Many companies in the sector still rely heavily on manual processes, such as paper-based employee records, physical timesheets, and in-person interviews. This can result in inefficiencies, errors, and a lack of transparency. Despite the availability of digital tools and technologies that could improve HR processes, many construction companies in Hungary have yet to adopt them.
Two years ago, the Hungarian founded Merkbau faced a problem seeming impossible to solve: how to engage on-site workers in digital internal communication. The company has had "MerkMondó", its own internal communication system for years now, which goes beyond transmitting formal HR messages. The digital platform offers a broad range of possibilities, fostering interactive dialogue among various stakeholders within the company. Anita Knáb, HR Manager, and Szabolcs Torma, Marketing and PR Manager, spoke openly about this tool, which was the first of its kind to be introduced by Merkbau to the Hungarian construction industry.
The implementation of the digital platform was a challenging task for the two leaders, but the benefits it has brought have been significant. According to Anita Knáb, the launch in 2020 led to the discontinuation of their previous newsletter, with readers automatically transferred to the MerkMondó platform. However, it was difficult to get physical workers on board, and even today, the coverage is not at 100 percent. Despite this, after two years, 72 percent of physical workers have become users, while registration among white-collars is at 100 percent. Overall, the coverage of the entire group is now at 85 percent.
After testing several service provider products, the company chose Blue Colibri, leading to the launch of their new internal communications platform in April 2020, called MerkMondó. Subscriptions were encouraged, including through prize draws, but the real breakthrough came when access to important documents became exclusive to platform users. Although the journey was challenging and the numbers may still leave the company feeling inadequate, it is important to acknowledge that two years ago, the coverage for physical workers was at zero percent. Therefore, the implementation of the digital platform has made a huge difference.
It was also clear from Anita Knáb's words that the Hungarian construction industry is not yet characterized by this level of digitalization of internal communication: "We were the first company in the sector to introduce Blue Colibri, but since then others have done the same."
Szabolcs Torma, who has been working for Merkbau since 2016, added that covering the Merkbau group of companies, which operates in 10-15 geographical locations, was also a challenge for Blue Colibri. "As Merkbau was their first construction partner, the relationship has brought mutual growth for both companies."
MerkMondó has not only enhanced the company's internal communication efforts, but it has also positively impacted employee well-being. The digital platform serves as the company's official internal communication hub for HR-related matters, including organizational changes, new hires, and benefits information, as well as company news and events. The high readership of basic information, such as new colleague introductions and benefit updates, is important feedback for HR and marketing.
MerkMondó has expanded beyond internal communication and now includes an e-learning platform, where newcomers can access company presentation videos, OHS training, and other educational material. Furthermore, the platform has become a community hub, offering a communities function that allows colleagues to create thematic groups, much like Facebook groups.
Szabolcs Torma highlighted the benefits of these findings, which have led to a more multi-directional approach to workplace communication. "It's not just us communicating with our employees, it's them communicating with each other."
Today, the tool is such an important part of the company's daily life that new entrants receive access to it on their first day, along with a playful user guide. The simplicity of the system was another argument Anita Knáb used: "It's no more complicated than using Facebook and you can download it on your phone."
The significance of MerkMondó, which celebrates its third anniversary on 1 April, was summed up by the HR Manager:
We are reaching many more people than before, we have a much more structured and targeted communication. It has opened up the world, we can send messages on a wide range of topics and our staff can do the same.
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