One of our Cultural Brilliance clients, Appli-Tec, updated its website in order to communicate its values-driven culture. The update also included the addition of a new Careers section that included open job listings, job benefits, and other information about working for Appli-Tec.
As part of this work, the marketing team knew employee testimonials would help build trust and credibility with prospective new hires. The challenge, however, was overcoming employees’ initial hesitancy to step up and share their stories with the world at large.
Challenge: Engage employees in the process
I first asked for volunteers at a company “all hands” meeting, but no one stepped forward. I realized, after thinking it through, that I hadn’t told people what sharing a testimonial functionally entailed. If they gave a testimonial, what would they need to do?
At a second meeting, I again asked for volunteers, but this time, I gave a brief explanation of testimonials and that someone from the marketing team would interview each person and write up the testimonial. We would also have the photographer take professional headshots.
Explaining the process put people at ease, and a few volunteers came forward. From here, I began thinking through the composite of employees – e.g. new hires versus long-term employees, men versus women, etc.
I also wanted representation from all areas of the company, as inclusion was a key element of Appli-Tec’s 18-month long culture transformation. Part of the shift included management using words and actions to communicate, “Everyone here contributes to the company’s mission and purpose. Every job is important.”
Based on these ideas, I then approached a few other people and then made final selections.
As the day for the photography shoot neared, I talked to the Appli-Tec team about clothing. We wanted photos full of life and color and asked they not wear grey, black, or printed t-shirts.
Result: Testimonials that communicate Appli-Tec’s values
During the day-long photoshoot, a person from the marketing team interviewed the selected employees for their testimonial. We decided before-hand to ask each employee the same three questions:
- What inspired you to work for Appli-Tec versus another company?
- If you were talking to a friend, how would you describe why you continue working for Appli-Tec? For example, is it the team culture, the ability to share new ideas, etc.?
- If you were to recommend working at Appli-Tec to a friend, what would you say?
When I first read the testimonials, I could see immediately that many of the culture issues we had identified early on had been resolved. One of the new hires in production, for example, stated he felt valued, that people’s ideas were appreciated, and that people were given room to grow.
His words really hit home about how the company’s culture was now much more inclusive.
I was also struck by how genuine the testimonials sounded. One of the long-term employees talked about how she had started as a single mom and had worked her way up to Production Planning Lead. Another employee talked about how Tim Walsh, Appli-Tec’s CEO, invested in the company and its employees.
Posting employees’ stories to the website allowed Appli-Tec to showcase the best of the organization and the people in it. We were all able to look at the website and say, “This is what we created together.”
Even better, the new Careers section has already produced real ROI. Shortly after going live, Appli-Tec received the first inquiry about an open production job; the young woman applied and was subsequently hired.
Not only did the new Careers section help her understand Appli-Tec’s culture and values, but it also saved the company over $5,000 in employment agency fees.
Appl-Tec, based in Salem, NH, manufactures precision-mixed and frozen adhesives for aerospace and other industries where adhesive failure isn’t an option. Visit the company website at www.appli-tec.com.