How to involve frontline employees in internal corporate communication

Multi-site, blue-and white-collar employees, warehouse staff, ophthalmologists, and store managers—a really complex challenge in internal communication. Our case study shows how our partner GrandVision successfully implemented a new system and included its colleagues from multiple locations and positions in the internal communications of the company.

About the company

GrandVision is a Hungarian subsidiary of the EssilorLuxottica group of companies, which is active in the fields of eye testing and vision correction. The company is also present in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, making a total of 3 countries in which it is active. The majority of employees are female, with an average age of around 37. A total of 1150 people are employed at the head office, the central warehouse in Budapest, and the roughly 150 stores throughout the country. Of these, about 90 are white-collar, 60 blue-collar, and 850 (mixed depending on the position) store colleagues.

Key internal communication challenges

- Reaching colleagues in different locations, many of whom do not have their own computers or email addresses.
- Address the need for a fast, efficient flow of information (given the limited possibilities and drawbacks of intranets, Facebook, bulletin boards, and newsletters).
- Target sensitive information (e.g. salary summary) to individuals, and other content to target groups and communities.

GrandVision already had existing communication channels, but they were looking for a platform that would have the added benefit of being able to publish formal content. They also didn't like how their weekly newsletter was set up because they didn't think it could reach all of their coworkers or that everyone would be able to access it.  In addition, they would have liked to see targeted content published for specific groups.

“In-store colleagues have access to shared email, but between operational tasks, they don't necessarily have time to sit down and go through it. We've had to rely on store manager colleagues to pass information to everyone at store meetings. It depends on the depth of the individual and the situation. They also relied on personal information in the warehouse," - explained Viktória Rácz, representing GrandVision.

The solution

To address the above, the Blue Colibri App was launched in 2019 with a test team of 50 people. It took time to learn how to use the application so that the members of the test team could confidently manage and represent it. During the one-year test period, the Blue Colibri team provided a lot of support, and the new GrandVision system, GrandApp, was finally launched live in 2020.

The key to its success was the fact that management got fully behind the app. Understandably, not all coworkers welcomed the app in the same way. To get everyone on board with the new system and convinced that it would work, it was necessary to drive home the point that they must move forward regarding tools and technology.

"The turning point was that many people saw signing up to the scheme as completely over-mystified, but when we showed them that look, that's it, there was an "aha!" experience, and that's when the resistance broke," - added Viktória Rácz.

About the app

One of the biggest advantages of the Blue Colibri App is that it can be customized. Not only the colors, the background colors, or the wording, but also the features (what is of more value to the company, what is not used, etc.). Flexibility and mobility are also important, i.e., what cannot be used at the initial launch can be activated later.

"It's been exciting to see how many new developments have been added to the app in recent years, and it's great to see that what we asked for in 2019 as an improvement as well as things we were missing (e.g. document filtering) have all been acknowledged and solved. We can only recommend working with Blue Colibri, the platform itself, and the team behind it. They listen to customer needs and respond to the best of their ability and capacity. Support gets back to you within half an hour, which is truly great!" - Viktória Rácz elaborated.

Results and achievements

- It was an important turning point for GrandVision when, after a few months, the intranet was finally switched off. Documents from colleagues in the store as well as new documents were all moved to GrandApp.
- Winning over retail colleagues meant winning over the majority of their workforce. After that, having to use the app became inevitable.
- Targeted content sharing has been implemented and is presented in a transparent structure.
- Various engaging activities and movement challenges were launched with the app.
- There is also gamified education, which is also only available from the app, and can even reach target groups (e.g. eye examiners) that are otherwise less likely to use the platform.

Today, everyone has an account with GrandVision, so it's up to people to decide whether to sit down in front of the company computer and scroll through a few weeks of correspondence, which is nowhere near as transparent as the app, or to get first-hand information.

Internal communication has gotten better, which is reflected in GrandVision's annual engagement metrics (not only due to GrandApp, but the platform is often mentioned in the employee feedback). The app has also affected the community, with things like the motion challenge, gamified education, and so on.