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Client

A diversified industrial conglomerate and recent corporate spin-off with more than 26,000 employees worldwide

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What We Did

Developed rollout strategy, tools, and resources to introduce new leadership competencies to employees across 20+ operating companies worldwide

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Outcome

Through engaging visuals and messaging, employees embraced new concepts of how to work and lead effectively to support the business strategy

Communications Strategy and Rollout Plan Helps Employees Identify with New Leadership Model and Incorporate Behaviors into Daily Work

SITUATION

A global conglomerate spun off several of its subsidiaries to form an independent, publicly traded Fortune 500 company. The new company, with more than 20 operating companies of its own, launched under a new name. Initially, it carried over its performance management approach and set of 28 leadership competencies from the parent company, but now two years in, leaders knew it was time for a refresh. Building on past strengths, they worked to identify the behaviors and capabilities needed to support the new business strategy and propel them toward a future of growth, innovation, and agility. They decided on a focused set of nine leadership competencies. The VP of Global Talent Planning turned to Blue Beyond to help 1) put these new leadership competencies into language that aligned with the company’s business strategy, culture, and shared purpose, 2) embed the new competencies into organizational processes, and 3) help employees incorporate these behaviors in their day-to-day work.

WHAT WE DID

Blue Beyond first partnered with the leadership team and key stakeholders to refine the messaging around the leadership competencies and put them into friendlier language employees could easily embrace. We worked to ensure the messaging aligned with the company’s employee value proposition (EVP), culture, values, and shared purpose. Then, with the help of our in-house Visual Communications team, we designed a set of engaging visuals that represented each competency and created descriptive, easy-to-remember taglines to bring them to life.

Keys to Success

  • Involved employees throughout the process — Helped plan and lead a two-day working session with key stakeholders where we surveyed, tested, and refined messaging with employees
  • Engaging visuals — Made competencies easy to understand and apply to existing processes and programs
  • Embedded in the culture and strategy — Removed the perception that this is an “HR thing” by giving ownership to employees and building line of sight between the way people work and lead and the business strategy

Next, we partnered with our client to lead a two-day intensive workshop with business leaders representing a cross-section of operating companies. We tested the messaging and visuals and gathered additional employee feedback through surveys to truly capture their perspective on what it means to lead and work at the company. Taking this collaborative approach was an important step in ensuring employees see the new competencies as a part of the company culture and business strategy and something that they had a part in creating, rather than a program imposed upon them by HR. In fact, the leadership competencies are not referred to as leadership competencies. The set of nine has a unique name, allowing employees to connect to the concept as a new way of working and leading within the company. Framing the competencies within the context of “how we do what we do” and providing definitions and examples of what this looks like at each talent level — from individual contributors to the CEO — gave employees a clear line of sight into how they are expected to show up and how their behaviors and actions can help the organization.

After input from more than 500 employees, 17 prototypes, five surveys, and eight months of iteration, global HR leaders successfully launched the new leadership model with compelling messaging, engaging visuals, and communications tools and resources translated into 22 languages, including:

  • A toolkit for HR leaders to help understand their role and responsibilities for the rollout at their operating company. The toolkit was complete with decks, FAQs, videos, visual assets, tools, and storytelling templates to help bring them to life;
  • A toolkit for managers to help understand their role in encouraging the leadership competencies among their team. The toolkit includes tools and resources for communicating the change during team meetings, and encouraging, recognizing, and rewarding new behaviors. Self-reflection tools help employees consider current strength and growth opportunities as they relate to each competency;
  • Guides for managers and employees about how to conduct and prepare for performance management and development conversations; and an Interview guide with targeted questions aligned to the leadership competencies to help ensure they hire the right people for the right role.

OUTCOME

Because we created tools and resources that were inline with the company’s EVP, culture, values, and shared purpose, the leadership competencies became more than “an HR thing” and took on a grassroots life of their own. Global teams embraced the concepts and even took them a step further. The designs were meaningful and accessible, enabling employees to leverage and repurpose images in various ways while staying true to the message behind them. For example, employees in Asia Pacific used the designs to make t-shirts, posters, banners, and mugs with images displaying the new competencies.

Previously, the leadership competencies were brought up once a year during a performance review. Now they are a key pillar in the company’s culture and embedded across all employee touch points. Employees are equipped with tools on how to grow and develop in these areas and the competencies (without being called competencies) have become part of the everyday conversation and approach to work.

Need help refining your leadership competencies as your business strategy evolves? 

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