How to unify your workforce during turbulent times with internal communications: 4 key takeaways

The pandemic has been a turbulent time for many organizations, with employee engagement taking a big hit as everything shifted to remote working. Internal communications and the intranet have become more important than ever as a means of keeping the enterprise connected during unsettling circumstances. With that in mind, we invited one of our clients, financial technology company Diebold Nixdorf, to join us for an hour-long webinar with internal communications partner Ragan Communications, where they explained how they leveraged their intranet to unify their workforce during turbulent times. Here are the 4 key takeaways from the session.

Employee communicating with colleagues using an internal communications intranet platform

How to unify your workforce during turbulent times with internal communications

Diebold Nixdorf had a real need to connect with employees but were challenged with three separate intranets after an acquisition. In the midst of a pandemic they created a new intranet that has become the foundation for informing and engaging a 22,000+ global workforce. Find out how they leverage their intranet to unify the organization, improve employee connections, and create a positive, thriving culture.

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Connecting your employees with an intranet

Leanora Griffin, VP of Global Internal Communications & CSR, and Billy Auer, Senior Manager of Digital Content Strategy & Operations from Diebold Nixdorf joined by Matthew Boyd, Unily’s Product Evangelist, and Amanda Jorgensen, Strategic Program Manager from Ragan Communications to discuss how they went from 3 disparate systems to one single source of truth that brought their people together across the globe.

An employee experience platform is a central component for any large enterprise, but when your workforce goes through changes as dramatic as an acquisition, the intranet can go from being a key consideration to the very backbone of your organization. How do you bring together different company cultures, platforms, and ultimately, ways of working, to create one single, unified workforce?

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As leaders reimagine their world of work, it is internal communications that will lead the way in aligning the workforce against this vision. Future corporate communication strategies will be decidedly inclusive, agile, and digitalized. To succeed in this new era, internal communications teams will move towards an omnichannel approach that brings the consumer experience into the workplace.

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4 key takeaways to unifying your workforce through internal communications

The hour-long webinar was full of interesting insights, detailing the journey that one of the biggest financial technology companies in the world went on to bring their employees together through internal communications, having come from the brink of bankruptcy to become the thriving organization that it is today. Here are the key takeaways from the session:

#1 Break down technology silos

Research has shown that a lack of effective technology is a key cause of poor productivity and performance. The importance of having technology, particularly as a means of communicating with your employees, is only rising as the workplace adapts to new hybrid and work-from-anywhere models. It’s easy to get bogged down with different platforms for different teams, and when the technology ends up siloed, it can cause a sense of disconnection between employees.

"We weren’t digitally enabled at all and were a very matrixed organization with too much in terms of push comms and not enough pull. We created a 3rd system after the acquisition to bridge the gap, but this created a new set of challenges that simply hindered our success."

Leanora Griffin - VP of Global Internal Communications & CSR at Diebold Nixdorf

Diebold Nixdorf created a new intranet to try and unify their employees, but while the legacy intranets were still in place, the result was disorganized and saw things being operated in a very manual way. Deciding to tackle the issue head on, the decision was made to create a brand new platform to replace the 3 disparate systems.

"We had 22k pages of content in French, German and English, with unknown admins for all this content, and we also had so much information that we needed to communicate out to the organization. It was the start of a multi-year transformation project, which began with understanding what ground rules we needed for a new site."

Billy Auer - Senior Manager of Digital Content Strategy & Operations at Diebold Nixdorf

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Discover the power of a mobile intranet

2.7 billion people work away from a desk. That’s 80% of the global working population. These employees need more from their organizations, from their technology, and from the employee experience. This in-depth guide details everything your enterprise needs to deliver a consumer-grade mobile experience that connects and engages everyone from head office to frontline.

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#2 Create a strategy for success

The move to a new employee experience platform is a large task, but when you’re blending 3 separate systems into one all-encompassing solution, getting your strategy watertight from the beginning is essential. Putting the needs of your employees first and remembering why you made the decision to implement a new intranet needs to remain at the forefront throughout the process.

"We had this ‘aha’ moment when we realized that we didn't want an intranet that looked like what we already had; we wanted an intranet that we wanted. The initial thinking was around how we lift and shift 8 years’ worth of content onto the new platform, and then it dawned on us that we needed to scrap that idea and start with a blank canvas."

Leanora Griffin - VP of Global Internal Communications & CSR at Diebold Nixdorf

The strategy will naturally develop over time, but keeping the initial goals in mind will help to ensure the project progresses in the right direction. Implementing a new intranet to unify the workforce was the original goal for Diebold Nixdorf, and they ensured that the team of people who were involved in working on the previous intranet were given the role of content ambassadors during the process of developing the new one.

"We needed to design the intranet around our needs, so we set up guiding principles for launch and made sure that all the people who were part of the ecosystem knew where they could contribute and collaborate. We’d been dependent on 1 person to manage the old system, so we ensured we moved away from that with the new platform."

Billy Auer - Senior Manager of Digital Content Strategy & Operations at Diebold Nixdorf

#3 Encourage two-way comms across the organization

Two-way communication is essential to unify your employees, particularly when your enterprise is spread out across the world. During the global pandemic, the need to maintain comms with dispersed workforces reached new levels. An intranet can sit at the center of this communication and ensure that you can deliver key messages when you need to, but also give your employees the chance to interact with each other and senior staff as well.

"The Exchange is the hub for everything we have out there, while keeping everything together in one place. It gives users access to what they need, and the ‘Happening Now’ section keeps employees updated with the critical things. It also offers areas where users can engage together and we’ve built a community that inspires casual networking and employees coming together, which is great."

Billy Auer - Senior Manager of Digital Content Strategy & Operations at Diebold Nixdorf

"We have a separate section on the intranet that has higher security levels for our senior leadership. It’s proved to be really convenient from a comms perspective, particularly during the pandemic, as the senior leaders can access their own dedicated section of The Exchange which has everything they need while they’re working remotely."

Leanora Griffin - VP of Global Internal Communications & CSR at Diebold Nixdorf

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#4 Keep evolving your culture

The hard work doesn’t end when you launch your new intranet. You have to maintain the same momentum to ensure your workforce engages with the platform and continues to unify. Deepening the connections between your employees through internal communications is made easier when you leverage your intranet, as it becomes a place to build the culture you want for your organization.

"If I could describe the evolution of our company culture, it’s that we were in a transforming to survive mode. Almost all of our comms were related to business strategy, reorganization, and how we stay afloat. Since the launch of our intranet during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s brought us together as a company in ways we could never have imagined. The Exchange has become that coalescing place for people to come and see what’s going on, and honestly, our culture has truly transformed since the pandemic even began."

Leanora Griffin - VP of Global Internal Communications & CSR at Diebold Nixdorf
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