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Client

A leading global ingredients solutions company with 11,000 employees worldwide.

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What We Did

Partnered with the client to develop and launch an inspiring purpose and contemporary values. Helped architect and execute a culture activation plan to enable the company’s business transformation with a new leadership team.

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Outcome

A newfound sense of purpose and a set of actionable values that are helping the company move toward their desired culture — all in support of business transformation.

SITUATION

With the modern-day food ecosystem undergoing a major transformation — increasing numbers of people dining out, the meal kit industry on the rise, and a growing desire for more “whole” and “clean” foods — traditional ingredients companies are feeling the impact. 

A leading global ingredient solutions company realized the need to accelerate innovation to remain competitive in the changing business landscape. They needed to align their customer offerings with current consumer trends, improve productivity, lower costs, and create differentiated go-to market capabilities. To do so, they knew they had to further unleash the potential of their people and remove cultural and business barriers. They started by defining the deeper purpose of the company — beyond creating shareholder value — and updating their values to be more actionable and more closely align with the culture required for their business transformation.  

Not only was this company having to adapt to a changing industry and market, they were also facing internal organizational changes, having just put a new leadership team in place. 

Here, Blue Beyond stepped in to help the organization align on an inspiring purpose, introduce and launch a revamped set of company values, and design and help execute a robust culture activation plan — to set the foundation for an evolving culture, equip and engage managers and leaders, and rally employees around a shared future they can create together.

WHAT WE DID

We knew that to mobilize the company toward a more empowering culture, we first needed to work together to develop a compelling purpose to rally employees globally. We started with deep listening into the organization. To assess the current culture and learn about employee aspirations for a future state culture, we conducted 40 stakeholder interviews and 60 focus groups — hearing from more than 640 employees representing all demographics, regions, functions, and job levels. Reviewing past employee engagement survey data rounded out our listening phase.

While analyzing all we heard, a few key themes rose to the top: while employees were deeply caring people who took pride in their work, they were feeling a lack of focus and clarity, a disconnect between shareholder and employee interests, and the effects of a largely siloed organization. This validated the need for change, starting with a unifying purpose and a refreshed set of values.

We simultaneously worked with the company’s top leadership to align on the culture they felt would enable future business success. Using our Blue Beyond Values Cards, we engaged the executive leadership team in a spirited, iterative process to identify areas where they were already aligned and areas where they needed further discussion and alignment. This interactive and collaborative exercise gave the team the space to explore many diverse options for values, and it gave them permission to be open, excited, and moved by the work they do — which was the first key step in helping them create a more inspiring story and company narrative to share with their clients and customers. 

Through this process, they aligned on a small combination of values that they felt captured their current strengths while also moving the company toward its desired state. As the values options were narrowed down by the larger executive team, we then engaged directly with the CEO, who took an active role in the final selection of values, wording of the associated behaviors, and the accompanying visuals. From this came five compelling values statements and an overarching purpose statement for the organization to rally around.

Throughout this process, we demonstrated our people-first, comprehensive design thinking approach to consulting — engaging key stakeholders through every step and working side-by-side with our in-house Visual Communications team to marry concepts with emotionally compelling and experiential visuals. 

Moving the organization from its current culture towards the desired future state culture required creating programs and practices to inspire leaders, managers, and employees to live their new values every day. We created a three-tiered strategy to activate the desired culture — 1) galvanize commitment by increasing awareness and understanding; 2) embed the desired culture aims in business-wide processes and policies, including people programs; and 3) identify, design, and implement a program to create high-performing teams, starting with critical teams responsible for key areas of business transformation. Some of the new programs and practices implemented to activate the desired culture included:

  • Global launch event: Global webcast with CEO, launch of culture transformation intranet site, banners and posters around the world, manager communication guide to help engage their teams, messaging document and design style guide, and overall communication support.
  • Culture Ambassador network: more than 80 local ambassadors in the business who were trained to help galvanize commitment and enable culture change at the grassroots level, leveraging centrally produced resources.
  • Value of the Month campaign: Culture Ambassadors played a pivotal role in customizing centrally produced communications tools and templates (including a brief, interactive eLearning module; manager enablement kit; top 20 ideas sheet) to make the values real in their own part of the business.
  • Storytelling platform: online culture forum enabling employees across the globe to post their own stories and comment on others’.

The company came away from our partnership with not only a new set of values and tools to utilize them — but a newfound engagement and connection to their purpose and ability to stay not only relevant, but inspiring, in a rapidly changing market. We are now partnering with the client on the next stage – culture acceleration, including the design and development of a comprehensive manager training program,—including an experiential, gamified kickoff workshop. To truly live and breathe company values, leaders must continue “walking the talk” and keep the values top-of-mind in all their behaviors and decision making.

OUTCOMES

It’s too soon to speak fully to the “after effects” of this culture transformation, but the early indicators are moving in a substantially positive direction. This client engagement is still underway—as we typically find culture work in a company this size takes a very concerted effort for two to three years. We are prepared to support those implementation efforts to whatever extent is needed—from development of strategy, communication and visual assets, to project and program design, development and management.

Keys to Success

  • Clear, compelling visuals that create an emotional and personal connection to the company purpose and values 
  • Deep listening through focus groups and surveys is part of the intervention — culture transformation starts here!
  • Hands-on engagement and support from the CEO and executive leadership team
  • Value of socialization, bringing others along (go slow to go fast)
  • Aligning policies, programs, and processes to the behaviors inherent in the new values
  • Ensure that the correlation between culture work and business success is understood by all those affected by the culture change 
  • Enable managers and leaders to demonstrate the new values through their words and actions
  • Establishing a globally led but locally adapted culture ambassador network is key to making the culture relevant and real for all global employees

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