Capturing the Essence of a Time-Honored Culture

NICH offers a wide range of services tailored to meet any company’s exact needs and individual goals. Here’s an inside look at how we created a customized approach for the nation’s oldest homebuilder to memorialize, define and articulate their established culture.

The Brief.

When we met the CEO, we knew immediately that he was a business leader that just gets it. Throughout several of our first one-on-one conversations, he talked about the power of their culture – and how it was built around their employees caring so much about what they do. This became the foundation of our strategy, informing our process every step of the way.

The CEO had been in position for two years, but had been with the company for 18. To put it in his own words, he had “grown up in the organization” – so he knew the culture like the back of his hand. This made it easy for us to sit down together and pinpoint the full scale of the challenge.

The Challenge.

After almost 70 years of business, the homebuilder’s culture was stronger than ever. It was centered around their founder and everything he had believed in, stood for and wanted for the company. But they realized they didn’t have a way to easily describe their culture. They also weren’t able to articulate the business strategy to their employees in a way they can understand. With continued growth and a new generation of employees joining the company, it was important to not only feel and live the culture and business strategy – but to capture and record it somewhere more concrete.

“I don’t think everyone sees the big picture or feels the connection to our purpose.”
-Field Manager

The Objective.

To engage employees, identify key behaviors and analyze beliefs across the company. To use this comprehensive view to bring the business strategy to life for everyone who works there. To create messaging that’s memorable, relatable and woven into every aspect of their culture. It must be sustainable, scalable and adopted by the people as their own. After all, this isn’t an “event” – this is who they are and where they’re going as a company.

The Solution.

Our approach was centered around a comprehensive discovery strategy that led to 250 hours of meaningful conversations, storytelling and discussions with more than 100 employees of varying tenure, location and career level. Through individual interviews, panel discussions and focus groups, we gained a deep understanding of the common behaviors and beliefs of the employees at every level.

From there, we started developing their unique Culture Story. This is when we were able to take everything we learned and apply it to concepts like their Purpose, Guiding Principles and Organization Priorities. We also created a 28 page Culture Manifesto that clearly articulated everything that made the company special – not only from the perspective of their employees, but from their leaders. And that’s just the beginning.

The final work serves as the foundation for how the company communicates to their employees now and in the future. Through our Culture Messaging Sustainability Roadmap, we’ll continue to incorporate the Culture Story into every touchpoint of the employee lifecycle. This client is currently on a three-year strategic plan that includes talent acquisition, training & development, new hire onboarding and a variety of other internal communication pieces – all copywritten and designed by our Creative Services team.

The Roll Out.

When it came time to share the Culture Story, the CEO wanted to personally deliver it to every employee across their 28 divisions. He wanted everyone to hear it directly from him – which also allowed him to hear employee feedback and reactions firsthand. We worked with the CEO to make this happen by creating a personalized toolkit of deliverables:

To personally set up the entire process and convey the meaning behind the work in a way every employee would understand.

To visually unveil the Culture Story using custom design and branded graphics to create a memorable experience.

To build excitement and add dimension to the messaging through a master-planned and professional video that features the CEO and his commitment.

Now the culture is accessible for employees and potential candidates to see, touch and understand. In the case of this homebuilder, it keeps the legacy of their founder and the very essence of who they are in a safe place that anyone can refer back to.

Through leadership engagement and feedback, we’ve learned that the entire company has rallied behind the Culture Story. Not only is it a true representation of their feelings towards and experiences with the company, but it’s a living testament that they belong to something special.