Insider insights: How Samuel's intranet served as the impetus for an agile culture

Less than one year ago, leading metals and industrial products manufacturer, Samuel, Son & Co. Ltd, turned to Unily to launch a modern intranet that would underpin the enterprise’s transition to an agile culture. The debut of The Torch, the enterprise’s new platform, has supported the organization through a period of expansion and empowered all 6,500 employees to raise their voice.

Responding quickly to changing circumstances has risen to the top of every enterprise's priority list, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. An agile mindset can empower workforces to rapidly evolve, as Samuel's story of cultural transformation exemplifies. 

The dawn of a new cultural era

The seeds of change were planted when Colin Osborne took on the role of President & CEO in August of 2019. In the month that followed, a revolutionary 3-year strategic plan was devised, with a key focus on transitioning to an agile culture.

Communications Manager Anna Hawkins defines Samuel’s approach to agile culture as, “The ability to respond quickly to changes, both internally and externally, while sustaining growth.” Since the launch of the enterprise’s new strategic plan, this mindset has guided Samuel’s business decisions, investments, communications, and operations on a daily basis.


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Opening lines of communication to all

To support an agile culture, Samuel emphasizes two-way communications throughout the organization, a marked change from the enterprise’s prior approach, which focused on top-down communications from senior leadership.

By encouraging two-way communications, every worker feels empowered to play an active role in shaping the future of Samuel. This strategy is correlated with a host of enterprise-wide benefits; research from McKinsey finds that agile organizations achieve greater customer centricity, higher revenue growth, and a more engaged workforce

Screenshot of Samuel's modern intranet homepage

The building blocks for an agile culture

Shifting from a more traditional, fixed culture to one with a fluid outlook required more than just a change in perspective. To facilitate two-way communications and enterprise-wide engagement, leaders at Samuel identified the need for next-generation technology that would arm employees with the tools and knowledge necessary to become active participants in corporate culture.

The Torch was designed to serve as the crown jewel within these technological offerings by bundling together essential tools, providing employees with multiple mediums for collaboration and communication, and leveling up digital experience across the board. Some of the features that would prove vital to The Torch’s success are:

#1. Video content

Samuel wished to open the door to its monthly leadership calls, which had previously been restricted to 150 of the enterprise’s senior-most employees. To open the discussion to all, videos of these meetings are now published on The Torch so that employees can stay updated and share their input. The page where these videos are hosted also includes forms for employees to submit ideas for future calls, ask questions about things they require more clarity on, and rate how helpful they find the calls overall.

Screenshot of Samuel's leadership huddle videos on the intranet

#2. A mobile responsive application

Mobile responsive functionality empowers all employees to access The Torch, whether they are on-site or sitting at their desk. Native applications enable users to connect constantly through their device of choice. Samuel even launched a branded app to make the user experience more personal.

#3. Feedback mechanisms

Employee input plays a crucial role in supporting an agile culture by shaping the future of the enterprise in real time. Polls and quizzes are disseminated to monitor sentiment and encourage everyone to weigh in.

#4. Multi-lingual capabilities

Seamless translation eliminates language as a barrier, a pain point that is common within many global enterprises. The Torch ensures content is available in English, Spanish, and French to provide an optimized experience for all users.

#5. Social networking functionality

To drive two-way communications and facilitate authentic dialogue, advanced social networking abilities are essential. Users can comment on all content published on The Torch and connect with colleagues across the organization.

#6. Rich internal comms

Samuel’s internal communications team devised a content calendar with new stories added daily for a fresh feel. Content creators can utilize their Broadcast Center housed within The Torch to efficiently design trackable newsletters and announcements and analyze readership through built-in analytics.

#7. A single pane of glass experience

To maximize performance and fuel inspired work, Samuel took every effort to streamline navigation processes and centralize crucial resources. By including quick links on the homepage, employees can seamlessly access third-party apps and tools including Oracle and ServiceNow

Screenshot of Samuel's personalized intranet homepage

The results: glowing testimonials and sky-high metrics

Samuel’s shift to an agile culture has revolutionized employee engagement and accelerated organizational performance. By design, agile culture is meant to pave the way for constant evolution and improvement. The Torch has played a monumental role in turning Samuel’s cultural vision into a reality.
Being able to watch the monthly leadership huddles and having access to information updated frequently on The Torch is not only changing the way we operate but how we think. There’s been an infusion of positive energy throughout the organization and it continues to grow stronger.”
Daniela Todaro, Sales Manager, Samuel

In addition to positive employee testimonials, the stats surrounding The Torch truly speak for themselves. Several metrics can be analyzed to illustrate the widespread impact of the platform on employee engagement efforts at large. Pageviews are one example of improved participation throughout the enterprise: during the month of February 2020, blog content on The Torch received more than 151k pageviews. This figure is nearly double the amount of views blog content received prior to launching the platform, as averages from 2018 hovered around 80k monthly pageviews.

Initiate cultural change by implementing a modern intranet

Next-generation technology and a strategic approach have worked hand-in-hand to fuel Samuel’s agile culture initiative. If you are interested in launching a bespoke modern intranet to empower cultural change within your organization, get in touch with our digital workplace experts.

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