The Leader Magazine

SEP 2017

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ThE lEadER SEPTEMBER 2017 17 Design, and Brand Engagement and Training worked together to guide workplace strategy development, design and implementation. The diverse makeup of the group fostered out-of-the-box thinking and reinforced the type of cross-functional alignment that is needed to transform the workplace culture and environment. This diverse group also had the necessary skill-sets and perspectives to participate in the generation and implementation of a 12-month or longer roadmap of employee involvement and workplace- change activities needed for cultural transformation. With the group in place, it was important to fi rst explore how the brand could be expressed by a workplace strategy prior to identifying design solutions. Seven guiding principles were generated that provided design direction consistent with the principles of BVM. These seven principles operationalize the workplace strategy and serve as a blueprint for the solutions that each function (CRE, HR, IT, etc.) would ultimately be responsible for deploying. Employee experience Mazda's brand value management puts the customer at the center of all business practices. Correspondingly, the customer-experience philosophy could be applied to internal branding that emphasizes the employee experience. But, employees have numerous experiences during any work day. The challenge was to determine which experiences were most critical in fostering emotional connections to brand values, cultural alignment with brand principles, and behavior consistent with brand philosophy. Journey mapping was used to identify how the work environment affects the employee experience (Richardson, 2010). This effort led to insights concerning which experiences would be most important in developing the intended brand image. A transformation roadmap also was created to identify the activities and information needed to support employees' transition to a new way of working. Analytical approaches are often used to create insights about the customer experience. Similarly, surveys, employee feedback and other data from the workforce were regularly collected over the course of the project. These data were used to examine "what if" scenarios, predict projected space utilization, and allocate workspace resources according to expected changes in behavior patterns. As a result, design decisions were data-informed and employee- focused. By having continual data streams, the team could evaluate the evolving employee perspective as the cultural transformation was under way and proactively address issues threatening alignment of employee experiences with the brand image. For example, by the time the designers were ready to allocate workspaces, it was already known that over half of the corporate staff wanted to exchange a dedicated workspace for the opportunity to have fl exible work practices. In the end, the desired employee experience required a technology-enabled workplace strategy that is fl exible and engaging, and that fosters collaboration and enables innovation. Creating brand touchpoints The workplace provides many opportunities, both tangible and intangible, for employees to experience the brand. These are often referred to as brand touchpoints (Richardson, 2010). A key role of the workplace strategy is to manage the employee experience consistently through "The new Mazda North American Operations headquarters is the implementation of a workplace strategy whose ultimate goal was to create a tangible experience of why we exist as a company – that we seek to energize people as a result of feeling our unique emotion signature of exhilaration, joy and well- being (what we call Hashiru Yorokobi in Japanese). This distinctive feeling enriches people towards their own goal of having positive impact on the world." Masahiro Moro President & CEO, Mazda North American Operations Senior Managing Executive Offi cer, Mazda Motor Corporation

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