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Article -> Employees Transform Corporate Culture

Date Added: August 2005

The following represents a case study of an organization that used a Voice of the Employee process to ask, listen and learn from employees.1 The results helped increase employee communication and employee engagement.

PacifiCare, one of the leading consumer health organizations in the United States and recent acquirer of American Medical Security (AMS), recently conducted a company-wide employee survey. To their surprise, they discovered that employees were confused about the business strategy and dissatisfied with the amount of communication in the organization. Employees were worried that PacifiCare was not making necessary changes to effectively compete in the market.

PacifiCare's executives kept on-going communication efforts within the organization to keep employees satisfied. However, in a follow-up survey, employees were still lacking the alignment between strategy, culture and brand. PacifiCare took action by constructing a project aimed at revamping the corporate strategy. The project would introduce 20 new products, show an aggressive corporate culture change, and demonstrate the beginning of a strong brand positioning into the market.

The project's goals and objectives were:

  • Help employees better understand how the corporate strategy connected to its culture and brand.
  • Reinforce leadership commitment to educate and communicate with employees.
  • Increase employee commitment to PacifiCare - both as an employer and as a supplier of services to consumers.

PacifiCare needed to help employees transform goals into commitments. To achieve this, employees were asked to describe how they viewed the strategy, culture and brand. Employees' feedback provided concrete examples of excellent employee behaviors that were driving success in PacifiCare's corporate culture.

By the next follow-up survey, they achieved positive results with their employees. Encouraging responses increased by 34 percent and positive feelings about the corporate culture increased by 29 percent. The survey showed that employees are more satisfied when they are responsive to the culture, strategy and brand within the organization.

This case provides an example for many organizations to follow. While there may be a perception by leadership that employees are engaged in and understand the strategy, culture and brand; the only way to truly know is to ask, listen and learn. The financial performance of organizations with highly favorable employee attitudes is nearly 400 percent better than that of employees having poor attitudes.2 This is why organizations should strongly consider implementing a Voice of the Employee process.

1 Kincaid, Tracy B.; ABC. "PacifiCare employees AIM High to embrace the corporate vision," Communication World: July-August 2005: pages 40-41.
2 Watson Wyatt WorkUSA 2004/2005: Effective Employees Drive Financial Results.

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