adm Group introduced its intranet Hive to build connections between staff, foster innovation, and share news and success throughout the organization.
One of the largest independent marketing services businesses in the world, adm Group operates an interconnected business of over 400 people across 27 offices in 19 countries, supporting global clients to deliver marketing campaigns that build their brands and add value.
With a dispersed global team, including single members of staff working onsite with clients, building and communicating a common sense of culture and identity was a challenge for adm. Prior to partnering Interact, adm had no intranet or internal communications platform and relied heavily on traditional methods of communication such as email, shared folders, and verbal communication.
adm needed to connect employees to the business. Accessing their needs, they identified a number of challenges preventing staff and the organization as a whole from realizing their full potential:
- Finding and accessing information was difficult for staff
- Repetition of work
- Lack of sharing and collaborating
- Some feelings of being isolated if not located in HQ
- General lack of communication amongst adm employees, as well as to them
- High volume of new joiners but no consistent communications
- Email overload – too much noise for ‘key announcements’ to be acknowledged
- No rewards/recognition – “employees don’t know what good looks like”
When looking for an intranet provider, the adm team wanted a platform that would be easy to build and manage day-today by a communications team, with very little IT support. As a growing business with dispersed staff, an image-led people directory was key, as well as a platform that would enable two-way communication and was user-friendly to encourage collaboration.
In 2017, adm selected Interact as its intranet partner.
The vision for Hive
On initiating its intranet project, the adm team had clear objectives steering development. These included:
- Create a central repository to share news, documents, and forms
- Ensure all employees receive important company information
- Improve employee engagement
- Simplify the ability to find information and documents needed to do daily tasks
- Reduce time spent in email
- Provider easier ways of managing remote employees
- Create a more collaborative way of working across the company
- Enable employees to access information and documents from both laptop and phone/work and out of office
- Provide up-to-date information
Head of Marketing Communications, Tara Abbey, led the project with the support of board sponsor Dan Pike, adm’s Chief Development Officer.
Prior to approaching Interact, the team conducted an internal communications survey to identify what employees’ needs and requirements. 76% of the business voted for adm to launch an intranet.
With such a high employee demand and the positive impact the team knew it would have, adm was keen to launch as soon as possible. After enlisting a few Hive champions to help with some aspects of the build, including gathering up to date information from their teams, the IT team was also engaged to ensure Hive could be synced with the adm Active Directory. The IT team also helped to test access in different countries prior to going live.
The team also enlisted project management support from Interact, who helped advise on the site structure and supported by creating a platform for user testing.
With the support of nominated content publishers from each department, the adm team undertook a comprehensive content audit to identify and create engaging content and resources for the new intranet.
To kick-start excitement among staff, an intranet naming competition was initiated with the winner securing a grand prize of €200 to spend at a restaurant of their choice. The name selected was Hive: a place for all staff to come together and connect, just as bees do. The team elected to keep the name a secret until launch day, when two of adm’s board members announced the winner via a video posted to the new intranet.
Hive goes live
The adm team decided to go with a high-impact launch plan, with the site launching in all regions on the same day to create a buzz and encourage employees to immediately connect and begin communicating with their co-workers.
To build anticipation, Hive launch packs were sent to each office and included Hive-branded balloons and A5 postcards for a desk drop for each employee. On the postcards was information on what Hive was, how to access it and the benefits it would bring. On the reverse side there was a treasure map – an interactive game to encourage employees to take a look at all of the different areas and features of the site and immediately get involved.
When employees arrived on the morning of launch day, their offices had been transformed into Hive celebrations. Each staff member received their desk drop and had a message waiting from the adm CEO, endorsing the use of Hive and encouraging everyone to get involved.
In addition to the launch packs, each office was encouraged to hold a launch celebration on the same evening and an adm-themed quiz was sent to all offices. This tied in as a fundraising and social event and was a great success.
Each office shared pictures from their launch parties which were immediately shared on Hive.
On the day of the launch 89% of employees visited Hive (this included employees on maternity and long-term sick leave) and there were 8061 page views.
Day-to-day use of Hive
“One of the main aims for Hive was to share what we do across the organization and get staff collaborating,” explains Marketing Communications Executive for adm, Alex Brown.
“We’ve got a lot of good product-based content and case studies, but historically, our staff weren’t able to share their successes across the business. Now on Hive, we’ve created an ‘adm in action’ section for staff to share what projects or products have gone to market and had a positive impact across the different offices and locations. These case studies showcase the work adm is capable of as a whole, but also celebrate the teams that have worked so hard or making it happen.”
The company is also trying to connect with its dispersed workforce by encouraging staff who work directly with clients or out on the road to blog about their experiences.
“Currently, we have about three or four blogs a month. We’ve also created a template for staff to fill in when they attend trade shows to write up and share what’s going on.”
The Tradeshow area of Hive also showcases photos in a gallery, a calendar to push forthcoming events, and discussion forums to share ideas or feedback.
“We have staff who travel for work; recently, a member of one of our teams went to the Far East to visit lots of different suppliers. Getting these people to blog about their travels and share those parts of the job that people don’t normally get to see is really important.
“The blogs are the least corporate piece of content we have on Hive, but they’ve proved one of the most popular areas, so it’s definitely an area we’ll be looking to expand on and push going forward.”
The team is also trying to engage staff using people stories, including increased visibility of leaders with a monthly blog from a member of senior management. A series called ’60 seconds with…’ has proven popular, with the interviewee asked to describe their role and then answer ten random questions, which is then published to Hive. At the end, the interviewee nominates someone else in a different office to be the next subject: the practice then moves around the world.
To boost engagement further, the team is using creative approaches for campaigns on Hive. Most recently, this has included jumping on current events or news – including a themed 60 seconds campaign aligned with the Grammys and Oscars, where interviewees answered film or music-related questions such as ‘What was the first album you bought?’ or, ‘Who would play you in a movie?’. The more informal tone and popular culture spin increases engagement throughout the staff.
From a practical use perspective, Hive also hosts quick links to vital applications, accessible from the homepage, alongside a preferred suppliers list which is regularly updated and extremely important for the account teams. Making the intranet useful, ensures it is used. The adm Academy, with materials to support new joiners and to educate all staff on important initiatives within the organization, also provides valuable resources.
Staff reactions to Hive
“The people-focused and user-generated content is definitely what resonates best with people, and especially new starters,” explains Alex.
“When they join the business there’s a great deal of formal, corporate content to review; having the lighter content alongside helps introduce them more to the culture of our business and what we do.”
The People Directory, with comprehensive profiles and photos of staff included, makes it easier to find and connect staff to one another throughout the business. adm has also seen the growth of Team Sites; one client team, dispersed over eight or nine different offices, uses this space to innovate and share ideas around the world.
“Members of the team talk about any challenges they’re facing, invite others to share what they do and any results of campaigns they’ve done. They have blogs in the team area to share and review any promotions or briefs they’ve been given. It works really well as they’re so dispersed, but gets them innovating and collaborating over the different locations.”
adm has also seen great advocacy and engagement from senior management level. Alongside the regular ‘blog from the board’ feature, displayed on the Company News page of Hive, leaders are regularly engaging with posts, commenting and interacting with users. The increased visibility of senior leaders, who some members may otherwise never meet, helps unite the business.
The Culture Club, an area on Hive dedicated to sharing events across the organization, helps add a social aspect to people’s work lives and improve employee engagement. Each office has a big quarterly event, with photos posted to the intranet; smaller monthly events also feature, with future plans including a Pancake Day and sports days. These events also happen to be used to raise funds for adm’s selected charity. The diversity of content types keeps users engaged, as well as promoting the culture and ethos of adm. Hive sees an average of 80% active users monthly.
Future plans for Hive
The adm team is continuing to invest in growing Hive and increasing the volume of content available. In addition, future plans will focus on launching the intranet app among staff to improve accessibility throughout the business: particularly useful due to the level of travel undertaken by staff.
The team will also be looking to utilize the workflow and forms functionality of Hive for the onboarding process, linking up and streamlining existing IT and HR processes through the intranet. For staff, a focus on making the Onboarding homepage more engaging will make information more tailored to different offices and ensure they undertake crucial steps, such as updating their profiles.
A resource area for tips and support using Hive is hosted on the intranet and continues to grow. However, to improve volumes of user-generated content, the team is looking to run quarterly training for new joiners to upskill them in basics such as uploading content, navigating Hive and the use of Team sites.
“To go from nothing to where we are in two years is a huge accomplishment and we’re really proud of what Hive has helped us achieve. At the same time, we’re excited by the possibilities that still lay before us. There’s so much more we can do.”