Engility is a services company. That means our most valuable asset is our employees. Not only do we rely on their brilliant brains, we also rely on the good impressions they make on our customers. If our employees aren’t singing our praises, no advertising campaign or media blitz is going to gain traction.
The story so farEngility formed in 2012 and attempted to capitalize on the Low Price Technically Acceptable contracting landscape of the day, playing down its high-end work and focusing on its ability to accommodate the limited budgets of government customers. By acquiring DRC in 2014 and TASC in 2015, Engility added to existing high-end technical capability and began its shift toward a best-value perception among customers and Wall Street. That shift in perception has gained traction, and the industry, media and investors have begun to see Engility in a new light. Over the past two years, TASC has remained part of the brand with a few customer segments where that brand is still strong. However, trying to maintain two brands can lead to confusion and impaired organizational culture. In 2017, leadership decided the time had come for a united brand before the end of the calendar year.
A blended familyFormed from dozens of legacy organizations, many of Engility’s 9,000+ employees began with the company before it was called Engility. Members of this blended family take pride in what they, and their particular pedigree, bring to the company. Employees with decades of uninterrupted service may have six or more logoed polo shirts hanging in their closets. I personally have three. I joined the company via a series of acquisitions that took me from a privately-owned company with fewer than 500 people to a publicly traded corporation with more than $2 billion in annual revenues.
You can imagine the culture shifts that I (and so many of my coworkers) have experienced. I drive a 2004-model car, moving homes requires an act of God, and I was only saved from the fashion faux pas of relaxed-fit jeans by the timely intervention of my wife. Change comes hard for me, so weathering several company mergers has forced me into new territory, but it has also given me empathy for all of my coworkers struggling with transition.
A logo does not a culture makeSwapping out badges and slapping new signs on buildings has been the easy part. Our team members who position us well with customers and solve the nation’s toughest challenges need more than a new lanyard. When the communications team was tasked to help employees view the company in a common light, we developed several techniques to capture our culture and begin fostering a unified perception.
- Common Values—Our leadership team revisited our core values in the fall of 2016, capturing the thoughts and values of the new Engility—the values of our entire workforce. Furthermore, our executives are discussing those values in their own voices in a recurring column in the company newsletter.
- The Engility Trade Show—Because of Engility’s breadth and depth, it’s not easy for an engineer who sits with government customers in a secured office to learn and articulate what the company does. So, we created an internal trade show where teams can show off exciting accomplishments and cutting-edge capabilities. All of the materials from the live event are then shared digitally so that any employee can “attend” and learn. This event started with my company of origin, HPTi, and because it’s been very well received, the internal trade show has been adopted through each successive merger and acquisition.
- Celebrate Heritage—We have not swept the great heritage of our legacy organizations under the rug, nor will we try to. We take pride in what we’ve accomplished in the past, regardless of which logo was in use at the time. However, we never want to fall into the trap of “the good old days.” All of our messages and tactics tell employees the “good days” are now and tomorrow.