But our work didn’t stop there. A global Discovery program called One Hundred Days · One Hundred Years was conducted to unearth stories, artifacts, symbols and images from all employees. For one hundred days, people had the opportunity to submit stories about their experiences at Whirlpool, its legacy companies and its regions through an online portal. Not only were stories collected, but also archival materials such as newsletters, advertising, ledgers and scrapbooks, all of which helped inform the larger narrative of Whirlpool.
Whirlpool already had a large archive, but the anniversary provided the chance to engage employees in the process of rounding out the current archival holdings, as well as gathering materials from its affiliate companies around the world. “Discovery coordinators” at each of Whirlpool’s major locations around the world acted as point people to both collect materials for the archives and encourage participation. The History Factory conducted live webinars with these discovery champion volunteers on multiple continents to train them for the role they would play in the anniversary. Posters, table tents and other collateral materials were provided by The History Factory to prepare for the program. Once it began, archivists from The History Factory processed the materials that came in from the program and worked with archivists at the Whirlpool Corporation Archives Museum in Benton Harbor, Michigan, to store the newly collected materials and preserve them for use by future generations of Whirlpool employees.
To help make Whirlpool’s archive easily searchable, The History Factory digitized many of the materials and placed them in LuminARC®, an online archival database developed by The History Factory. The collected materials were immediately used to help inform the Whirlpool anniversary initiatives and throughout the campaign The History Factory used LuminARC to conduct primary research to support the creation of everything from posters to the centerpiece of the anniversary: a coffee- table-style publication entitled A Century of Achievement | A New Century of Opportunity.
Using the story bank and anniversary materials, The History Factory was able to address another challenge for Whirlpool: its onboarding process. With companies and affiliates around the world, conveying a sense of the identity and culture could be difficult. Now armed with a more global story, Whirlpool turned to The History Factory to help create an online training module that could convey its culture, as well as its heritage, to new employees worldwide. The format and content helped new hires quickly learn more about the brand in its global context, thus helping to onboard them more quickly, which met a major human resources need.