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An Anniversary Program Invites Participation and Energizes Employees

In 2010, the banking and credit card provider Discover had little in the way of formal historical records or archives—but as a young company, it still had direct access to its living history, stretching back to its inception. Discover’s anniversary represented a chance to engage staff, capture the Discover story, celebrate its heritage and ignite hope for a successful future.

History Factory conducted a number of story-gathering sessions with Discover employees. We also conducted one-on-one interviews conducted with past and present senior executives—including the company’s first president. These sessions and interviews helped to identify key themes and stories that appeared throughout the anniversary and were used in a variety of tactics. An internal employee engagement website served as a hub for anniversary-related initiatives. At year-end, the website was repurposed to serve as a heritage portal. As a thank-you to employees, we also produced a publication that captured personal stories and celebrated the people who made Discover’s success possible.

The Discover 25th anniversary program was a resounding success in execution and employee engagement. Employee participation in anniversary events and projects was 82%. Overall employee engagement scores rose significantly, from 4.15 to 4.23, and Discover is now in the 69th percentile of all companies surveyed by Gallup. Most importantly, 88% of those surveyed felt the anniversary recaptured the spark and spirit that existed at Discover’s inception.