By Lizz Pellet
, the Culture Vulture
What do you get when you combine black, yellow and orange? Give up?
Stanley Black and Decker
We’re at the B’s on our quest to uncover the good, the bad and the ugly of company culture and employment brands from A to Z. It’s Black & Decker’s turn in light of the merger with Stanley Tools announced last week. This might be a hardware nightmare waiting to happen, or they just might achieve the desired “economy of scale”, blah, blah, blah. The press release
has enough carefully crafted corporate messaging to allow for a quick game of buzz word bingo. (For those of you who haven’t played buzz word bingo, this tutorial
is worth checking out.)
Black & Decker
, headquartered in Towson, Maryland was founded in 1910. This gives us potential job seekers the feeling that “Hey, they’ve been around a long time and they’re a stable company.” And if I’m a tooler, I know the consumer brand well. If I’m a call center operator, I might not know the product line, but I’ve probably seen a drill hanging around in the garage at some point and recognize the black and orange brand colors.
, located in New Britain, Connecticut, was originally a bolt and door hardware manufacturing company when it was founded way back in 1843. So Stanley wins the earliest brand recognition over Black & Decker by almost 70 years. They’ll remain the first name in this newly formed marriage of the two companies that have been competing with each other for a century.
Needless to say, this has been a deep-seeded rivalry as they have looked at merging since the 1980’s. Why hasn’t it happened until now? According to Black & Decker’s CEO, Nolan D. Archibald, the talks often broke down over who would be in charge. Guess who’s in charge now? Let’s take a look.
Stanley’s Chief Executive John F. Lundgren is being named chief executive of the combined company
The new name is Stanley Black & Decker
Stanley shareholders will hold 9 of 15 board seats
The merged company will be based at Stanley's offices in New Britain, Connecticut.
This is where the culture and employment brand of each of the companies is no longer a merger of equals but an acquisition in a merger’s clothing. Everything from the name, the number of board seats and location indicates who will control the company, and it’s certainly not Black & Decker.
A quick comparison of the corporate websites gives significant insight into what the employment brand of each of these companies is – or will be - once the deal is blessed by share holders, board members and regulatory agencies.
The Stanley site
doesn’t have the word “careers” on it – anywhere, not even way down at the bottom in 6 point font. Nothing, nada that says anything about its people or that gives a potential employee a place to find a job. Even in these tough economic times for tool companies you have to have some sort of connection between the consumer brand and the people who make the products. Stanley doesn’t invite you to apply for a job, let alone find out more about what it might be like to work at the company. Some may say there is no reason to be inviting employees to work at a company that might not have current openings and given that there will be a reduction in force with the merger, come on, they still need to be creative or proactive to secure top talent for the future. The only cool thing on this site? The invitation to follow them on Facebook and Twitter. They’ve hit the nail on the head with their social media presence.
Oh wait! Maybe you’re the average job seeker and you didn’t know that The Stanley Works
is actually the corporate site for Stanley Tools. Why would you? Well, unfortunately that’s where the jobs are, so to speak. But there’s absolutely no integration between the consumer brand and the employment brand. They’ve totally missed the mark here.
Mr. Lundgren acknowledged the merger would likely mean thousands of job cuts, especially in the corporate staffs and areas like purchasing and warehouses that serve the same region. He said he hoped the job cuts would total fewer than 4,000. I bet the people of Baltimore know where most of the 4,000 jobs will be lost.
Black and Decker, on the other hand, does have a sense of employment brand. Their career link is right under the picture of the faucet and couched between “Investor Relations” and “Contact Us” – but hey, it’s there. There are some still photographs of what appear to be real company employees nestled together in front of the company sign, working together under the banner of great people, great products, great future – but nothing that would invite me to find out more. There’s a link to the diversity statement and code of ethics and standards. The typical corporate speak that inclusion is one of the company’s core values but when you try to find out more about their culture and values the “Rewards, Career & Culture
” link takes us to an error page of “not found” I think that’s a good indication of how important those values must be.
It’s going to be an interesting combination to watch and observe how they will approach the cultural integration challenges, because you know they’ll have them. It will be fun to see what happens to the employment brand. Will it remain in the same non-existent state, or will they develop an exciting and engaging combined brand?
If I was a job seeker, I just might stick to Snap On Tools, the name is way cooler anyway than Stanley Black & Decker. Then again, their careers link is buried at the bottom of the home page too. What’s with these tool companies anyway?