Wednesday, 16 March 2016
General Manager & Executive Director Kurtis Andrews had initially spied the opportunity while at a cafe, when his attention kept being diverted from his meeting to the TV on the wall, flashing the latest headlines from stuff.co.nz. “I quickly realised that if it had that effect on me, it could do the same for our staff, making communicating with them far easier,” Kurtis says.
The commercial vehicle and truck supplier previously relied on newsletters and noticeboards to communicate with the 110 staff at these four locations. Now the company’s general notices, HR and Health & Safety alerts flash up on screens in the lunchrooms, an area where every staff member is guaranteed to go at least twice a day, says Kurtis.
“For us it’s solved a big problem: how do you communicate something to 100-odd staff? I would absolutely say there has been a lift in staff engagement from it”, Kurtis says.
The company’s HR and Health & Safety Coordinator, Annette Hayes, says the technology makes her job a lot easier.
“Normally if I have a notice I have to email everyone or take the time to design something, like a monthly H&S poster, and distribute them to be hung on noticeboards. Now I can just put them up on the screen - it’s definitely faster,” she reports.
The employees’ reaction to the Digital Communications Channel was positive right off the bat, with lots of comments made about Keith Andrews being in the technology age and up with the times. Employees were impressed by the amount of information streaming on it and it’s become something to keep an eye on in the lunch room.
As well as the content supplied by Labyrinth, such as news updates, weather reports, sports reports and car titbits, Keith Andrews uses the channel to communicate important HR and Health & safety messages. Annette loaded 50 Health & Safety messages, which flash up randomly throughout the week, as well as current vacancies in the company, notices about admin such as payroll or annual leave or staff accounts, plus calls for employees who want flu vaccinations.
“When you go to get a coffee or a glass of water, you’ll always have a look and see something new,” says Annette.
The team at Labyrinth created a tool that allows the Keith Andrews Digital Communications Channel to show their Lost-time Injury Rate in real time. Their screens show this figure for both their Whangarei and Auckland sites, creating a bit of an inter-branch rivalry on who can keep it up.
There’s also the lighter messages that work towards better employee engagement and workplace relations, such as notices introducing members of the team in each branch so that people learn who their workmates are and what they look like, even if they’re in another branch of the business. They’ve also created a hashtag on photo-sharing site, Instagram, so employees can tag their photos from their weekend or day on the job and share them across the branches, for an insight into how their colleagues are spending their free time.
Keith Andrews Trucks also has a screen in their Auckland customers’ lounge and using it to talk to customers is their next focus. It currently plays streaming news content from Labyrinth, plus a few ads - but it’s already huge step up from the daytime TV the TV used to screen, says Kurtis.
"Communicating to a bigger company is difficult and this is a new way to streamline that and bring communication into the digital age. Vaughan’s ahead of his time with this product. It’s been a good experience for us.' says Kurtis
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