In April 2009, The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) acquired Rohm and Haas— bringing new employees and new products into the Company. The months following the acquisition proved to be difficult, stressful and emotional for many employees. With a company transformation underway — one that included a new strategy and new portfolio mixture — there was a clear need to bring employees together as the “New Dow”.
About a year after the acquisition, Dow conducted its first Global Employee Opinion and Action Survey (GEOAS) since 2008 – taking a pulse of employee perceptions across a variety of topics from overall satisfaction to safety to the performance management system. Based on the data, the employee engagement index remained unchanged from 2008 to 2010, both measuring a 70% favorable response. However, Dow measured lower than the global industry top quartile norm in several key employee engagement statistics such as pride in company (88% favorable for top quartile companies vs. 73% favorable for Dow) and would recommend company as a great place to work (84% favorable for top quartile companies vs. 64% favorable for Dow). As a Fortune 50 company, Dow strives to be among the top quartile of global employers in terms of employee engagement and satisfaction. While overall employee engagement remained level from 2008 to 2010, this presented an opportunity to raise bar to reach the top quartile.
Over the year, a message top level management continued to hear from employees was their desire to learn more about Dow products and technologies. As a large company, Dow is divided into business divisions and geographies, and many employees only know about their business’ products or the products made at their local plants. With a slew of new employees and products thanks to the Rohm and Haas acquisition and an opportunity to increase employee pride in the Company, the idea developed that if employees knew more about Dow products and were proud of these products, then it would benefit both the employees and company.
Goals and Objectives
- Increase employee engagement by bringing fun and creativity into employee communications
- Increase employees' knowledge of Dow products, where these products can be found in daily life and the positive impact these products make on society
- Reach Dow employees across all levels, departments, geographies and businesses with one program
After much brainstorming with leadership and one trial program, the concept for “Discover Dow” was born. Launched in September 2010, the Discover Dow program uses stories and videos to share how innovations from Dow are helping improve performance and increase sustainability in some of our favorite everyday items. Written in a simple, casual tone and illustrated with creative, colorful designs, Discover Dow issues provide a fun, light-hearted way to learn about Dow products and technologies. Dow's employee communications team publishes one new Discover Dow story or video each week (ratio of stories to videos is about 3 to 1). Stories are designed in a Discover Dow PDF template and are then posted to a special server and Intranet site for employees to access. Videos are posted to a special server and Dow's internal video system called Diamond TV for employees to access.
As for measurement statistics, the employee communications team conducted a short survey in December to gage employee feedback. Of those surveyed, 94% said they love or like the Discover Dow series, and 95% said Discover Dow has increased their knowledge of Dow products in their daily lives.
After the stress and hardships employees have encountered from a major acquisition and sluggish economy, one of Dow's goals is to bring fun back into the workplace. The tone, energy and style of Discover Dow are certainly helping set that precedence. In the past, typical employee communications about Dow products were straight-to-the-point news releases or highly technical videos that were lost on the general non-technical Dow employee. Discover Dow brings excitement, color and life into not just talking about Dow products but into telling their stories. It's a new approach at Dow — and in just five months of production, it's already gaining wide praise from employees and executives around the world:
- “Way too cool! I am so excited to see this launch — it will be very informative and FUN!! Way to go on creating something unique and meaningful.”
- “Outstanding — and it couldn’t come at a better time! GEOAS identified employee engagement is a critical area for many groups. Looking forward to seeing this in action and monitoring the impact.”
- “Great launch, everybody is talking about and eager to ‘Discover Dow’!
- “This news series is very useful and beneficial for us in the geographies — even more with the translations.”
- “Just wanted to let you know that I love the ‹Discover Dow› features. Nice, short, informative and written for us non-chemical science degree folks.”