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Personalize your career site experience using employee stories

Reading Time: 9 minutes

BAE Systems, Inc and its 32,000+ team members have been serving our nation’s armed forces for the past 18 years. Broken down into three units — electronic systems (ES), intelligence and security (I&S), and platforms and services (P&S) — teams of engineers, project managers, and leadership provide expert solutions to complex problems. 

BAE Systems has always prided itself on providing challenging and purposeful work for its team members. But with an aging workforce and increasingly competitive demand for tech talent, the government contractor shifted its focus to employer brand in 2017 to compete with innovation brand powerhouses such as Google and Apple.

The first step for the Arlington, VA-based organization was investing in a new career site platform in the summer of 2017. The platform would enable the website to direct relevant content to visitors based on their backgrounds and the sorts of career information they may be looking for. 

With the new site underway and scheduled to launch by the end of the calendar year, BAE Systems now needed the content to populate this new website. That’s where we came in. 

The Scope

Keeping in mind that the new BAE Systems career site would be one personalized to the visitor, creating a large enough library of photos and videos to meet the needs of various candidates was key; the content needed to range from broader company and cultural information to specific career content to more niche points of interest. 

In the end, we settled on six interview days — two days each at three different sites, each site representing one of the three different sectors. The 56 total interviews would be utilized to create a library of photography as well as 18 videos: five 2-3 minute broad overview videos, eight 75-second videos around various universal themes, and five standalone stories. 

While we approached the interviews and content creation process with our typical organic approach, there were three topics that we were looking to capture and weave throughout the series of videos: 

  1. Innovation. Finding the stories that demonstrate the innovative projects that exist at BAE Systems to rival those of other more known tech companies. 
  2. Purpose. Their work directly impacts the safety and well-being of soldiers on the frontlines and is what sets a career at BAE Systems apart from other areas of tech.
  3. Opportunity. BAE Systems is a place where you will be challenged to grow your skills and your career. 

Armed with these goals, we had six successful filming days interviewing and photographing 56 team members. We immediately got to work turning the interviews into 18 videos. Let’s breakdown what we created: 

Five Overview Videos

Going into the project, we knew that three of the overview videos would be used to demonstrate the business models of each of the sectors: Electronic Systems (ES), Intelligence & Security (I&S), and Platforms & Services (P&S). The video would bring to life the types of solutions that specific sector created and how they served BAE System’s overall purpose of protecting the warfighter.

In order to create unity among the three videos and the brand as a whole, all three would open with a story that connected the sector’s line of work back to purpose. Here’s an example from the I&S overview featuring their Programs Director, Kristen: 

The rest of each video focused on the challenging and innovative work one could find in each of the sectors, such as this story from a P&S team member, Adrienne, on creating shields for the soldiers when they were standing in their Humvees: 

The final two overview videos would be used to demonstrate BAE System’s mission as well as the culture of the organization. The mission video, titled What Really Matters, laid out BAE Systems’ mission of bringing soldiers home safely that would be woven throughout all of the content. 

The content that made up the culture video came about more organically. As we moved throughout the three sites, we couldn’t help but notice how many interesting and passionate people made up the organization. From “geeks at heart” to firebreathers to professional rollerbladers, BAE Systems was filled with unique individuals. 

And on our first stop at the ES sector in Nashua, New Hampshire, the Vice President of Engineering, Ray, made a statement that stuck with us: 

“Bring a passion, bring an energy. But when it’s time to go home, you need to have a passion outside like you have a passion inside.”

– Ray

This became our inspiration for celebrating the people of BAE Systems: a team that is passionate about life both inside and outside the workplace. 

Showcasing the universal experience across sectors

Besides the uniting factor of mission, the sector overview videos were created to celebrate the unique aspects and work of each of the three sectors. As we began to create the shorter-length content, our objective shifted: what common experiences unite the sectors under one BAE Systems brand, and how can we best bring them to life to candidates? 

We entered the project with a good understanding of some of the topics we would discover and build content around: the widespread engineering opportunities; the flexible work environment; and collaboration as an essential tool for success, to name a few.

Some of the other topics, however, came about more organically. When we were asking storytellers about their career growth at BAE Systems, we heard stories like this from P&S principal engineer, Chris, about when he asked his manager if they would send him to Japan to learn more about lean manufacturing:

This story became the base for a video surrounding learning and development and how BAE Systems team members are empowered to pursue their own career growth

BAE Systems also does a lot of work to support all of their team members and their diverse backgrounds through employee resource groups. From veterans adjusting to civilian life to individuals with disabilities joining the organization, BAE Systems has the support systems in place to help you be successful: 

Five Standalone Stories

Outside of the longer-form videos featuring multiple storytellers, we created five standalone stories. While each story was different, each hit home to an aspect of the BAE Systems experience in a powerful way. 

Some of the stories, like those of P&S electric engineer, Harshit, and ES systems engineer, Nick, focus on experiences on specific projects that have made an impact. Both of these stories demonstrate the opportunities for leadership and innovation that exist at BAE Systems. For Nick, his best day at BAE Systems occurred when he was working on a pilot project: 

Others, such as I&S systems engineer, Mika, and P&S technical writer, Joanna, showcased the more personal, subtle stories of growth that exist at the organization. For Joanna, she has battled all her career to overcome her deafness and the limitations it places on her. Hear about how she has found success at BAE Systems despite her disability: 

Publishing and Marketing the Content

In August 2018, the BAE Systems, Inc. careers site officially launched featuring both the photos and videos from the project. The wide variety of videos has allowed the content to be used both broadly within topics such as diversity and culture, as well as more specifically to target site visitors such as veterans or college graduates.

All 18 of the videos have been placed on the organization’s YouTube channel and ten have been published onto the static careers site. The remaining eight videos will continue to be rolled out in 2019.