like an integral part of the team.
- Online conversations are the new water cooler talk. That’s why tech-focused tactics can’t be overlooked. We created a central platform for our culture and tied in recognition, offering managers and team members the opportunity to reward specific behaviors in line with company values. This platform also helps keep culture continually top-of-mind, as it’s used to promote events and initiatives long after the launch.
- To personify our program on a day-to-day basis, we established culture ambassadors in charge of championing and promoting the new brand and moving it forward with new ideas. To find ambassadors, look outside the C-suite as well. Pick enthusiastic employees to demonstrate and encourage total culture buy-in.
The Results of Our Cultural Communication Engagement Tactics
The results of our new culture, driven by strategic engagement tactics, included:
- A 41% increase in hired employee referrals
- A 9% increase in retention of team members in technology-related roles
- 94% employee retention
- A 44% increase in classroom training attendance
- A 38% increase in volunteer-time-off hours used
- A 20% increase in peer-to-peer and manager-to-peer recognition
- 95%+ customer retention rates
- Double-digit revenue and operating income growth
- 96% of team members strongly agree that the campaign positively impacted company culture, and 79% said the program positively influenced their decision to stay.
- Millennials, compared to Generation X and baby boomers, felt the strongest effect from the program, and recorded the most positive responses about the changes regarding culture, performance, and recognition.
And the personal reactions our team members had were definitive:
- “Exciting changes at ITA Group…I applaud the company's culturally progressive approach.”
- “I just started working at ITA Group at the beginning of March, and I can say all these new changes have truly made me excited to be a part of the family.”
- “I've always loved the culture at ITA Group, but the team has gone a step further!”
Watch the video for the full story of our company culture transformation and the business results that were achieved:
How to Get Started With Your Own Culture Transformation
Creating a tangible, vibrant culture through strategic, motivating communications afforded impressive results for the whole team and the entire organization.
Find out about more about the game-changing potential of building a strategic, thriving organizational culture and how it can future-proof your organization.
Help your people live and believe your culture, and you’ll see the bottom-line benefits of a thriving powerhouse organizational culture.
This article originally appeared on HR Dive.