Magenta Living: Restoring employee engagement with an intranet upgrade (and a YETI)

YETI was created back in 2009 as the intranet for Magenta Living, the largest registered provider of affordable housing in Wirral. Before we launched we ran a staff competition to name our new intranet to create user buy-in and interest (it stands for Your Electronic access To Information). He is a brand, an entity, and even a cuddly toy! He is so popular that when we re-launched in June last year, we knew that the name would not change.

So why did we re-launch?

We attended Interaction Intranet Conference in 2013 and were blown away by the possibilities our intranet could give us. We came back to Magenta Living and told everyone the potential that a well managed intranet could provide us.

The situation back then

The situation was poor. YETI was poorly managed and employee engagement had dropped. YETI was described as ‘cluttered’ and staff had lost faith in it.

  • There were many duplicate documents, meaning it was difficult to find correct, relative and up-to-date information. In one month, 56 people had reported searching for a document and hadn’t been able to find anything
  • There were over 2,500 pages, over 130 of which were out of date
  • Only 39 members of our staff contributed to YETI, and there was not one single blog!
  • 1/3 of staff did not have access to YETI, meaning they relied on a 140 character text message to hear about company news. Of those that could access YETI, only 50% did so each month

We held a focus group to find out what staff wanted. It was decided that we needed to upgrade to the latest Interact version 7, with some objectives in mind:

  • All staff must have access to YETI
  • YETI was to be used (and seen to be used) by senior managers
  • Remove stigma that YETI is a waste of time and isn’t part of your job
  • YETI will be fully functional and up-to-date
  • A group of YETI Champions would be set up to monitor content
  • YETI will become a success story

Restoring employee engagement

After working hard for 4 months, the new and improved YETI launched in June 2015 and the project helped us to address all our issues.

We set up a group of YETI Champions to monitor content. We provided training and check in with them on a monthly basis to see if they need further support or guidance. We started with 20 Champions, but due to its popularity and requests from staff, we now have 51 Champions – we encourage staff to contribute and trust them with content (while monitoring it).

We make sure our YETI Champions stay on top of their documents. This has encouraged staff to take responsibility and pride in YETI. We currently have zero out-of-date documents, zero duplicate documents, and approximately 600 pages (a lot less than we used to have)!

The total number of blogs written has risen from zero in 2014 to 91 in July 2015. The use of forums has increased from nine threads in June 2014 to 55 in July 2015.

A few months after we upgraded, mobile YETI was launched. This means, finally, all Magenta Living staff can access YETI wherever, whenever. Over half of our staff who are technicians had never accessed YETI before. We encouraged staff to login on their work or personal mobiles, tablets or computers. Last year, technicians had old mobile phones which were not ‘smart’ enough to get online. The launch of mobile YETI has resulted in these staff getting a work Smartphone to ensure they can gain access.

In November 2014, two members of staff went to Nepal to carry out charity work on behalf of Magenta Living. By using mobile YETI, they were able to write regular blogs and upload pictures directly, and interact with staff back in the office.

More staff are now accessing YETI on a daily basis, including managers. From only 39 contributors in June 2014, now 165 members of staff contribute to YETI on a regular basis. The number of visits over a 2 month period has shot up from 22,289 to 31,630. Over 100 members of staff have a 100% completed profile and great Influence scores.

Magenta Living: Restoring employee engagement with an intranet upgrade (and a YETI) visit stats

Our CEO writes a weekly blog post which is displayed on the homepage for all staff to see. His contribution really makes a difference to how staff feel about using our intranet.

We created a Teams section to help reduce the number of internal emails being sent. This allows staff to privately share documents that only their team can see. It’s used by most teams and is extremely effective.

We also set up a Groups area, which works the same for selected group members. Here, sensitive information is privately shared amongst managers so they can discuss topics and meetings without using email. The feedback from this has been extremely positive and we are dealing with requests to set up further Groups.

So what about the character YETI?

YETI is a character displayed prominently across our intranet. He is there as a friendly, recognisable face to help staff navigate acround the intranet.

YETI has his own profile; he uploads information and writes his own blogs, he likes and comments on other people’s posts, blogs and forums, which helps create further buy-in with staff by corresponding with them directly.

We created an Ask YETI section, which is like a FAQ area. Staff can post questions and YETI answers directly. Here there is a video which gives staff a helpful guide around the intranet (narrated by YETI) with some hints and tips, which not only helps existing staff, but also new recruits. At launch, all staff received a YETI branded pair of headphones so they could listen to videos posted on our intranet.

Magenta Living: Restoring employee engagement with an intranet upgrade (and a YETI) video

Cuddly YETI was born and we invited staff to take him on their holidays, day trips and conferences. To date, more than 50 members of staff have taken YETI away. He has visited some amazing places, including Hong Kong, Canada, Florida and the Dominican Republic, as well as the Grand Prix and the World Rally Championships. We upload YETI’s holiday pictures to the intranet for all staff to see.

Magenta Living: Restoring employee engagement with an intranet upgrade (and a YETI) photobomb

Magenta Living: Restoring employee engagement with an intranet upgrade (and a YETI) skiing

Magenta Living: Restoring employee engagement with an intranet upgrade (and a YETI) Turkey

To conclude…

The upgrade to Interact 7 has been a great success for Magenta Living. More staff are using it and we find it helps with the daily workload. It has become less of a dumping ground and is the first place staff go to find out information- it’s now seen as a trusted environment.

Having YETI as a character and brand has really helped with our intranet’s success. It has helped with the design, imagery and content of our intranet, as well as capturing the user’s attention and improved employee engagement. We will be bringing YETI along to Interaction 2015 and hope to see you there for some photos!