Don’t Create Your Company Culture – Discover It

Three Dell employees celebrate the company's 30th anniversaryWhat is Dell’s culture? How do we define it? These were some of the toughest questions of my career as I began preparing Dell’s “Culture Code” presentation. What I quickly realized is that our employees ultimately comprise our culture. They shape our culture and tell our story. My advice to you? Don’t create your company culture – discover it – through your employees.

Our employees shape our Employment Value Proposition

Many employment brand and marketing leaders are asking themselves, “What is our employment value proposition (EVP)? How do we validate it? How do we share it with our teams and online followers?”

The key to an EVP is to ensure that it is an accurate reflection of your company. Rather than trying to create “mass appeal,” ask your employees what value they find in working at the company and share what your employees say with your followers. Even more critical to unearthing great talent is finding the right people that will fit within your culture.

At Dell, we validate our EVP in a number of ways including our annual survey “Tell Dell.” Tell Dell has been crucial in asking, listening and responding to our employees and in turn certifying our EVP year over year. We couple what we are hearing directly from our team with our new hire survey results and what users are sharing on Glassdoor.

Listening intently to this feedback, responding and adjusting your EVP accordingly creates a feedback loop that ensures your company values are being accurately represented. This is the cornerstone of knowing your company culture.

Understand that not everyone is going to love your company or your employment brand. The key is finding the right people that will appreciate your company for what it is and employees for who they are!

Determine your differentiator

Every company has at least one differentiator within their EVP. At Dell, our differentiator is our 2020 Legacy of Good which includes goals like seeing 50 percent of our workforce working in a flexible arrangement by the year 2020. Our leadership team supports this goal and we see the benefits of this program already. This element of our plan really resonates with our employees and our followers. Humanizing this differentiator through employee stories helps it to resonate even more with those who aren’t as familiar with our company culture. We have been able to do this through social postings –  featuring employees like Georgia (pictured below).

Train and encourage your employees to amplify your value proposition

Realize that your best brand advocates are your employees.  Don’t just encourage your team to amplify your EVP and your differentiator but help them be part of the story! This idea can make some people nervous but consider what kind of influence your employees can have on potential candidates with a bit of training and guidance on how to be an ambassador for the company. At Dell, we have had great success with our Social Media and Dell Champions certification programs. Alison Bullock, Marketing Operations leader, shared “Dell Champions helps me drive positive change for our customers, team members, company and the world”.

Reward and recognize your employees for their support

Finally, don’t forget how valuable being recognized (and better yet rewarded) can be! A co-worker, or better yet an executive “shout out” can go a long way. Using Salesforce’s Chatter platform, Dell team members share best practices, promote great content and recognize other efforts every day. All of the executives are quite active with Michael Dell posting and replying within the tool himself every week!

What are you doing to ensure your EVP is accurate and your team members have seen (and approve of) it? How will you differentiate yourself in the marketplace? What are you doing to engage your employees (every day) to have them be a part of the company culture and amplify your story? And how are you recognizing them for their support?

I welcome you to check out Dell’s Culture Code here and share your comments!

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About the Author: Jennifer Newbill