Symantec has acquired numerous businesses over the years.
And one of the main challenges it’s faced from an HR perspective is merging the different organisational cultures together into a unified whole.
Speaking on the second day of the HR Technology conference in Paris, Jennifer Lepird, Director - Total Rewards at Symantec, says: “There are some legendary stories across the company of employees from Symantec showing up in their yellow shirts, and employees from an acquired company showing up in their red shirts. You can imagine when you’re trying to have successful integration how distracting that can be.”
One of the ways the cybersecurity business tried to integrate the different cultures is through its recognition programme, Applause. The programme was designed to make it easy for employees to thank one another for demonstrating core values and, according to Lepird, it has helped break down barriers in newly formed teams. But, even though the scheme was immediately successful and employees embraced it from the start, the HR team has had to justify the cost of the programme when budgets were tight.
“Recognition is so powerful in our culture, and its role in improving productivity and engagement is well-researched and documented, so it hasn't been hard to do,” she says. “Recognition is a really great way to teach people what’s important and help reinforce cultures, and we’ve always been able to demonstrate how the programme helps us achieve this, even during tough times.”
Talking exclusively to HR Grapevine, Lepird tells us how – if she were to launch the scheme again – she would spend more time communicating great stories of recognition from within the business, and at an earlier stage.
She says: “I’d communicate the human stories more frequently and at the very outset. It’s the human aspect that resonates with people. And I’d do that through video and online presentations rather than through the written word via email. Email is dead!”