Taking Our Own Medicine Part 2: How Our New Cultural Brand Is Shaping Up

In my last blog, I introduced you to the cultural branding work that IBM Talent Acquisition & Optimization has undertaken and provided insight into why this is a critical time for our business. Studying our own internal culture and uncovering just who we are is essential in improving overall engagement, retention and performance to make us a top performing employer of choice. Our overarching goal—express exactly what great looks like for our organization now and articulate what it’s like to work here.

Since I last wrote to you in mid-March, we’ve continued on in our journey, taking the same recommended steps in preparing our organization for the employee value proposition (EVP) rollout as we would suggest to any client organization. So I want to take the opportunity to highlight some of these actions and explain why they will make a difference in the acceptance and adoption of our new cultural brand.

Preparing the assets

One of the biggest and most important action steps you can take in preparing for a new EVP rollout is building assets and collateral that employees can use and reference on a daily basis. After socializing our EVP concepts and statements with internal stakeholders, we then moved our approved elements into design and creative execution across both digital and print media. These highly-designed pieces are visually captivating and reflect the mood and tone that the cultural research provided to us in the early stages of the project.

From accordion style pocket handbooks to posters and animated videos, we spent countless hours on crafting and creating pieces that can be used in our global rollout. We also have invested in what I like to call ‘swag.’ These are tangible items that employees can select to remind them of one or several of the EVP statements. While this takes a great deal of coordination, the effort is worth it. My advice to you—don’t overlook the importance of spending time on high quality pieces that clearly express your EVP. They are essential in making your new cultural brand personal to your employees.

Planning the roadshows

To introduce our new cultural brand globally, we are taking the bold step to plan a series of events for large concentrations of our global workforce. This means coordinating with on-the-ground leadership to plan specific days for rolling out the EVP to that specific location. Over the coming weeks, I will be traveling around the world with several of my colleagues and other senior leaders to reveal our official EVP to nearly every office, and hand out the assets and swag we’ve worked so diligently to develop. Again, this scale of coordination takes careful planning, but makes a huge impact in how the new cultural brand is adopted.

Managing the change

With the expression and adoption of a new cultural brand, we are also very purposeful to establish brand advocates across our business to help manage the change. Part of the EVP rollout includes the creation and training of internal leaders and ambassadors who will facilitate and advance our new internal brand. Specifically, just as we recommend for clients, we have developed train-the-trainer sessions in advance of each roadshow and developed an accompanying Facilitator Guide that enables our selected site-specific brand advocates to articulate and establish what our new culture looks like. The Facilitator Guide serves as an onsite workbook for these advocates and has three primary goals:

  • Introduce our employee value proposition
  • Get people thinking about their role in the future of IBM Talent Acquisition & Optimization
  • Facilitate storytelling around our new culture and brand

Managing change for both the short-and long-term, and allowing your expressed culture to naturally become a part of your employees’ identity, will make a big difference in how well it is accepted and socialized across your workforce.

So what’s next?

The next several weeks are beyond exciting to me and to the whole of our division. I am so thrilled to be part of this chance to introduce a new cultural brand and advocate for our culture on a global scale. Once we have completed our series of trainings and global roadshows, I promise to reveal our new cultural identity to you here on our blog.

But I know that our work will continue. We will be diligent in promoting and getting employees involved in the sharing and storytelling of our new brand. Through ongoing communications, blogs, videos and other testimonials, our new cultural brand will help define who we are and serve as a compass for our business. Because as I said before, we believe taking our own cultural medicine is what will continue to set us apart.

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