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Sticking together: How Velcro Companies drove employee experience in a pandemic

Employee experience can be difficult to manage in the best of times, even more so in a pandemic. As enterprises prepare to return to a new normal, what lessons have we learned about driving employee experience in hard times that we can take forward into the workplace of the future? To answer this question, we unpack how Velcro Companies used innovative strategies to keep employees engaged in the face of disruption.

Velcro employee using their employee experience platform, The Loop

Velcro Companies supports employees with The Loop

Velcro Companies is the inventor of “hook and loop” and a renowned manufacturer of fasteners. With 26 locations spread around the globe, the company employs 3k+ people and serves customers in over 80 countries.

With an already globally dispersed workforce and large number of frontline workers, Velcro Companies required clear and effective communication in the best of times. So the twists and turns that the COVID-19 pandemic threw into play made for a demanding set of circumstances.

When the pandemic hit, Velcro Companies’ needed to take decisive action to assure employee safety and business continuity. While operators continued to work in the company’s manufacturing facilities, those in offices quickly transitioned to working remotely. To connect, communicate and collaborate from a distance became more important than ever, and Velcro Companies needed to adapt quickly to keep its workforce informed and engaged.

With operations spread all over the world, Velcro Companies needed to ensure staff were updated on the company's Coronavirus Response, safety protocols and daily situation reports during rapidly evolving circumstances. They relied on their employee experience intranet platform, The Loop, to provide a single source of truth for employees that could be regularly updated to cope with rapidly changing circumstances. The Loop offered a powerful two-way communication hub to reach, engage and connect employees with the information and support they needed.

Velcro employee experience intranet platform homepage

Responding to COVID-19

Velcro Companies set up their own COVID-19 Response site on The Loop and launched a new campaign to keep users connected across the organization as they adjusted to a new model of work. The site gives employees a go-to space for information, resources and support relating to the virus, including regular videos from Velcro Companies’ CEO, actions the company has taken and a 'latest updates' feed. The site also features an in-depth FAQ section where user-submitted questions are answered for all employees to see.

Offering guidance and support, this digital workplace helped connect colleagues and ease the transition as they acclimated to a world of work where direct personal interaction is limited. This site was also used to launch internal communications initiatives, such as their “meeting-free Wednesdays” that give staff distraction-free time to better concentrate at work.

Velcro employee experience intranet platform coronavirus page

Giving employees a voice

Amid the disruption and change brought on by COVID-19, Velcro Companies saw an opportunity to improve two-way communication across their enterprise and give everyone in the company a voice on The Loop. By connecting colleagues around the world, Velcro Companies unlocked the value in using Unily social tools to start conversations across the business that contribute to the organizational culture.

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With a renewed focus on the social element of the digital workplace, Velcro Companies launched a COVID-19 social channel to build connections in the absence of typical, in-person workplace interaction. To promote the company’s inclusive culture, Velcro Companies encouraged employees to share updates through the channel and introduced a bespoke ‘Celebrate!’ social reaction for users to recognize their colleagues’ positive achievements during difficult times.

Velcro Companies also used social features to gather feedback and ideas from employees throughout 2020. Using hashtags to collate posts, they set up a ‘COVID-19 Discussion and Idea Forum’ social channel. This helped employees feel that their voices were heard throughout the organization and were encouraged to share ideas that could have a positive impact on the business.

Velcro employee experience intranet platform leadership page

Driving engagement during a crisis

Recognizing the need for two-way communication across the organization during an unprecedented crisis, Velcro Companies saw Unily’s social features as a way of connecting and further immersing colleagues in The Loop. By enabling more of Unily’s social features — including additional bespoke reactions — Velcro Companies drastically increased user engagement with the platform.

With the launch of their dedicated COVID-19 Response site, targeted communications and insights from leadership, and their brand new COVID-19 social channel, The Loop saw a near 300% increase in social reactions to content in just one month. This month also saw social comments on content across the platform rise by 113%. While this was something of an early peak, Velcro Companies has maintained a high level of engagement with The Loop throughout 2020.

With a new social channel for conversations about the Coronavirus and a renewed focus on two-way communication, Velcro Companies has reaped the rewards of a lively social platform and highly engaged workforce.

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Key takeaways

What we can see from Velcro Companies’ approach to communicating and managing the COVID-19 pandemic is that using all the channels available to reach employees is key. Whether it’s with targeted content, social feeds or with dedicated sites, ensuring people are kept connected to your business and able to connect with each other, is what demonstrates that your intranet is and will be the tool of choice for managing the pandemic.

Effectively communicating with people ensures everyone is on the same page and connecting them to your organization builds a level of trust with your platform. That trust means that during times when employees need access to tools and communications the most, your intranet is a digital hub where everyone can work together.

Finally, the Velcro Companies' story shows that when you continue your focus on delivering engaging employee experiences, even in spite of difficult circumstances you protect your internal culture from a crisis. Culture is a powerful force in helping guide your employees through turbulent times and having it on their side throughout COVID-19 helped make a difference for Velcro Companies.

Struggling to drive engagement in the remote work era?

Truly connecting, engaging, and empowering employees from a distance is difficult. If you want more insight into how you can leverage the Unily platform to build a digital hub for your workforce, speak to an expert today.

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Reinvent your intranet for the employee experience era.

Any names and sensitive information related to Velcro Companies have been anonymized to protect privacy.

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