When the merger of Gardner Denver, Inc. and Ingersoll Rand Industrials was announced in 2019, Vicente Reynal, CEO of Gardner Denver, Inc. declared an employee equity award for all future Ingersoll Rand employees after the close of the merger. The transaction was completed in March 2020, and then the global pandemic and economic downturn took hold. Employees were skeptical the equity award would happen. An extensive body of research on employee ownership guided Ingersoll Rand and its agency, Clairemont Communications, to plan and implement an equity grant celebration event.
Goal + General Plan: Based on research, the team designed a plan around the newly combined company’s core value of ‘Think and Act Like Owners’ that included a live global broadcast in partnership with NYSE; equity 101 training; videos and fact sheets on the company portal translated in 15 languages; local celebrations held safely around the world; framed commemorative stock certificates for all 16,000 employees globally with a letter from the CEO and Chairman; and target media outreach.
Preparing the Runway (Pre-Event Training): The multi-channel strategy began three months pre-event to educate every employee on the equity grant’s significance. Local HR leaders received courses to facilitate logistics and guide trainings. Employees received “bite-sized,” cadenced communications via personal weekly emails from the CEO, intranet Q&As/articles, local staff meetings, posters and even graphics displayed on factory floor monitors. More than 100 resources were published and translated on IR NOW, the company intranet. Employees engaged in Ownership Purpose & Values training to connect their own values to those of the company and prepare them to “think and act like owners.”
For Whom the Bell Tolls (NYSE Bell Ringing & Global Town Hall): Given pandemic limitations, Ingersoll Rand designed a celebration where CEO Vicente Reynal virtually rang the opening bell at the NYSE, broadcasting to customers and investors. The team choreographed a global celebration that combined the NYSE bell ringing with a virtual town hall. Equipped with a “party in the box,” 300 Ingersoll Rand sites hosted celebrations together or at home, complete with themed foods or decor; the town hall featured interviews with teams from Simmern, Germany to Wujiang, China, sharing reactions to allow employees to celebrate with their global teammates in real-time. On-site liaisons captured photography and video interviews to foster connection between sites, and each employee received a personalized, framed equity grant certificate with a letter from the CEO.
Top-Tier Headlines: IR leveraged the grant’s historical importance as one of the first and largest of its kind, as well as teased the economic impact for local markets. The team positioned the grant as a case study in global leadership development, leveraging local employees to share personal experience as a now-owner. With 2020’s attention to diversity, CEO Vicente became celebrated as one of the first Hispanics to lead such an initiative. Simultaneously, IR launched a schedule of creative graphics, videos and posts leading up to the grant. Without any social media budget, the team appointed an informal group of LinkedIn ambassadors to amplify the posts through sharing, tagging and engagement.
One IR, Many Staff: The core team worked with 200 site champions across 70 countries to coordinate trainings, material delivery and a site celebration launch. We liaised with NYSE ambassadors along with IT leaders to coordinate the bell ringing and global town hall down to the second, and media teams provided 24-hour coverage to monitor the news and coordinate interviews.
Successful execution of Ingersoll Rand’s global event exceeded all five objectives. We secured coverage in four top tier financial outlets (Forbes, MarketWatch, Dow Jones and Fortune), exceeding our target of three; one financial broadcast outlet (Bloomberg) as targeted; and coverage in our U.S. and in the UK, India, China, Australia, Singapore and South Korea to position Ingersoll Rand as a manufacturing industry leader. We also achieved 2 times the target increase in equity grant value with 20% versus 10% goal in fewer than 45 days after the grant event. Even more, recently we were proud to receive, along with Ingersoll Rand, a PRSA Silver Anvil award for this campaign in the Events and Observances category.
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