Thanks to the wonders of technology, employees are able to work from anywhere and anytime zone. But with staff scattered across the globe, collaboration and communication become a significant hurdle.
We are all aware of the many benefits to remote working – flexibility, work-life balance, etc. However, when your employees are all operating from different locations around the world, there are fewer opportunities to connect them with their peers, keep them engaged and provide visibility to your business direction.
According to Gallup, 43% of Us workers already work remotely to some degree. However, 85% of non-desk employees say the communication they receive on-the-job is not enough (StaffBase).To address the needs of every single member of your staff, a winning offline worker strategy is imperative.
An offline strategy that prioritizes offline and hard to reach employees must:
- Determine employee needs, channels, and options for accessing information.
- give a personalized, tailored onboarding experience
- Have Mobile-optimized versions of corporate intranets, websites, or applications
- Encourage relationships with management and peers
For a company to succeed, it must be able to reach out to individuals at every level.
An award-winning offline worker strategy
Our 2019 Interact Excellence Awards honors some of the most communication and collaboration driven intranets in our award category: The Best Offline Worker Strategy.
The Best Offline Worker Strategy award recognizes those businesses who have created innovative campaigns to overcome the barriers of distance and time and engage their hard-to-reach staff.
Out of this year’s contestants, the finalists were:
- Best Intranet Design winner:Magic Memories,Click
- Best Intranet Design Runner-up:Acadian Companies, Acadian Central
- Best Intranet Design Runner-up:The International Rescue Committee, RescueNet
These intranets successfully set up channels to connect hard to reach employees and nurture a culture of transparency and communication within their organizations. Here’s how:
For Magic Memories, an organization that views its people as the secret to its success, the desire to connect their global staff was only natural.
Specializing in snapping pictures at attractions around the world and capturing memories, Magic Memories has enjoyed rapid growth in recent years. After acquiring a US company in 2016, the organization grew by almost 50% to over 2,500 members of staff.
Their hugely diverse workforce ranged across countries including Dubai, Spain, UK & Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, and North America & Canada. The majority of staff work on-site at attractions, limited to no access to company technology to connect to the intranet or learning tools
The team discovered only 40% of employees could access the old intranet due to restrictions stopping it being mobile friendly. To make things worse, just 10% of employees were accessing the Learning Management System, which cost the organization over £50,000 a year.A change was due.
After selecting Interact as their partner to deliver on a new platform and vision for its workforce, “Click” successfully launched in 2017.
Magic Memories adopted a phased approach to roll out features gradually. They developed a global homepage and regional areas within the intranet to provide tailored information relating to individual areas and roles.
Front line workers have made a spike in engagement levels since the creation of My Magic Story’: a popular monthly interview of a member of staff, bringing human interest and breaking down the pre-existing silos between the different regions of the business.
Click is now used to centralize information, news, feedback, and training and create a single source of truth across every venue.
An award-winning offline worker strategy
By building Click around staff demands and focusing on user experience, Magic Memories created a single point of access for their hard to reach workforce. The result was a mobile-friendly, user-focused platform that can be accessed from anywhere.
Content is updatedregularly, and new features continue to rollout, maintaining staff interest. The highly visual look and feel, which translates across every device, engages those on the front-line.
They took staff engagement one step further with by utilizing Team pages, to create a Virtual Learning College (VLC) for Magic Memories’ global leadership program. Combining the use of video, uploaded resources, discussion forums and more, this program benefits offline workers by providing a valuable source of distance learning.
By integrating learning and development through the use of Interact as a VLC, Magic Memories was also able to retire its pre-existing Learning Management System (LMS): an additional saving in excess of £50,000 annually. 60% of those completing the Global Leadership Program on Click have been placed in a senior role within six months.
See more about the way Click has transformed how traditionally hard-to-reach workers engage with the organization here.
Headquartered in Lafayette, Louisiana, Acadian Companies has grown to be recognized as the largest and most respected privately held medical transportation company in the country. This company has more than 4,300 employees dispersed throughout the United States since being established as a small ambulance service in 1971,
After initially launching its new intranet in April 2017, social features and improved accessibility have been reported by its users.
However, despite improvements, the team received feedback that the new site was too cluttered, social and presenting difficulties when trying to find information. Despite efforts to serve the different divisions, many felt it wasbuilt for only one audience.
“We hadn’t taken advantage of Interact’s dynamic ability to target specific audiences. We hadn’t explored all of the tools at our disposal. And because of that, we quickly realized we were alienating large pockets of our workforce.” – Beth Chiasson, Intranet & Digital Marketing Strategist, Acadian Companies.
The Intranet team took some different approaches to improving Acadian Central, including:
- Setting up keyword-rich titles for all content to improve findability
- Introducing Best Bets to prioritize popular pages
- A redesign of the theme
- Removing excess social features
- Removed hundreds of duplicate and unnecessary pages
- And more
However, the lack of optimization for each employee presented the greatest challenge. To meet this need, the team created customized homepages for each division – pushing tailored and relevant content and news.
An award-winning offline worker strategy
With various staff who are disconnected from the central organization, the clear focus on customized experiences of the intranet is what sets Acadian Central apart.
Their remote, off-shore safety employees are often isolated and geographically dispersed. To meet their needs, homepages were heavily branded for the division, adding simple graphics and information the staff was used to receiving through other channels.
To build even stronger bonds with offline staff members, the team added Employee Spotlights. This not only showcased the great work of individual employees but also helped them each get to know one another: counteracting their disconnect.
Since making these changes in mid-2018, Acadian has seen a 550% increase in views of the division homepage, with users now spending one-and-a-half minutes more on the page each session than they did before the changes. This shows more safety employees are spending more time viewing and engaging with content.
“To me, this approach is a better way to introduce and foster the more social aspects of our intranet – people love to share in the pride and happiness of their fellow employees.” – Beth Chiasson, Intranet and Digital Marketing Strategist.
The International Rescue Committee
For an organization with the goal of saving as many people as possible, IRC’s employees are tasked with supporting the needs of individuals scattered across the globe. Because of this diverse and dispersed form of work, staff members in IRC do not work in traditional methods. In fact, many of them do not even have a desk, leaving them cut off, and out of communication with their peers and organization. Thankfully, IRC’s creative, user-centric offline strategy found a way to close the gap in their workforce using their intranet, RescueNet.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster and possess 11,000 staff in more than 40 countries.
The diverse employee base and global nature of the work done by the IRC presents many challenges.
Staff working for the organization speak 19 different languages and fall into the category of non-desk worker as their day jobs involve constant travel or on-the-ground work in refugee camps.Some locations also experience low bandwidth and accessibility issues.
It was clear the pre-existing intranet platform was failing to meet their needs.— for those offline and hard-to-reach staff in particular,
The team undertook a global content audit, seeking feedback from every department to help define user-centric navigation. The intranet was launched as a pilot to 427 staff from 26 departments and 91 locations.
The pilot survey results saw the number of staff who would recommend the site to a colleague increase from 30% for the old site, to 86% for the new RescueNet.
An award-winning strategy for offline workers
The IRC’s inclusive approach to the design and delivery of RescueNet demonstrates a commitment to connecting staff, regardless of their language, location or device.
They used a research, test and measurement approach to the implementation.This was accompanied by internet bandwidth projects and the first global engagement survey. Features like these have given offline or hard-to-reach workers better access to the tools they need to serve clients and do their jobs.
TO support the language barrier between offline staff, Google Translate was incorporated. A team can write in their native language and still share their story – solving their language divide. RescueNet is unearthing inspiring stories that demonstrate the passion of its employees.
Now fully launched analytics show increased engagement almost every month since launch.
The enhanced connections between staff due to these enhanced offline worker strategies have led to a breakdown of silos between departments. Incorporating more remote abilities and a tailored employee experience has led to great success.
Congrats to all our finalists for the Best Offline Worker Strategy. For a closer look at the overwhelming success of all of our finalists, download our “Intranet ExcellenceAward Annual” available here.