Penn-Mar Human Services | Internal Communications Program
Penn-Mar Human Services provides a range of educational, vocational and residential programs for more than 400 individuals with developmental disabilities across Northern Maryland and Southern Pennsylvania.
The recruitment and retention of the Direct Support Professional (DSP) workforce is the single biggest challenge agencies like Penn-Mar have. Low wages, scant benefits, limited training and lack of career advancement opportunities have led to this challenge over the past 30 years for agencies across the country. However, while pay can be a real barrier to the profession, many will tell you that this job is a “calling”.
Penn-Mar did not strategically communicate with prospective and current employees in a way that made them feel valued. There was no unifying messaging strategy to encourage people to join their team or to make them feel connected to the organization after they joined. The “benefits” of working at Penn-Mar were communicated in an ad-hoc way and employees were not aware of the depth and breadth of what’s available to them as a part of the Penn-Mar team.
Penn-Mar partnered with Cut Once to develop an internal communications program directed at the organization’s DSPs – to speak to their hearts in a way that genuinely bonds them to joining, and staying with, the organization.
Cut Once hosted focus group sessions with Penn-Mar’s leadership and employee-representative teams to take a deep dive into the organization’s mission, core values, and current perceptions of Penn-Mar as an employer. Online surveys were also sent to all employees to provide further insight and understanding about the company culture.
Based on the findings of those efforts, Cut Once developed an internal branding strategy and campaign concept that better aligned with expected behaviors that support Penn-Mar’s values and mission, and identified new points of engagement and opportunities for communication. The new positioning, “Live Your Legacy: The better we do, the better we become”, reflects the values of honest communication, supportive collaboration, fair practices, innovative initiatives and a culture of excellence at all levels of the organization.
Cut Once transformed this strategy into multiple visual elements, including: a campaign logo, website refresh, digital newsletter, branded video, direct mail, apparel, posters and flyers, and other graphic identifiers to be used throughout the organization’s communications efforts.
Analysis and Research
Mechanical Production (Technical)
Merchandise & Apparel
Vendor Sourcing & Management
Visual Identity System
My organization retained Cut Once as our partner in branding ourselves to our internal constituents. Team member recruitment and retention is vital to the success of what we do and we had to get this right. Greg Bennett led a process that was inclusive of all stakeholders and ultimately resulted in a new branding platform that is being embraced by all levels of our organization. He and his team quickly learned the nuances of our industry and the unique challenges we face in team member retention. The process included both primary and secondary research to understand the key issues and tap into the passions of our workforce. Because buy-in was such a critical part of the project, he led a process that included involving team members at all levels including organizational leadership and the board. In addition to Greg's strategic approach, he also was able to keep the project moving in a way that we are able to launch on-time and on budget. I highly recommend Greg and Cut Once as a key strategic partner for any branding initiative for which you have a need. He works as a true partner to bring important projects to fruition. See less
— Kathy Rogers, Chief Advancement Officer at Penn-Mar Human Services
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Posters and Flyers