When most people think “Dell,” they think of the classic PC. So when potential intern candidates thought of what it would mean to work for Dell, they viewed the company through the lens of computer manufacturer, not as the place to be to begin their career in innovative technological solutions.
Approaching the summer of 2016, Jennifer Newbill, Director of Global Employment Brand at Dell, set out to correct this misconception by rethinking the company’s approach to attracting those on campus. She knew she needed to create an authentic view into intern life that could be shared with candidates. And, who better to share authentic stories than actual interns? Their employer branding team got to work connecting with their group of awesome interns to uncover their experiences.
Stories Inc takes a ‘deep dive’
The Stories Inc. team started their ‘deep dive’ into intern life at Dell by interviewing 16 full-time summer interns in Round Rock, Texas. Current interns revealed their innovative work on projects such as virtual reality for education, sustainable packaging materials, and NextGen Marketing.
Their stories also highlighted the spirit of mentorship at Dell due to the company’s Open Door Policy, their experiences as women in STEM, and the flexibility Dell leadership extends to their newest summer team members to achieve a notable work/life balance.
Several clear themes emerged from the Round Rock videos which inspired five videos: Empowerment, Women in STEM, Open Door Policy, Flexibility, and Innovation, the latter four also being released with an accompanying blog post. Since the content’s launch in Fall 2016, the videos on Dell’s various channel have received more than 4,500 views.
From Round Rock to Hopkinton
Newbill and her team loved the Round Rock content so much that once the combination of Dell and EMC was announced in September 2016, they expanded the work to include Dell EMC interns. This decision sent the Stories Inc. team to Hopkinton, Mass. to interview 14 interns, including four full-time employees who got their start as interns. They discussed the importance of diversity and employee affinity groups, and reaffirmed Dell’s overwhelming commitment to providing innovative and meaningful work to interns.
Enrico Scott shared his career journey with Dell EMC, beginning as a Global Trading Compliance intern the summer of 2013. Enrico flourished that summer under the guidance of two company mentors and with the support of EMC’s Black Employee Affinity Group (BEAG). He landed a second internship the following year in the Finance Department, a position that ultimately led to the full-time position he currently enjoys.
In the nature of Dell EMC’s spirit of mentorship, Scott continues to be active in the BEAG, organizing the Buddy Program which connects peer-to-peer new hires of color with millennials currently within the company. Scott revealed how at Dell EMC he has discovered his passion for mentorship and, as he puts it, “lifting as I climb.”
Scott and his fellow Hopkinton interns’ interviews paired well with the previously uncovered Round Rock stories, and resulted in three additional videos: Career Path, Diversity and Affinity Groups, and Meaningful Work, with accompanying blog posts to be released later in 2017. Since their launch on Dell’s various social channels in January 2017, these videos have been viewed more than 11,500 times.
Shifting to veteran recruiting content
The story-based intern content outperformed other types of content Dell typically releases, inspiring Newbill and her team to pursue a second “deep dive” by shifting the focus to veterans. Dell EMC committed to hiring 3,000 veterans by 2020 through Joining Forces, the initiative driven by former First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, which aligned well with the military focused hiring efforts already underway and Dell’s desires to hire such qualified candidates. The competencies that veterans possess align strongly with Dell’s culture code.
Veterans face specific challenges upon entering the workforce as they translate their military experience and skills into civilian life. Dell addresses these challenges with a structured framework for recruiting, hiring, mentoring, and supporting veterans and their families as they transition from the military to the corporate world. Furthermore, they also support service members during active duty and those in the Reserves.
Dell needed to find a way to communicate this formalized support in order to resonate with such a large pool of talented, qualified candidates.
What we did
To prepare timely content for Veterans Day, the Stories Inc. team interviewed 21 veterans and two military spouses currently employed by Dell at both the Hopkinton and Round Rock locations.
Their stories revealed just how effective Dell’s support system is for their veterans—when a challenge presented itself to veterans, they found mentors to guide them; when an active member was called into duty, their job was protected, and their family taken care of. And so much more.
Engineering Operations Manager and Air Force Veteran Molly Mae Potter tells of her obstacles post-Air Force. For nine months she struggled to find employment in an engineering field while recovering from a traumatic brain injury, until the day a Dell recruiter reached out to her. The transition during the first few months was difficult, but with the help of mentors she adjusted to the more laid back environment and learned to actually enjoy a work/life balance. She was named 2016 Ms. Veteran America and has since used this platform, and Dell’s resources, to aid other veterans struggling to find employment.
Potter’s stories along with her fellow veterans were used to create a compelling Veterans Day video and blog post to be shared on Dell’s careers blog and social channels. The video has reached more than 650 views on YouTube since its launch in November 2016.
How the content was used
In just a few short months, the Dell employment branding and the Stories Inc teams together produced a comprehensive picture of life at Dell to share with intern and veteran candidates. Videos, blog posts, social graphics and slideshares inform candidates what they can expect working at Dell. In only 10 months, our content on social sites received more than 1.4 million impressions; slideshares garnered more than 6,000 views; videos accrued more than 17,000 views; blog posts received 68,000 views, and all views continue to grow.
New year, new deep dive: Women in Technology
Following the momentum from the intern and veteran projects, in the Spring of 2017 the employer brand team decided to focus on another niche hiring area: women in technology.
With the fierce competition for female tech talent in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dell needed to find a way to differentiate themselves. Women and men often have different priorities in the workplace, something important to keep in mind when marketing careers to women.
To best showcase their workplace culture, Dell decided to sit down and talk with some of their own successful women in tech and hear their stories. What have they valued in their careers at Dell and how have they felt supported by the organization?
From mentorship to flexibility and more
Stories Inc. visited the Santa Clara campus and interviewed 22 women over the course of two days about what it’s like to be a woman in technology at Dell. We gathered stories on topics from innovative work to mentorship, flexibility, and more.
For network engineer Salina Dbritto, Dell’s commitment to flexibility has allowed her to stay better connected to her family back in India. At one point in time, Dbritto had to return to India for about a month. Her manager told her it wasn’t a problem — just bring your laptop and get your work done the best you can while you are over there. For someone still relatively early in her career, the trust and empowerment this experience provided her was significant.
Mathematician Rachel Traylor and software engineer Mariah Arevalo reflected on their experiences of innovation and opportunity at Dell. Traylor had commented to Arevalo one day about how Dell needed to take advantage of the PhD and master research work that was being conducted by team members. The research was there, but it wasn’t organized in a way that made it accessible to the wider organization.
Arevalo knew she had the skills to help Traylor with this project. The two embarked together to create a single website where all of Dell’s internal research could live. They pitched the mockup to their Chief Technology Officer, and soon thereafter The Research Cortex was born.
The pair’s journey through this project and what it meant to each of them and their personal careers was captured in the video, “Women at Dell Make Math Research Relatable, Accessible to the Masses.”
At the conclusion of the project, the four videos had amassed over 900 views on YouTube and 3400 views on social and continue to be shared in an effort to recruit future female tech talent to Dell.
Back to Round Rock and Hopkinton with a rotational program focus
In January of 2018, Dell brought in the Stories Inc team to feature an additional niche hiring group within Dell: rotational programs.
Through these programs Dell allows members to rotate between different areas and positions within a department. Beyond the advantages of a well-rounded experience, participants often graduate the program with a better understanding of where their interests and skills would best flourish moving forward.
Dell has rotational and developmental programs in Finance, Human Resources, Marketing, Supply Chain, and IT. Twenty individuals representing all of these programs were selected to sit down with the Stories Inc team and tell their stories. Here’s what we found:
Opportunity, Impact, and Access — all around the world
Program members often were either right out of school or in transitional points in their career. Despite this, we heard stories of impact and meaningful work across all of the departments.
Marketing Undergraduate Development Program graduate Orlando Faison recalled a project he worked on during his second rotation. Dell was planning its Dell Technologies Day One Launch to celebrate the unity of their seven strategically aligned businesses. The Chief Marketing Officer had a clear vision: seven skydivers jumping out of an airplane, each wearing a jumpsuit representing one of the businesses.
Faison was tasked with designing those jumpsuits. Or, in his words, “It was his idea, but I definitely brought the CMO’s idea to life.”
Faison’s story, along with other rotational program members’ stories of impact, were used to create a short video entitled, “Dell Graduates Making an Impact.”
Over those two days we also heard many stories around international opportunities. Breaking into the international landscape can often be difficult so early in your career; Dell’s rotational and development programs offer various opportunities for participants to expand their horizons geographically.
For Human Resources Rotation Program participant Aikan Graham, this experience came in the form of a week-long trip to India to test a new HR software. Beyond the professional experience gained from managing his own project, the opportunity to experience a different work culture was invaluable for someone looking to grow within Human Resources in a global organization.
What we did
We took all of the content collected from these two days and created four storylines: Access to Leadership, Making an Impact, International Opportunities, and Accelerating Your Career. Each topic had a full-length video, a blog post, a short teaser video, and an Instagram graphic to be used for promotion on social channels.
The content launched in July 2018 and will continue to be promoted throughout the year.