Help Build a Corporate Culture after Acquisitions
LabCorp operates one of the largest and most sophisticated laboratory networks and logistics infrastructures in the world. Listed on the S&P 500 and based in Burlington, North Carolina, LabCorp employs more than 30,000 people worldwide at 1,600 service sites and 36 primary laboratories. Its 220,000 clients include physician offices, hospitals, managed care organizations, and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. LabCorp performs more than 1 million tests on more than 370,000 specimens each day.
- LabCorp was formed in 1995 through the merger of powerhouse companies Roche Biomedical Laboratories and National Health Laboratories. In the ensuing decade, the company acquired another nine corporations to gain capabilities in esoteric, specialty, and genetic lab services.
- Intensive growth through mergers and acquisitions left LabCorp a collection of companies without a cohesive corporate identity. Going forward, LabCorp intended to focus more on organic growth.
- LabCorp hired a new CEO, and among his first priorities was developing a set of core values upon which a new corporate culture would be built. LabCorp called this initiative Black Pearl; the core values represented grains of sand that would organically grow into something rare and valuable.
- The initiative would require LabCorp to launch a strategic, coordinated employee communications campaign for the first time. LabCorp hired FrogDog to consult with the company and develop an employee communication plan to effectively introduce the cultural initiative across its entire network.
- Around-the-clock schedules at multiple types of facilities, varying degrees of technology and communications channels, and language requirements had to be considered.
The FrogDog Approach
- FrogDog led a series of initial consultations and conducted site visits of LabCorp’s corporate offices and laboratories to gain perspectives on the company environment, employee roles and interactions, and existing communication vehicles at each facility.
- From this information, FrogDog developed a communication plan that envisioned introducing the new corporate values in a three-phase process: a prelaunch buzz campaign, introducing the initiative, and frequent and consistent post-launch communications.
- The buzz campaign was intended to build interest and excitement prior to the initiative’s announcement. FrogDog developed workplace posters, promotional items, e-mail blasts, and voice-mail scripts that dropped hints and teased the program without revealing details.
- Campaign materials were also for inclusion in a campaign kit for managers, directors, and supervisors along with instructions on when and how to post or distribute them. They would receive the kits during mandatory prelaunch meetings.
- This campaign would lead up to an announcement delivered directly from the CEO in a video distributed to employees via a minidisk or on the corporate intranet. The message described the six corporate values and announced a shared rewards program.
- The communication plan outlined a number of activities to occur in the week following the announcement, along with ongoing communication.
- The first step involved fully informing directors, managers, and supervisors about the program and giving them communication tools such as a handbook and FAQ cards.
- Human resources would take charge of putting up posters listing the six core values, and a special page for the initiative would be added to the corporate intranet.
- Long term, considerable communication about the initiative would come directly from the CEO to employees through letters, e-mails, and articles in employee newsletters. Ongoing communications would frequently highlight examples of employees exhibiting core values, and an exclusive society for the initiative would be organized for the employees consistently demonstrating them.
- The tenets of the new corporate culture would also be stressed in management and staff meetings, including monthly cross-functional meetings for managers.
- The overall strategy was designed to help create a consistent, shared corporate culture where none previously existed.