It’s no secret that the role of corporations has evolved over the past decade. Driven by a greater focus on management behavior and societal impact, there is an increasing expectationamong customers, investors and employees that companies make the world better. And companies that take this challenge seriously fare better– with more than 80% of executives agreeing that collective purpose affects employee satisfaction, organizational transformation and customer loyalty.
The “why” of company purpose is easy to answer, but the “how” can be difficult: How can a company define its purpose in a way that’s engaging and tangible at all levels internally? And, becausewe know that purpose affects everything from employee engagement to consumer perception, how does one ensure all corporate functions – from recruitment and training, to advertising and branding – are on the same page?
Refreshing the Values of a Century-Old Company
We recently had to answer these questions at Emerson, a global technology and manufacturing leader serving customers around the world. In 2015, as we undertook a business transformation on our 125th anniversary, we embarked on a global refresh of our values. These unified valueswould shape and define Emerson’s culture and purpose,serving as the lens through which we evaluate key business decisions, initiatives and focus areas.
We knew we needed broad alignment, which is why we surveyed nearly 14,000 employees. To ensure our leaders were on board, we drove unprecedented collaboration between HR and Marketing – a critical partnership.
This cross-functional global taskforce helped us introduce our new values – Integrity, Safety & Quality, Support Our People, Customer Focus, Continuous Improvement, Collaboration and Innovation – to more than 80,000 employees in less than five months. This rollout sent a strong message to customers and potential talent through advertising and recruiting campaigns.
Engaging Every Employee and Recruit
Human Resources was on the front lines of our values launch. They were responsible for making the values a reality for our employees –everything fromdefining supporting behaviors and competencies to identifying translation needs in over 30 languages.
They also integrated values into recruiting and training programs, all recruitment-related activities and within all leadership development programs.
Reaching Our People and Customers
Emerson’s marketing team worked with HR to bring the values to life both on and offline. They provided visual support to facilitate daily learning through signage and digital displays at our sites and facilities worldwide, as well as intranet deployment so employees could access values information.
Marketing also owned the development of external communications, which included not only our customer messages but also recruiting messages – requiring collaboration with global HR teams.
More than five years later, we remain focused on ensuring that every employee and customer knows and embodies Emerson’s values. We stay connected through conversations and surveys, and our most recent Employee Engagement Survey found nearly 8 out of 10 employees understand how Emerson’s values help the company succeed, and 86% cite every value as important.
This feedback speaks to the success of our values rollout and reinforces the importance of working across functions to make changes like this happen. But developing a collective set of values and collaborating across functions were just the first steps. Our efforts to reinforce our purpose – and ensure our values are enduring, constant and woven into Emerson’s DNA – continue to this day.