Creating Wonders Out Of Connectivity
Launching Workplace at Strauss Group
It began just over a year ago, as most organizational processes do, with a problem. A pretty big one, to be frank. One that, for a long time, we tried to bypass with many different solutions. But none of them really resulted in a breakthrough. The challenge was to transform our organization, a leading Israeli-based, publicly traded multinational food and beverage company, with over fourteen thousand employees across over twenty countries, the majority of them being non-computer users – into an organization that conducts strategic and consistent two-way communication with its employees and enables the creation of professional collaboration communities.
What were we doing until that point, you might wonder?!
Well, we were doing a lot of talking, and writing, and explaining, and delivering messages, and some more messages, and then some. All along, we thought we had the right formula. Our employees’ surveys showed they were highly engaged, however, we knew something wasn’t quite there. That something was the voice of our employees, that has always been there and we were always listening to, but it wasn’t reaching far enough.
That is when we set out on a journey, to transform our organizational culture. Yes, it was as much as that. It wasn’t a search for a technological tool, nor was it a search for a technical platform. It was about laying the foundation and setting the right organizational atmosphere for a deep cultural change, that in many eyes, was considered impossible, at the time. So many different roles, languages, backgrounds, cultures. How are we going to connect everyone together when the majority do not have emails? While not risking the company?
No doubt, the project team had a lot of skepticism to deal with…Nevertheless…
The decision to finally work with Workplace by Facebook was taken a little under a year before we actually launched. It was obvious to the team, comprised of internal comm, HR and IT representatives, that we needed some highly collaborative, user-friendly and relatively easy to roll out. EASY was a bit stretched definition to the process that awaited us in the coming year. It took time, but eventually, senior level management as well as focus groups we held across the entire organization, all realized that this solution has the potential to really revolutionize our organizational culture, and bring about communication that is more a dialogue than a one-way street.
It wasn’t without fear and uncertainty that we embarked on this journey and launched Workplace a little under a month ago, to the first 5,000 employees, and so far, so good! Over 100 new professional groups launched with over 30% accounts claimed, and still going. We are entering a new way of communicating between ourselves, based on communities, either professional or issue based, and most importantly – every employee has a voice. In that sense, the creation of organizational content has become the responsibility of everyone, not just that corporate communication unit. We are seeing new, relevant and fresh content, by surprisingly creative people in our company. People reporting about their fields of expertise, whether it is about interesting data and research, new products and the stories behind them, the process of building the new visitors center as well as internal events and benefits announcements – all have better traction and echo.
We still have a long way to go but we can definitely see the amazing potential for bringing people together, for fostering collaboration, for promoting cross-organizational knowledge transfer as well as for sharing the cultural and social atmosphere at Strauss.
At Strauss, we call it creating wonders out of basics, or in this case, creating wonders out of connectivity.
This is just the beginning.