Building an ambassador program
Avery Dennison wanted to improve conversations with employees worldwide and asked for our help launching a global employee ambassador program called “The Beat.” This program invited employees from all levels, regions, businesses and functions to provide feedback on strategic initiatives through quick monthly surveys or online discussions, called “missions.” By engaging these volunteer ambassadors, Avery Dennison aimed to create a strong connection to their employees and develop a more open communication culture. They asked us to inject the launch of the program with visual and experiential energy to get employees enthusiastic to sign up.
Motivating employees to get involved
We designed a campaign that completely broke the mold of prior company communications. It kicked off with a video unlike anything employees had seen or heard. The video outlined key program details with excitement and energy and even included its own rock anthem.
We coupled our DEEP Communication principles (disruptive, entertaining, emotional, and purposeful) with applied neuroscience research findings to help employees actually take action. We paid attention to potential hurdles, including the need to make sure the introduction of this program didn’t inadvertently highlight or deepen a divide between employees and leadership. The program successfully:
Spoke to positive emotions
The communication about this program evoked positive emotions that would minimize potential threat responses. The playful nature of the internal launch video disarmed employees and helped create a spirit of openness.
Appealed to status
The campaign presented the management team as “explorers” not the “smartest people in the room.” Great emphasis was placed on the value of listening to employees at all levels. This helped break through some of the barriers inevitably present between leaders and employees. Employees could feel more open to this conversation, instead of threatened by the lack of status they had in contrast to leaders. Additionally, the role of ambassador was intentionally painted in an esteemed light, and volunteers gained their own sense of elevated status as leaders among peers.
Employees at all levels were given the chance to choose to participate as an ambassador. This level playing field added a sense of transparency and minimized skepticism.
Played to autonomy
It was completely up to employees whether they wished to participate in the program. No one was selected or forced to play the role of ambassador. And, if you opted in to be an ambassador, you could choose whether you wished to participate in each specific mission as it arose. This helped employees feel empowered.
We program was highly social in nature. Ambassadors felt a sense of camaraderie with one another and a mission to truly listen to and respect their peers. Barriers between leaders and employees were transcended, further communicating a sense of connection and respect for one another throughout the company.
Invoked a sense of purpose
Volunteers gained a higher purpose within the company — they could help others solve problems and facilitate better understanding between employees and leaders. Further, communication about the program clearly explained WHY this program was in place, which helped employees feel open to the conversations it promoted instead of threatened by a lack of understanding.
Evoking unprecedented success
The results were immediate and completely unparalleled in the company’s employee program history. Within two hours of the video’s launch, hundreds of people signed up. This participation far exceeded the company’s initial goal of 100 participants, and today there are 1500 employee ambassadors across the globe.
Avery Dennison continues to be pleased with the way the global program is helping them source employee voices to push strategic thinking, avoid costly pitfalls, tap into innovative ideas and build employee champions. Read the Melcrum case study.