After experiencing rapid growth through acquisition, Mattress Firm implemented Interact Software to create an easy-to-use, easy-to-maintain, collaborative intranet that fully meets the needs of their business, and allows two-way employee engagement.
“BEDPost has dramatically improved our processes here at Mattress Firm. Our users find it much easier to navigate the site and access the information they are looking for, and they are much more engaged in the content that is being shared. The site has improved the lines of communication between our corporate office employees and our sales team out in the field, which has further strengthened our company’s amazing culture.”
Tammy Friedeck, Communications Manager, Mattress Firm
A triage of intranet platforms
To deliver a unique and valuable shopping experience for all customers, retailers need to provide quality products, competitive pricing, and most importantly, knowledgeable, well-trained associates. Keeping dispersed employees informed and engaged with the direction, mission, and objectives of an organization can be a major challenge for many large companies, especially if those firms have grown quickly through acquisition.
This was the case for Mattress Firm, who had experienced rapid growth through the acquisition of regional mattress retailers. With this came an inheritance of three separate intranet platforms, each with its own share of valuable resources. All were maintained through the central communications department, who had the sole responsibility of uploading and managing content, and routing staff questions to various departments. However, each platform kept the individual business unit’s information separate, resulting in internal siloes that undermined the shared sense of culture and vision the organization was seeking.
Mattress Firm originally responded through the launch of a centralized SharePoint site, BEDPost, designed to become a hub for company information and culture building. However, employee feedback indicated that this SharePoint solution was failing to meet their needs. Frequent requests to “keep information on BEDpost up to date” indicated that the site was failing to provide current and relevant information. As a document management solution (DMS) at its core, the SharePoint site became a dumping ground for duplicated and outdated documents, with a challenging search function. Limited collaboration functionality also meant that none of the current intranet platforms allowed for teamwork or the building of a common culture.
According to Tammy Friedeck, Communications Manager at Mattress Firm, received feedback such as, “BEDpost is necessary and informative but is confusing to navigate”, and, “The BEDpost is not great at searching. Unless you keep all the old emails with links, information is very difficult to find.”
Creating a single source of the truth
As an organization comprised of over 10,000 employees and four corporate offices across the United States, the clear lack of communication between their three intranet platforms became a roadblock to success. Mattress Firm recognized the need to consolidate, outlining three goals for the new software:
- Improve the search functionality and offer a more intuitive user experience
- Provide employees with the ability to engage in two-way communication as well as share feedback
- Create a dynamic platform that makes it easy to load and maintain information
To address these communication and collaboration challenges, Mattress Firm turned to Interact’s intranet software to achieve its vision of a single, unified, company-wide solution that would bring together key resources, information, and people from all of its business units.
Creating a search-friendly, intuitive BEDPost
Frustrated with both their limited ability to modify navigation within the three different intranet portals and the poor search performance, the communications team at Mattress Firm made improved search and navigation a top priority for their new site.
With the help of Interact’s professional services team, Mattress Firm was able to create an easy-to-use navigation bar that was intuitive, easy to update, and included a well-defined area for search.
“The search function has been our biggest win. While using SharePoint, we often found that the search feature required too much maintenance and often didn’t return the results that our users were looking for.” Tammy says.
She adds “The positive comments we received after the launch of the new BEDpost often centered on the ease and accuracy of the search function, and over 300,000 searches were performed in the first six months. The added ‘Failure to Find’ feature allows us to see what pieces of content are missing, so our team can refine the way we are presenting content to our users.”
Creating and communicating a unified culture
Used as the homepage of all store computers, BEDPost needed to feature the most important company messages, provide a space for employees to engage with the organization, and help instill a collective sense of culture.
With the support of an intuitive and engaging homepage design, employees can now easily find, like or comment on featured news, via a scrolling carousel that pulls in top stories dynamically. They can also browse the “Latest news” for upcoming events, company updates, and successes.
The homepage is also used to feature ‘Affirmations’, a long-standing tradition at Mattress Firm and a big part of the culture. Employees use Affirmations to show appreciation for their colleges who helped them out.
Before implementing Interact, affirmations had to be individually reviewed and approved before being publicly displayed. Removing that aspect in the new BEDPost using Interact’s Forums feature has allowed affirmations to be given in real time, reducing the workload of site administrators who used to allocate time in their day for approvals. As an added benefit, Interact’s software allows other users to like and comment on posts, something their previous software did not. Staff can now quickly and easily congratulate colleagues on success, show appreciation to others, and share how much they enjoy working for Mattress Firm. Affirmations are displayed prominently on the homepage and have quickly become the most visited section of the site, with an average of five affirmations awarded daily. This real time two-way communication has resulted in a more engaged workforce that not only give affirmations, but also share in the excitement of congratulations given to others.
Collaborative idea sharing
Mattress Firm also use Interact’s Forums feature to encourage collaborative idea sharing. In BEDPost, they created the successful “Gr8 Ideas” discussion boards. Named after their “Replace every 8” campaign, which helped to educate their customers to replace their mattresses every 8 years, the Gr8 Ideas forum allows employees to submit ideas for everything from process and product improvements, to ‘how to’ advice and cheat sheets.
Tammy states, “The Gr8 Ideas forum has helped to initiate changes on our intranet, POS system, and company policies and procedures.” She adds, “The Gr8 Ideas forum is more proof that having a two-way feedback approach is essential to the success of not only Mattress Firm but to other companies. In the first six months of launch, we had more than 252 threads created and 8,556 visits to GR8 Ideas section.”
Dynamic, easy-to-maintain platform
On the original intranet sites, the communications team managed the loading and maintenance of all content, a resource-intensive process which often led to content becoming outdated and caused frustrations within the departments. When the development of the new site began, Mattress Firm decided to create a process-oriented approach that included individual departments and their information, content, and members. They immediately recognized the need for more hands to help manage the content, migrate content from the original platforms, and build out the new intranet.
Twelve new content managers were designated to do just that. As a result, these content managers felt ownership for their individual department areas and continue to keep content accurate through Interact’s easy-to-use software.
By fostering this easy collaboration method, the intranet helps to eliminate unnecessary labor, delivering time savings and increased productivity for employees across the business. Since the launch, departments who did not initially use BEDPost have approached the team asking, “How can we get on BEDpost?”
“The new BEDpost intranet has dramatically improved our processes here at Mattress Firm,” says Tammy.
“Within the first six months of launch, we made great strides in meeting our goals. The site has improved the lines of communication between our corporate office employees and our sales team out in the field, which has further strengthened our company’s amazing culture.”
Launching for success
The sales team used the original SharePoint site daily, but engagement from front-line staff across the organization’s 3,500 stores was limited. Mattress Firm wanted to see the success of the new BEDPost go company-wide. They knew that a successful launch, with both awareness and training, was imperative for success.
Communication about the new and improved BEDPost started a couple weeks prior to launch. Mattress Firm generated excitement by incorporating teasers like “exciting announcement coming soon” throughout the standard communication channels. One week prior to launch the announcement was released, with following communications highlighting key features of BEDPost that addressed the pain points of the previous platforms.
A launch party was thrown at the corporate office, complete with T-shirts worn by the CEO and project team. During the party, the communications team walked their employees through the site, and showed them how to perform essential tasks like updating their profile.
The BEDPost project was an immediate success. “Almost immediately after the launch of the new BEDpost, we received overwhelmingly positive feedback from our employees,” says Tammy. Some of those comments included:
“The improvements made to the BEDpost have been terrific!”
“Awesome work on BEDpost! I think this will help our sales force tremendously, very easy to navigate and very easy to find information.”
“Love the new look of the BEDpost! Great job. #bedpost2.0”
“Having a way to interact with your work family from all across the United States is a great way to stay connect and help each other out as well. I think it’s wonderful!”
“The search tool on the BEDpost is AMAZING!”
“While feedback was a great testament to the success of our launch, the statistics we saw in the first few months of go live also speak volumes. In the first six months of BEDpost going live, we had almost 2.5 million visits, 76% of employees utilized the search feature, and there were 160 new forum threads created.”
Tammy Friedeck, Communications Manager, Mattress Firm