4 Top Companies Tell Their Own Transformational Stories
Last week, I was thrilled to host Coolr’s Internal Comms: Disrupted event in partnership with the PRCA.
More than 80 people took part in our sold-out conference at Facebook’s London HQ on Rathbone Square, with an amazing line-up of expert speakers from some of the top companies in their fields.
We talked shop.
We talked internal comms.
We talked about how new technology is creating new ways of connecting people – and how Workplace by Facebook is leading the charge in making that happen for thousands of businesses all over the world.
It was a hugely successful evening, and I’m proud to find myself involved with such a bright network of people: both those attending, and our panel of speakers.
But if you weren’t lucky enough to make it on the night, don’t fret:
I’ll be going through some of the best highlights with you right here.
So how are top companies like Soho House, Fremantle, Savills, and The LADbible Group changing their organisations through Workplace?
Here are a few of the most common themes that emerged at Internal Comms: Disrupted.
‘We needed a way to make face-to-face scalable’
Good businesses pride themselves on making real connections.
Their top executives know that a strong company culture comes from visibility: getting out to every location and meeting the people who really know what’s going on.
But as businesses grow, it becomes impossible to keep up:
‘We’ve got more than 3,000 people all over the country. And more than half of our workforce is on-site,’ said Katie Chang, the Divisional Communications Manager at Savills Property Management, one of the largest divisions of global real estate services provider, Savills plc.
‘It would take people like me weeks or even a month to do the rounds, just to squeeze in a 15-minute talk at every one of our locations. Workplace is definitely saving people time getting around offices.’
It’s a common problem – and it’s not just Savills who have had to find ways to overcome it.
‘We’ve always been a face-to-face business,’ said Peter Chipchase, Chief Comms and Strategy Officer at Soho House, a global group of private members’ clubs, restaurants and venues. ‘Just six months ago, we had 7,000 employees – and now it’s over 8,000.’
‘We realised that face-to-face wasn’t enough. What we needed was to create that same face-to-face culture, but in a scalable way.’
Since moving to Workplace, Soho House has been able to keep its important face-to-face culture without the conventional costs – like replacing many of their flights to physical meetings with Workplace’s integrated video conferencing.
‘Workplace was a total no-brainer,’ Peter told the room. ‘People are sharing, and there’s somewhere for everyone to know what’s going on. And because you pay per active user, you only pay for its success.’
‘You don’t know what you don’t know’
How do you get your tech teams thinking like a marketing team?
How do you make your marketing team understand what the tech guys need?
These are real problems faced by any company that’s big enough to have separate departments.
And when separate departments and teams aren’t talking to each other, it creates a division.
Not just a social division – but a division in their goals and objectives:
‘We had a Manchester office full of “keyboard warrior” types, and a London office that was more commercially minded,’ said Peter Heneghan, Head of Comms at The LADbible Group, one of the biggest social publishers on the planet.
‘And they just didn’t understand each other.’
‘The different teams didn’t understand how their work impacts the business in different ways. But with Workplace, the two teams talk regularly, and our employees instinctively get it. It’s bringing us all closer together, and helping us build our culture.’
But it’s not just about your teams understanding their work.
It’s also about your company understanding its internal comms as a whole.
You need to know what’s working – which strategies are failing, and exactly how many people are engaged.
And that’s something Peter Chipchase at Soho House had to learn the hard way:
‘Because of our face-to-face culture and our fast-paced business, there was an assumption that we were quite good at communicating,’ he told us.
‘We had an in-house magazine, online platforms, and email updates. But when we looked at our surveys, the feedback on internal comms was really bad.’
‘If people work for you, they do so because they care about the business. They want a voice, and we need to create better ways to do that. Workplace has changed our culture – the next stage is to enhance it.’
‘Employees instinctively get it’
If there’s one thing that everyone who was at the event can agree on, it’s this:
Workplace gets people talking.
It creates the most engagement, and it helps to bring everyone in a company closer together.
When a security guard at one of Savills’ properties posted on Workplace about a dog winning a customer service award, their Head of Property Management jumped in and joined the conversation.
When The LADbible Group started working with Smirnoff on a campaign around inclusivity and the LGBT community, their whole company pitched in with their ideas and input – from the creative teams right through to the finance teams.
And when TV production giants, Fremantle, get to work on their shows, their internal comms teams can pull together updates from every corner of their global company:
‘As a team, we’ve become more creative since we moved over to Workplace,’ said Emily Wilson, Corporate Communications Manager at Fremantle.
‘Instead of a press release, we work with the talent directly to record videos and give special shout-outs to our teams and employees to recognise their work. Our London offices are live-streaming across the world with Workplace Live – and our executives are keeping the whole company up to date, tagging people in their posts and selfies when they meet for their global gatherings.’
‘The comms team are now more curation than creation. We’re a part of every group in the company, pulling together interesting bits of information for a weekly round-up and “best of the month” posts.’
‘Workplace creates synergies within your business’
If you’ve been keeping up with our posts here at Coolr, you already know how important Workplace is for the future of any organisation.
And if you had a spot at Internal Comms: Disrupted, you’ll have heard it straight from the source.
We had a great time putting on our event – learning from speakers at the top of their fields, and getting valuable feedback from those who attended.
So if you missed out this time, and you’re interested in what Workplace can do, you can find out more by perusing our Coolr website (where you’ll also be able to check for any upcoming events in the future).
And if you’re still not sure if it’s the right platform for your business?
I’ll let Peter Chipchase say it better than I ever could:
Moving to Workplace is a total no-brainer.