Magazine article Communication World

Diversity Dialogue: Lockheed Martin's Innovative Postcard Campaign Gets Employees Talking

Magazine article Communication World

Diversity Dialogue: Lockheed Martin's Innovative Postcard Campaign Gets Employees Talking

Article excerpt

Lockheed Martin, one of the world's leading advanced technology companies, is facing a mammoth demographic problem: Many of its 70,000 engineers are expected to retire within the next 15 years. For the past three years, President and CEO Robert J. Stevens has emphasized that the company must create a workforce that is more diverse and inclusive, not only of racial differences but also differences in beliefs, backgrounds and experiences.

In 2007, the Lockheed Martin MS2 (Maritime Systems & Sensors) employee communication and design team determined it needed to find a way to help employees understand the nuances of an inclusive work environment. The solution centered on an innovative "Embrace Diversity" print postcard campaign: All 13,000 MS2 employees would receive a series of three postcards over four months that would encourage discussion of various topics.

Goals and objectives

The overall objective was to create a communication tool that not only captured the attention of employees but also got them to think about their own beliefs. This required an eye-catching design paired with bold, edgy language. The goals were:

* To engage employees by providing vibrant, consistent and relevant diversity information to increase employee understanding and acceptance of inclusive behavior.

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* To set the stage for greater employee involvement and engagement in both diversity communication and the company's efforts to create a diverse, inclusive work environment. Two key objectives were:

* To reach at least 75 percent of employees with the targeted diversity postcard series.

* To establish a solid baseline of employee understanding about what constitutes a diverse environment.

Solution and implementation

The Embrace Diversity postcard campaign consisted of 12 different postcards that explored themes such as generational differences, cultural and religious traditions, and military experience. The team decided on this approach for several reasons:

* Employees receive very little print material from the internal communication team. Thus, the team believed a print piece would stand out from the electronic overload many employees experience.

* Multiple postcards could be created, with a selection of postcards distributed each month. This allowed the team to explore more than just a handful of issues.

* The postcards could be sorted so that employees seated in adjacent offices or cubicles received different versions, encouraging conversation about the topics.

The intent was to explore the beliefs and backgrounds that contribute to an inclusive work environment by presenting realistic scenarios. The design used "conversation bubbles"--similar to those in comic strips--to present thoughts and reactions. The team wanted to avoid using stock photography or illustrations that included pictures of people in order to have employees focus on the issues and language, not on gender or race. …

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