How Iveco Group Aligned Culture With Strategy
Do purpose statements and values truly reflect the reality of an organization? Aspirations are useful -- but rather than aspiring to be a completely different company, organizations achieve the most success when they aspire to be the best version of who they already are. Iveco Group, a global automotive leader, is proof that focusing on your existing strengths and culture is critical for a successful organizational transformation.
In January 2022, Iveco Group was a brand-new company after separating from its parent organization. It needed its own purpose and values to guide it into the future, but these new statements needed to reflect a long history of accomplishments. Tenacity in execution, resourcefulness and committed employees have always been hallmarks of the organization's heritage and would be critical in Iveco Group's journey to becoming a new, mission-driven organization.
However, Iveco Group came from an organization described as an "operational machine" where every directive trickled down from the top in pursuit of manufacturing process excellence. With a changing workforce, it was clear that leadership initiatives were no longer enough to engage employees. Iveco Group needed to change how its community viewed it and encourage everyone to contribute to its future. It was time to go beyond what had been done in the past and rely on the diverse strengths across the organization.
The turning point came toward the end of 2021, just weeks from the new company launch. Iveco Group was presenting to stakeholders and faced a dilemma -- it lacked a company purpose and values. Faced with the choice of quickly drafting value statements without much thought, Iveco Group boldly decided to go public without a stated purpose and values. Its next step was contacting Gallup to help conduct a comprehensive culture audit.
"The brand is a time machine -- it either works in the past, or in the future. It very rarely stands still. Aligning ourselves and our people toward our story was the outcome we were looking for. That's why culture audits are so important. You can't point toward the future if you don't know what it is."-- Francesco Tutino, Chief Human Resources Officer and IT Officer, Iveco Group
The audit allowed the company to discover the opportunities within its culture that separated its current state from its goals. Since its foundation, Iveco Group has not only defined its purpose and values. With Gallup as a thought partner, it has started working toward consistent excellence across all areas of its business by embodying the culture audit process in daily operations: define, align, drive and sustain the organization.
Define by Giving Everyone a Voice
It's easy for a CEO to determine what an organization should look like. A strong leader might think all they need to do is set the direction and tell people about it. However, workplace science shows that teams are more committed when employees are given a voice in the process. To determine its purpose and values, Iveco Group wanted to prioritize the voice of its people -- adopting a bottom-up process that involved employees worldwide.
Led by Iveco Group's HR team, Gallup conducted global site visits to learn what it felt like to be part of Iveco Group. Interviews with current and former leaders, customers and key external partners provided valuable insights into the true nature and uniqueness of the organization. This culminated in a partnership between Iveco Group and Gallup to conduct a companywide engagement survey, inviting all employees to share their voice and participate in defining the organization's identity. The survey was called Voice, an anagram of IVECO, and it used Gallup's culture audit framework to ask employees closed and open-ended questions to gather input on what they thought company values should be. Given the open-ended format, the organization didn't expect a high response rate -- but surprisingly, out of the 29,000 total employees who participated in the survey, 15,000 people answered the open-ended questions, including many nonoffice workers.
29,000employees participated in Iveco Group's engagement survey
Employees need to feel like they belong to their organization, and after analyzing the feedback, Iveco Group realized it needed to do more to create a sense of belonging. This realization marked a transformative moment in the company's cultural journey and was a catalyst for positive change. Until this point, senior and mid-level leaders embraced the values -- but the values weren't effectively communicated to employees. As a global company, Iveco Group learned that it needed to unite its communities and help all employees be heard.
Align by Understanding Employee Voices
Iveco Group and Gallup collated the survey responses and brought the leadership team together for two days of collaborative visioning to define the organization's purpose and values together. Following this, they communicated the purpose and values to employees as proof that they'd been heard. Each of Iveco Group's values starts with "we" and includes a verb that prompts employees to action. This language creates a sense of community at Iveco Group; everyone is responsible for growth, and every employee is involved in the organization's success.
Now, Iveco Group's best-performing teams don't hide where they need improvement -- they take ownership to fix their problems and realign toward the organization's core purpose. Best of all, employees want to work toward that purpose because they helped create it.
Drive by Telling Your Story
Employees worldwide determined the values, but how does Iveco Group create continuous buy-in for those values?
The purpose and values have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and more than 80 ambassadors are trained as agents of change on their teams to help spread the message. The sessions have a 95% participation rate because people have a continual desire to be heard.
Given Iveco Group's reach as a global company, this tailored approach to employee engagement displays its commitment to every employee. Each individual shares a clear vision of the future when arriving at work every day -- and they're aligned with their colleagues around the world, no longer divided by language or location.
Sustain by Holding Up a Mirror
Iveco Group's first culture audit surveys were supported by Gallup tools like the Q12®+ engagement survey, which enhances an organization's listening strategy by incorporating its purpose and values into benchmarked questions.
The Q12 surveys effectively "hold up a mirror" in front of employees to reflect the reality of the organization -- and the organization can choose whether or not to accept what it sees.
Iveco Group's success has stemmed from never viewing leadership's perspective as infallible. CEOs and managers can have a great grasp on their organization's hopes, but whether that's the truth is a different story. True leaders choose to keep looking in the mirror and working on their reflection.
Gallup's methodology helped identify gaps in Iveco Group's employee perceptions and reveal any misalignment with how the organization saw itself. The leadership team realized that they could make meaningful improvements by listening to the feedback from employees in the culture audit and Q12+ survey.
"Through Gallup, you have the elements to measure where you are in your journey. That's very, very powerful."
-- Francesco Tutino, Chief Human Resources Officer and IT Officer, Iveco Group
Customers can also play an important role in defining a company's identity. Observing how its best teams interact with customers added more depth to Iveco Group's reflection, and the organization listened to what they learned and any repeated feedback in their audits and surveys. The best teams build credibility among customers, employees and leadership by embracing feedback.
Through ongoing global listening initiatives, Iveco Group successfully implemented its most effective engagement strategies worldwide. Engagement is a competitive advantage, but only if a company knows how to generate and use it. At Iveco Group, the culture audit revealed that high levels of engagement were evident among its most adaptable employees. Consistently measuring engagement, valuing adoption rates and clearly understanding what can be done with the analytics have become fundamental parts of Iveco Group's ongoing success.
It's still early in Iveco Group's journey. But, driven by its sustainability goals and enduring global growth, the organization is a major player in its industry. Its success continues because it's driven by invested employees -- and the organization isn't afraid to look at its reflection, which is gradually becoming sharper and more aligned with its aspirations.