This week, our guest blogger, Dan May, Commercial Director at IT service provider, ramsac limited talks about internal branding in a two part blog.
As with the vast majority of businesses, we started off small. For the first 10 years of our life there were no more than 10 of us on team ramsac, it was very much a family feeling. We all knew each other, the office was small so you tended to know exactly what each person was working on, and everyone we employed was very similar to ourselves, so we socialised together most weeks. And if we planned a night out, we knew that everyone would be there.
Then we started to achieve some great successes, which meant we needed to increase the size of the team. About three years ago we wrote our five-year plan, and realised that by the end of it, we would need a team of around 50 people in order to deliver the sort of outsourced IT services that we wanted to deliver to our clients.
As a team now approaching that magic number of 50 colleagues, some things have naturally changed. We have a more diverse group of people working for us; people are sub divided in to smaller business units, a relationship team, an ops and finance team, a remote support team and a technical team. We have a small leadership group, with team managers having devolved responsibility for the things that previously, only a director would do. A night out for the whole team, with partners, now means hiring a venue, so other than for our Christmas gathering and our summer picnic, social events now tend to be arranged for teams, rather than the whole organisation to get together.
Not everything has changed. We have never veered from our core values and we maintain a very fussy approach to recruitment – in an industry renowned for home-knit jumpers and long haired men with a fear of talking to the opposite sex in any format other than online fantasy games, we have stuck our ‘real people’ policy – only employing people that can speak in plain English and maintain eye contact when discussing technology with a client!
However, one of the challenges we felt we could face as we grew, was the fact that we weren’t willing to let go of the thing that we felt really made us ‘ramsac’. We hadn’t really defined what the ‘thing’ was but we knew it existed. We used to give feedback to recruitment agencies after unsuccessful interviews, saying things like ‘He just wasn’t a ramsac sort of person.’ We knew what we meant, but we had never really defined it.
What ever the ‘thing’ was, we knew that it was so important to us, that we couldn’t grow if growing meant losing it! It was, we decided, a certain passion and dedication that we believed so many of our larger competitors lacked. A genuine belief in putting a clients business first. In being empathetic. In being flexible and in responding in a certain way. We had built our business based solely on our reputation for ‘Making IT Simple’ but we knew that with growth, there was a danger we could lose our key differentiator – our service values.
So, having spent several years talking about the ‘ramsac way of doing things,’ we decided to sit down with our team and define what it was we meant. We got the whole team involved, we ran several brain storming sessions, and after much head scratching, we came up with the seven key principles of the ramsac way:
Communicate clearly & professionally Keep the client informed Pay attention to the detail Have a ‘can do’ attitude Go the extra mile Deliver on your promises Plan your work Ask for help when you need it We already felt that our team were doing all of these things on a day-to-day basis, but we wanted to ensure that as we grew, everyone that joined the business would understand it too. This was especially important as inductions and initial training periods were being delegated from the directors to the new team managers.
So, we took this list to our communications agency, and asked for some help. We had spent a long time working with them around developing the ramsac branding, which we had always considered essential for our client facing activities, but this project was starting to make us think about how we needed to develop the brand for new and existing staff.
We agreed on an internal campaign called “The Power of One”.
Read next week’s blog on how the ramsac implemented their internal branding plan.
Founded in 1991, ramsac offers a ‘menu’ of outsourced stress-free IT services that allows clients to match their individual needs. For some clients it may simply be support at the end of the phone, for others a part-time network manager, for many businesses its help in developing a longer term overall IT strategy. Whatever the requirement clients are guaranteed impartial, jargon-free advice.
ramsac is committed to providing excellence in customer service and is proud to maintain a 97% client retention rate. The company won the 2011 Toast of Surrey Award for the ‘Companies with a turnover of up to £5m’ category and sponsored and judged the same award in 2013. ramsac is also an ISO 9001 Quality Approved firm, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, a Citrix Silver Partner and an accredited Investor in People.
Learn more about ramsac at www.ramsac.com
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