Ensuring that business communication is consistent and reaches all levels of the organisation can be challenging, particularly in large global teams. In response to the evolving needs of our workforce, Kindred has recently partnered with Workvivo to launch a new employee communication tool, Konnect.
We sat down with Eleanor Chambers, Internal Communications Manager at Kindred, to gain insights into this transformative change.
Hi, Ellie, let's start with you 😊
Tell us a little about your career journey and how you've seen internal communication evolve over the years. Has the rise of the hybrid workplace posed challenges in getting employees to actively engage with business communications?
My background in communications kickstarted with training from the U.K. Communications Fast Stream Scheme, where I saw first-hand the importance of having strategic internal communications in complex organisations. I think the Covid pandemic was a catalyst moment for internal communicators. Where we had perhaps seen pushback or a lack of awareness of the business-critical nature of internal communications, it was suddenly understood to be crucial in helping with the sudden shift to working from home and ensuring employees were kept updated and informed despite not being in physical office locations.
We have seen challenges in re-engaging employees since the pandemic. The working environment looks very different now, and we should not be looking to get things back to 'how they were before' but be working towards innovative ways to meet business demands and ensure employees are switched on and feel informed in this hybrid working world. This involves a lot of listening – and sometimes pivoting – to ensure the business objectives are properly understood and can be actioned by a workforce.
This change to a new communication platform is quite significant. What motivated this decision?
When I joined Kindred in August 2022, I did an internal communications audit to better understand our strengths and blind spots. The outcome showed that our previous intranet needed more fit for purpose and drove employees away from the platform. It's crucial for organisations, particularly global ones like Kindred, to have a strong platform for multi-way communications. This means employees can easily receive messages and updates from the CEO, other teams or departments and share updates or information. Well-functioning organisations tend to have good information flow to reduce siloed working and strong lines of communication between the C-suite, junior employees, and everyone in between.
Undertaking such a transformation must have involved careful planning. What steps did you take to ensure a successful launch?
Working with Workvivo was a pleasure. Once we had the go-ahead internally, we partnered with Workvivo. We worked closely with their project manager to deliver a structured and well-thought-through project plan. We have been thrilled with our partnership throughout the process. We were ahead of schedule every step of the way – which felt unusual for a project involving so many moving parts and teams!
One of the most important aspects to get right was involving people from across the organisation from day one; we needed to connect over 2000 employees worldwide successfully. It was imperative to work collaboratively and ensure the change communications were impactful to reduce the inevitable friction with moving from one platform to another.. Ensuring that we brought colleagues with us and that employees understood the 'why', as well as the 'when' and 'how' in our communications meant there was a lot of positivity and excitement generated in the run-up to the launch. This all really helped get our Workvivo platform off the ground.
Now that the platform is live and everyone at Kindred is Konnected, how do you anticipate it will enhance employee engagement, productivity, and overall performance?
Our employees submitted and ultimately voted on the name for our Workvivo platform, 'Konnect', which worked well in getting momentum and employee buy-in from the start. We have also built a great community of Konnect Champions, who received early in-depth training and whose testing and feedback helped shape the platform before we went live with the wider community. They're great advocates for Konnect and have been critical in ensuring colleagues feel excited and knowledgeable about the platform.
One of our objectives with Konnect is to support breaking down working siloes and ensure our employees are connected with work streams across the Group. The platform is set up so that both corporate and social updates hook a wide employee base in, and specific 'spaces' ensure high engagement for the content in those areas, as employees can choose which company or social spaces to belong to and share or consume information within. We have already seen how this has increased engagement and will help build the digital culture we want to see at Kindred. Success does not happen in isolation, and the improved cross-business communication we are already experiencing will absolutely help drive productivity, collaboration and innovation at Kindred.
You've been live for a few weeks; do you have some data or success stories you could share?
We are already seeing promising data for our new platform. We have achieved an 86 per cent onboarded rate in just two weeks since launch. (This means users that have logged into the platform, accepted terms and conditions and are actively using it). This indicates our employees are engaged and keen to stay informed and communicate with colleagues across the Group – the benchmark for comparable organisations is 68 per cent at the end of the first three months. Which is quite a remarkable achievement in comparison.
We have seen great content analytics, too, with the content reach far exceeding our previous platforms. A recent video posted by our CEO was watched by 61 per cent of our users in just 24 hours. It's great to know that key messages can be easily disseminated across the company and reach the people they need.
Thank you for these insights, Ellie!
As the hybrid workplace continues to shape the future of work, initiatives like these play a crucial role in ensuring a connected and empowered workforce. Kindred remains committed to fostering a culture of open communication and employee engagement.