A dynamic culture built on a solid purpose

Gradwell Communications provides communication technology that works for small businesses. This includes calls, connectivity and cloud services. The House has worked with Gradwell for almost ten years, initially developing and defining its brand.

In 2014, Gradwell’s senior leadership team recognised that they had a problem. An internal survey identified that many employees felt disengaged and uncertain about the purpose and direction of the business. Different departments had become ‘siloed’ as the firm grew, and Gradwell was in danger of underperforming and losing talented people.

The House had previously helped Gradwell to develop its brand identity, but together we realized that more work was needed to uncover the purpose behind the brand: a common ground that would unite Gradwell’s 60-strong team.

We ran a series of half-day workshops with Gradwell’s senior leadership team. From this emerged a core ambition: to become UK’s best rated small business communication and connectivity provider.

Finding this purpose gave us a platform to build an outline business strategy, set goals for Gradwell’s core product areas and develop new projects.

The next step was workplace culture. Gradwell already had an agreed set of corporate values, but we pushed this one step further.

“The House challenged us to express our values as behaviours, not just as words,” says Nick Thompson, CEO, Gradwell. “This proved crucial, because it is behaviours and attitudes that bring values to life and underpin strong workplace cultures.”

Working with different teams, we mapped the customer journey in order to test how the firm’s stated values were being put into action and where improvements could be made.

The last piece of the puzzle was to communicate the firm’s purpose and values effectively to employees.

To do this, we created an “operating system” that sits on every employee’s desk. This comprises a brand guide outlining Gradwell’s purpose, story, and core products, and an updateable  “operating plan” that communicates the firm’s annual strategy, monthly key numbers and competitive advantages.

This manual makes the whole company’s ambition visible and easily accessible. We also created a screensaver that provides a constant reminder of Gradwell’s values.

Since then, The House has created a welcome pack for Gradwell’s new customers that uses the same 'plain English', visually appealing approach to explain the firm’s comprehensive range of services, differentiating it from the jargon-heavy manuals often associated with technology support.

“Our employees now have a clearer understanding of Gradwell’s goal and how each person contributes to it. Expressing our values as behaviours gives employees clear benchmarks, and the overall brand is stronger now that it is backed by a clear, unifying purpose. It’s an on-going process, and our most recent employee surveys show concrete progress.” Nick Thompson, CEO, Gradwell