In 2016, the leadership at Utility Keystone Trailer Sales, Lancaster, PA came to Fervor with a challenge: “How do we craft our internal values in a way that actually sticks with our employees and ultimately helps us grow?” We’ve heard this need from small businesses before. So the Fervor team went to work. Using our Brand Impact Assessment™ framework, we created intensive focus inside the business, profiling the ideal UKTS team member and creating an Ideal Advocate™ profile, crafting messaging about the organization’s unique values and designing a comprehensive engagement plan to incorporate it all into company culture. Today, as Utility Keystone approaches its 40th anniversary, Operations Manager Tommy Stoudt reflects on why winning inside first is so critical, and the lasting impact of a values-focused company culture.
Starting the journey: “This year, we celebrate 40 years of being owned by the same family, and Utility itself is 104 years old,” Tommy says. “So we came to Fervor in 2016 wanting to go on a journey to define the values of our company and our culture. We’d tried to define them before, and it would last for a season, but would fade away over the years. Sometimes you need a team that can tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear, in order to grow — and Fervor’s fresh eyes were specifically focused on helping us accomplish our goals.”
Why they looked inside first: To grow the company to new heights, Tommy and his team knew they had to look to their own employees as their best advocates. Fervor’s work began with a detailed Ideal Advocate profile focusing on the Utility Keystone employee, plus key insights and understandings. “We believe that our people are our greatest asset. They’re the greatest representatives of who we are, they are our ambassadors of who we are as a company. We knew that if our employees embodied who we are, it would have a positive effect on customer retention. It’s that multiplying factor: if we impact our small group of employees, then they in turn can make a great difference in the success of the company.”
An impactful assessment: Fervor’s work continued with the development of a messaging suite and brand personality, including the company’s Purpose, Process and Product, Brand Values, key statements and a tagline. A thorough Implementation Plan set the stage for a successful launch. “The launch of the new values was key for us. It was a big deal, and Fervor helped us launch with many reinforcements that were incredibly helpful. Branding our values is a tool we continue to use today. Even the branded share cards and the screen savers on our computers . . . every detail has been huge for us.”
Keystone Keys: Fervor created the “Keystone Keys” award experience to make the new values part of the everyday environment at UKTS. Staff members nominate their team members when they live out the values in their everyday work. At monthly breakfasts, the Keystone Keys are distributed during a special time in the meeting. “People are really getting it,” Tommy smiles. “It’s like winning an Olympic medal! We try to communicate how this person has gone above and beyond the call of duty in living out our values. It’s those moments that sear our values into the hearts of our team members. We do this every single month.”
Ongoing communication: Also in an effort to engage the growing UKTS team is a monthly internal newsletter, featuring the latest from the Utility Keystone leadership. “This email has been very effective. This particular newsletter goes to every single employee, so they’re getting it. It’s a way to not only keep the culture and values in front of them, but keep them informed about what’s taking place.”
Company culture today: “At the end of the day, the numbers start with our people. We believe that if we invest in our people, the numbers will come naturally,” Tommy says. And the numbers speak for themselves: “2017 was our best year yet. It’s a confirmation that what we’re doing is working — and the values were such a huge part of establishing our culture. We’re thankful that our journey with Fervor took us to the next place we needed to be, and today we’re building on that. We see it as a real partnership and we see Fervor as our real advocate.”
Time for your brand to win inside first? Our first-ever Fervor Brand Assessment Cohort™ is built for exactly that. Save your spot now >>