When Arla Foods wanted to anchor their brand position Closer to Nature™ in their organisation, it was essential that all employees were involved, and that a number of brand ambassadors were activated among them. The quest to mobilize 16,000 employees was on!
Back in 2011, management decided that all employees would spend a day dedicated to unfold the initiative Closer to Nature™. Workz was asked to help develop a game-based process to go alongside the more traditional campaign developed by Open.
The challenge - dispersing culture to all corners
From a strategic perspective the challenge was to move from brand to culture. This called for a process that would reach all corners of the organisation by fostering local development of ideas.
Due to this, it was a premise from the very beginning that the process was designed around a strong local focus. Local innovations are more fit to survive and faster to bring to market, and Arla did not want ideas to be stalled by or depending on action from headquarters.
For another take on local mobilization, have a look at our recent work on the Global ISS Leadership Conference.
Based on this premise, the process of engagement became highly relevant in the many different markets in which Arla operates, and the many different functions that exist within the Arla organisation. To realize their ambition, Arla explicitly requested game-based learning – games have a proven track record within Arla.
Arla's CEO Peder Tuborgh described the initiative as follows to Arla's managers:
"To ensure that we work on coming Closer to Nature™ in all parts of our company, senior management has decided that all 16,000 employees at all locations must be involved. It is important that each employee experiences a clear focus and a strong support from management to Closer to Nature."
"I consider it a strategic investment, which will increase the market value of Arla Foods at the same level as our external marketing activities."
THE SOLUTION - global experience, local knowledge
In short, our solution consisted of an immersive workshop supported by a game. The workshop not only framed the work ahead with Closer to Nature™ , it also created a local relevance. Local managers played a key role in bridging the gap between everyday work and Closer to Nature™ - and back to everyday work.
The game urged participants to immerse themselves into Closer to Nature™ and make the strategy their own. One measure was to let players select the areas of the strategy that made sense for them to engage with - and thus showed how everyone could contribute to the company's coming Closer to Nature™.
Workz aims high from the beginning, and it is a pleasure to work and learn alongside them. I think that they have been particularly skilled at reducing complexity in the game
The game alternated between creating awareness about existing solutions and examining local potential for innovation. In the field between global experience and local knowledge, the game supported participants to find solutions that fit their own reality. The perpetual aim was to bring forth ideas that local departments were able and motivated to implement themselves.
CONTINUOUS INVOLVEMENT - getting the buy-in
Even the best of projects can wither and die without proper support. As such, involving important stakeholders to create buy-in in the organisation was a high priority. Here, we used the game as a catalyst.
Check out how we also train strategic stakeholder management through game-based learning.
In addition, we tested the game in several countries and introduced it to various decision makers within Arla. Thus, we planted the idea in many different people and parts of the organisation, while the stakeholders involved were able to leave their mark on the final product.
Naturally, it was important to integrate perspectives from top management, HR, marketing, internal communication and local management in the different locations as well. By including these perspectives, we ensured that the various parts of Arla could recognise the game as relevant and useful.
"Workz aims high from the beginning, and it is a pleasure to work and learn alongside them. "
"I think that they have been particularly skilled at reducing complexity in the game. We needed a game that managers could roll out without previous training, while at the same time avoiding that the game became too simple [...] "
"We have felt in good hands from the very start," said Marianne Bach, Corporate Marketing & Arla Brand at the time.