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It’s a big question. How do you make new technologies stick in companies and industries not widely renowned for the adoption of modern tooling? Is it more training? Better software? Leadership buy-in?
There are certainly occasions when all of those are relevant, but some organizations could be over-thinking technology introduction and adoption. Choosing platforms that suit the workforce and are fun to use could be the most impactful drivers of adoption, according to Zoe Watts, commercial director for London catering firm Vacherin.
Speaking at the recent Smile Expo in London, Watts explained that Vacherin employees 570 employees across 45 contract venues–such as ITV, events venues and fashion labels–with a workforce that covers almost 50 countries. The 45 sites range from three to 70 employees in size, with no two contracts the same.
Transforming old fashioned communications
“We carry out an annual survey each year, and staff told us they were more or less getting the necessary information about their roles, but they wanted to know much more about what other venues and employees were doing.
“We were very archaic in our comms, sending email newsletters that were formulaic and had a very low open rate.”
Given that the workforce consists of many chefs, waiters, baristas and front of house employees with no computer access, it was essential for Vacherin to find a solution that was mobile as well as very visual to appeal to all those nationalities.
“We wanted a platform that was user-friendly and not too complex to either use or to run,” explains Watts. The perception of simple functionality is more important to employees than most companies realize. While rolling out the latest tech tools can look impressive, most employees crave a relevant newsfeed and easy chat functionality more than any other features.
Introducing a Branded Communications App
Those requirements led to Vacherin implementing a branded version of Speakap earlier in 2019. “We called it VachChat. We wanted an app that looks like our own brand. Our app on someone else’s leading technology.”
If the user-friendly functionality and mobile experience helped introduce VachChat, it’s the fun had on VachChat that has made it ‘sticky.’
“We are a fun company; fun is one of our core values. When our employees show that fun on VachChat, the personality of the brand shines through.”
How do employees have fun on the internal communications platform?
“Our staff love sharing pictures of the food that they’ve created. It’s been amazing to see that passion. Passion for salads, cakes, recipes, and ingredients.”
That passion for ingredients has had some unexpected upshots. Some chefs share leftover ingredients to ensure that nothing goes to waste. A few Vacherin employees are keen foragers, and they share their considerable herb hauls through VachChat too.
“We’ve used the Events function to promote training sessions or our cooking or barista competitions, which are hugely popular. However, it’s also great when we use VachChat for recognition. For example, we post pictures of our employee of the quarter, or celebrate staff anniversaries.”
Although aimed squarely at improving communication amongst the mainly non-desk employees at Vacherin, Watts says that other team members have embraced using VachChat.
“Our CEO also uses VachChat actively now. Our executive committee has found its voice on there in a way that they’ve never been comfortable doing on external channels. And VachChat has connected our desk-based head office staff with what happens on the ground at our locations. It makes them feel much more connected to the business.”
Find a tool that employees love to use? Check!
Encourage them to share great content and have fun on the platform? Check!
What about the results?
“In the first two months, we saw 75% adoption with an average of 5.7 check-ins per day. The next step is to get more strategic and find out why that 25 % hasn’t logged in or if we can help them sign up to VachChat.”