Echoing across cultures
Heart of Experian was launched to the group in April 2012 by the then CEO, Don Robert. To ensure it resonated with every team across all 40 countries of operation, an ambassador network was launched. It has been hugely helpful.
“We have so many cultures here, we knew there’s not one thing you can say that will apply to everyone unless you let them work in a framework of their own. So we identified key ambassadors to work with local leaders on initiatives to help people engage with it.”
Examples of initiatives run at local level include competitions to write a song, create a video and tell a story under themes like ‘a day in the life of’ or ‘the difference a day can make’ and link this to local communities. People are invited to upload their entries to the global intranet and can vote for their favourite.
For Wells, initiatives like this help generate enthusiasm, particularly in disparate regions such as EMEA, which with Experian comprises 20 countries and “small pockets” of people. “People are given permission to do what’s right for them in their environment and they love it,” he says. And connecting Heart of Experian to the social responsibility agenda helps to further embed this.
Rather than imposing ‘corporate propaganda’, Wells believes giving people the space to create their ideas drives engagement. “We want you to bring the whole of you to work. What matters is the people you work next to and for – your boss and team will have more effect than anything we do in head office,” he says.
To take the organisation’s temperature and find out how the Heart of Experian change has been perceived, Experian rolled out its regular global people survey with an additional question asking people about the initiative; it received 6,000 responses.
Of those, Wells says around 65% felt the change was fantastic, 21% said it was great but there’s not enough traction, and 14% said it was ‘not making a difference’. So the recent focus has been to turn that 14% and 21% into advocates.
“We’ve done roadshows and focus groups to get feedback. We’ve also gone back to the roots of the business, interviewed some of the first employees to find out what it was like to work here and how the company developed – in the hope of bringing some of that back,” he explains.
Wells plans to conduct a global people survey every 18 months with ‘pulse surveys’ in between, and is clear that, after each study, tangible action will be taken – globally, regionally and locally.