“There’s no question this was a smart investment because of the impact it has made on company culture.”
Challenge: Connecting employees across 6 states, 70 stores and headquarters Company: Connect Wireless Business: AT&T mobile phones, services and smart home systems Employees: Nearly 300 employees across 70 locations in the USA Interviewees: Graham Taylor, IT Administrator and Michelle Winn, Operations Manager Core Needs: Security, mobility, communications and a library
Deb: Tell me a little bit about internal communications and why it matters to Connect Wireless? What were you guys trying to achieve here?
Michelle: What we wanted to accomplish was a company culture. Because had so many different locations, different states, we wanted to bring everybody together and create a company-wide entity and team and culture. And so we needed a new kind of communication, beyond email.
We wanted to make it a little more friendly, a little more social for the age group that most of our employees are in, as well as making a one-stop shop for information, documentation, updates, celebrations, things like that.
Deb: You have a younger workforce, is that right?
Michelle: Yes. We have a younger workforce and we want to be able to connect them. We want to support positive morale, teamwork, attitude, connection, just being made aware of what’s going on so you feel like you're part of a bigger picture.
I mean we all want to be connected obviously. That's why cell phones are so important and Facebook and social media and all of that. Especially with this age group.
Graham: What we were doing before was very fragmented. We had a SharePoint server that basically was functioning as a rudimentary document repository. It was very rudimentary, very difficult to navigate - I'm sure you guys have all seen SharePoint, and really it didn't accomplish what we were trying to accomplish. We had been using that for several years, and we knew it was time to move forward.
We were also finding in the field that there were a number of different modes of market-wide communication being utilized, but not everybody was on the same page. We had some managers communicating with GroupMe, and a number of other things that not only were fragmented, they were also difficult to monitor, manage, and secure. We wanted a platform that we could manage at a corporate level yet still have that friendly feel for open communication on an individual level.
We wanted a platform that we could manage at a corporate level yet still have that friendly feel for open communication on an individual level.
Deb: And I'm guessing that for a wireless company, mobile was kind of important to you?
Deb: And so what was the before and after on that?
Graham: Well, the before was fragmented communication, and the after is the more unified communication. We wanted something that was easy to use, easy to deploy across locations, simple to learn for everyone, and we didn’t want to commit any more on-site resources to it - Jostle is all of those.
We wanted something that was easy to use, easy to deploy across locations, simple to learn for everyone, and we didn’t want to commit any more on-site resources to it. - Jostle is all of those.
Deb: You said security was important to you as well.
Graham: And yes, security was very important to us. Being able to manage security levels, pull people out real quick, put them in real quick, having certain members of management be able to pull posts down if- Because you know when conversations start happening, in a social stream, sometimes people slip something off of the cuff real quick that really isn't appropriate. We've had very, very little problem with that, but the ability to manage it was really important.
Deb: Yeah, in general, people want to be good citizens. What did the business need from the intranet?
Michelle: The business wanted a better path to making sure the important things reach people in a positive way and not just in a mess of email. We wanted a one-stop spot for documentation, training, and go-to information.
We’ve got our HR forms on there, operational procedures, our point of sale training decks, and things like that. We wanted people to be more receptive to training and communication and make it much easier for them to find what they need to be better managers or sales reps.
Deb: Was there anything you were worried about?
Graham: We were nervous about was how it was going to be received because this is completely different from anything we had ever done, and people resist change. This was a huge change. We had a few people say, "Well, what is this going to do to increase sales?" These were actually people in the field. The senior leadership was fired up about the potential.
This was a huge change. We had a few people say, "Well, what is this going to do to increase sales?" These were actually people in the field. The senior leadership was fired up about the potential.
Deb: You guys got to nearly 100% adoption in a very short time. How did you do that? Were any of those concerns validated? Did you have people who were just wasting time?
Michelle: I think that is has engaged people in more of a positive way than we ever thought. There really isn't anywhere to “play” on this.
If they're on this, people are either looking at the latest news story, which we hope is either motivating or they're learning something, or they're reading the shout-outs or the updates - who sold a “Digital Life” today. It creates a lot of competition and a lot of back and forth between stores and regions.
Graham: We’ve watched some of the conversations and seen some very constructive back and forth between markets. Digital Life is a huge push for AT&T, and quite frankly, it's a difficult product to sell. So that's been one message board which has been ongoing since almost day one where people share their experiences, share what worked, what hasn't worked in a very constructive manner.
Deb: What kind of feedback do you get from the field about this?
Graham: I don't hear a lot of feedback on Jostle. I just see a lot of people using it.
Deb: So did you see such vibrant participation right away when you first launched, or did it build over time?
Graham: It built over time.
Michelle: I think they've definitely seen the benefits and then it motivates them.
Graham: For whatever it's worth, our garbage internal email traffic has gone down at least 50%.
Michelle: I think it has really made a difference in people's minds on how valuable and how important company culture is and how much of an impact that does have, whether you use Jostle or something else. Its proven that it is valuable, and we were lucky enough to find you guys and Jostle. There’s no question this was a smart investment because of the impact it has made on company culture.