Davis H. Elliott, Co. is a nationwide electrical contracting company that builds electrical infrastructure and responds to natural disasters, anticipating power outages and offering extra line workers in a crisis. Their work is highly skilled, hands-on, and dangerous. They adhere to strict safety and compliance laws, and employees must complete different levels of ongoing training to be certified for each role. Effective communication and training in their business are paramount.
Elliott was going through significant growth and change, and they recognized that the ad-hoc approach to communications and onboarding that worked for them in the past would not be as effective in this high-growth environment.
They hired me as a consultant to advise and collaborate on internal communications, employee development, thought leadership, and branding, which landed in two multi-year projects:
Corporate Communications Department
Build a corporate communications department from the ground up that would set the tone for internal and external communications, lead to better employee engagement, and accelerate business.
We began by creating a comprehensive strategy for corporate communications with a foundation based on Elliott’s strong corporate culture: a commitment to safety, minimal disruption to customers, and a focus on the communities they serve.
After auditing Elliott’s exiting communications assets, I created corporate and crisis management communications plans, executive scripts and talking points, a brand guide, newsletter assets, leadership training, plus templates for job descriptions, press releases, social media posts, and other crucial communications for internal and external channels. I helped hire and train employees and coached executives on communication and leadership skills.
By taking a unified approach to communications and marketing, we were able to:
· Build a team of communications experts.
· Equip leaders to communicate the company story clearly and authentically.
· Reach a geographically diverse employee audience and create ambassadors for the brand.
Create a best-in-class onboarding experience for new employees that would quickly integrate them into the company culture, better prepare them for their roles, and set the tone for a safe, positive employee experience.
I visited the company to listen to stakeholders, assess their onboarding assets and live training, and help lead their brainstorming workshops. To meet the rigorous requirements of this highly regulated industry, we collaborated for six months on content development. We were not creating one- or two-day, basic onboarding. We were developing a multi-media solution that would span well through the first year of employment to exceed company standards and legal requirements.
The technology-driven culture of this organization gave me the opportunity to be innovative in every aspect of the process:
· Collaborating with HR to rebuild the online application platform, making it more streamlined, efficient, and appealing.
· Creating multi-channel onboarding curriculum and employee engagement assets for the different technical levels of line workers.
· Writing a variety of training materials including PowerPoint and video assets, workbooks, checklists, assessment tests, instructor talking points, gamification quizzes, and evaluations.
· Creating user-friendly train-the-trainer materials and coaching the onboarding and safety training teams on these new materials.
· Collaborating with subject matter experts to develop solutions for training employees in high risk situations: building electrical simulations for hands-on skills training and animated visuals to show high risk scenarios.
· Ghost-writing a safety leadership book that served as catalyst for company-wide safety and compliance.
For this enterprise-wide culture shift, we created daily opportunities to incorporate training and safety into everyday moments using technology. For example, Elliott project managers and employees meet every morning at their job site for a job briefing using iPads. We used these meetings for quick, teachable moments on the iPad, creating short videos, games, discussion prompts, and more.
Working on the corporate communications and training projects concurrently enabled me to better understand the organization, their people, and their needs while helping accelerate their business.