Canadian Tire re-sparks entire workforce with just three words

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A major employee engagement program at Canadian Tire has been successful as a result of internal communications that were built around just three words: ‘know’, ‘feel’, and ‘do’.

Following recognition the company needed to re-spark its employees’ love of the Canadian Tire brand, HR programs vice president Jackie Goldman said the organisation rolled out a program to ensure employees understood the company’s purpose and their role in it.

Goldman said its eventual success came down to the three words ‘know’, ‘feel’ and ‘do’.

“You can have the best initiative in the world and if it’s not communicated well it can fall flat,” Goldman said. “We use the ‘Know, Feel, Do’ approach: what do you want people to know, how do you want them to feel, what do you want them to do?” she said.

The 2013 engagement program centred on the phrase ‘Life in Canada depends on us’, and had to reach everyone from corporate and call centre staff to distribution and field staff.

This meant overcoming challenges such as lack of access to computers and language barriers.

Goldman said the magic bullet came with an Anthem Video that depicted the real faces and stories of Canadian Tire customers, followed by a series of posters, print articles, an ‘Ask and Exec’ series and toolkits for team leaders that reinforced the Anthem’s message.

“We wanted to bring our saying to life and show employees, through emotional and touching images, the impact we have on Canadians,” Goldman said.

Canadian Tire also had to overcome significant work culture roadblocks.

“Each different business unit has its own distinct culture and way of communicating,” Goldman said. “For corporate communications to resonate it has to hit the mark. At first there was a bit of resistance to some of the tactics - because this is one of the first initiatives that was done across the corporation and touching all of our business units - so we had to make sure our tactics spoke to them and that we were respectful,” she said.
 

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