Making organisational identity a reality

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Practitioners’ Guide 1Making organisational identity a realityInterviews with the heads of organisations from a range of sectors revealed a rangeof approaches to embedding an organisation’s identity. The common factor is therecognition of the need to influence the way the people in the organisation work, sothat each customer contact becomes an expression of the organisation’s mission andvalues.A company can spend a lot of time and money developing their company vision andvalues but then, effectively, throw that money away by failing to ensure that notonly does everyone in the company know what those values are, but also know howto translate them into their everyday working life.What this isThis practitioners'guide takes youthrough a checklist oftechniquesorganisations beyondthe sector areemploying to embedcorporate identity.Why it's usefulUse the ideas gatheredhere as inspiration todevelop your own waysof working.It’s not just about formal communicationsAs St Francis of Assisi is widely attributed as saying“Preach the gospel at all times. Use words ifnecessary.” An organisation’s identity – whichincorporates the vision and the values – has to beexemplified in what its people do, as well as what itsleaders say.Some of the business leaders we have spoken to forthis project gave examples of how they achieve thatin their organisations:In an advertising agency whose identity is aboutcreative teamwork and fun as well as professionalism,they have a raft of ways of encouraging their staff tounderstand “who we are”: from the seaside locationand seaside-themed communications materials, toweekly all-company meetings to update everyone onwhat’s going on in the organisation and to celebratepersonal and company successes… from activity-daysaway from the office, to well-designed, concise andexplicit job descriptions… and from a Friday tea trolleywith cakes and drinks, to a clear work ethos and officehours rules.The Corporate Affairs Director of a global logisticscompany emphasised the need to create behaviourmodels which are very explicit – the equivalent ofshouting, rather than implying, what it means to be amember of the organisation. “You take your big ideaand you talk about it a lot, repeating it a lot andensuring behaviours you demonstrate align with thewords.Created on: 15 June, 2011


Practitioners’ Guide 2“We want everyone– staff andcustomers – toexperience thevalues that weespouse, so thatwhen they comehere they feel as ifthey are cominghome. Our placesare welcoming;somewhere you feelvalued and caredfor and so will wantto be”Events companyWe say we believe in developing our people, so weensure that people can see that there areprogrammes in place to help them develop; we saywe believe in customer service, so we haverecognition programmes to celebrate people who dothat.”Making it work for youHere is a simple checklist of things other organisationsdo. How many of them do you currently practice inyour own institution? Which ones can you use asinspiration to develop your own ways of working? Close fit between operational values (how theorganisation treats its own staff) – and customerproposition (how the organisation treats itsstudents and partners) Recruitment processes designed to ensure thatthose recruited have a personal commitment, orat the very least openness, to the values andaspirations of the organisation“We have a set ofcore principles, butwe aren’t seeking toprescribe howpeople interact withour customers – weencourage them toidentify how toapply the valuestheir ownparticular role”Hotel Induction training for new staff which focuses onorganisational values and the behaviours that arevalued in the organisation – and on howindividuals can meaningfully translate these intopractice Ongoing development that helps staff find (new)ways in which they can contribute to theexpression of the organisation’s identity in theirday-to-day work Long-term, consistent, explicit communication ofthe organisation’s values (not a single campaignbut repeating them, in different ways, endlessly) Briefing for all staff to see externalcommunications materials before they go publicand to explain their intended purpose, targetaudience etc.Created on: 15 June, 2011


Practitioners’ Guide 3 Recognition practices – from informal “thankyou’s”, to award ceremonies – that ensure thateveryone in the organisation knows whatbehaviours are valued Practical and physical manifestations of the valuesof the organisation, e.g. in the design ofprogrammes and facilities, in the charitiessupported Fitting partnerships – the organisations youchoose to work with (suppliers, partners, agents)tell people what type of organisation you are Monitoring and evaluation – staff generallyrecognise that what is measured is what matters“As part of therecruitmentprocess there is adiscussion aboutvalues and beliefsto identify whethercandidates shareour vision. Ouridentity is such thatit attracts people ofhigh calibre and weare able to pick andchoose amongthem for those thatshare our passion”Charity Use of quality management systems such asISO9001, ISO14001 and Investors in People toensure that “how we do things here” is welldocumented,communicated consistently andaudited regularly. Use of whole company meetings to engender asense of community and to ensure the samemessages are communicated to all staffFind out morewww.distinct.ac.uk has a growing resource section.Get involvedIf you have a case study, report, or other resource youwould like to share with colleagues in the sector wewould love to hear from you. Please contact us at:contact@distinct.ac.ukIf you would like todistribute this contentplease contact theproject team.© 2011 Distinct inHigher EducationCreated on: 15 June, 2011

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