Background:Waupaca Foundry is the largest producer of gray, ductile, austempered ductile, and compacted graphite iron in the world, melting more than 10,000 tons a day. Their castings are produced using a vertical green sand molding process and created by a workforce that puts generations of iron casting expertise to work for our customers every day. Those customers trust Waupaca Foundry for high quality iron castings that are consistently the most durable, reliable, and innovative products on the market. Learn more at waupacafoundry.com.
What happens when over 50% of your employees don’t have a computer or email access during working hours? At Waupaca Foundry, this meant important and even urgent information wasn’t reaching all of their employees.
With a primarily non-desk workforce, Waupaca needed a solution that was both mobile, accessible regardless of job function, and that provided functionality that aligned with their communications objectives. They needed a solution that would give them the ability to notify employees of production schedules, provide company news, offer a calendar of events, share benefits information and company policies, and give them a platform for employee recognition and plant postings. However, they were forced to rely on phone calls and emails, trusting that the information would cascade down to the rest of their staff.
This strategy simply wasn’t sustainable for the Waupaca team, who officially launched their EMPLOYEEapp to nearly 5,000 employees in April 2019.
Marketing Communications Manager, Sara Timm, said: “We were so archaic with our communication channels before that we weren’t able to track who received communication. At best we were only reaching half the population.”
THE APP: THEHUB
“TheHub is a great tool for our employees to view their schedule and get notifications of any schedule changes. And theEMPLOYEEapp customer care team has exceptional customer service from providing quick responses to any question, taking requests of what customers would like to see on the app, and helping make the app the best it can be,” according to Austin Dean, Waupaca’s Social Media Specialist.
Using TheHub has allowed Waupaca to get important information to their employees, but also to change the way they communicate. The team at the corporate office knew that there were cultural differences between their plants and that one voice from corporate and one comms strategy wouldn’t resonate with all employees.
Plant admins like Autumn Raether have been empowered to localize communication at the plant-level. Since they have a strong relationship with the employees at their facility, this communication is highly engaged with and completely relevant for employees.
While TheHub has changed the way that Waupaca communicates with employees, it has also changed the way that their employees engage with their work.
“I was off work for medical leave. When I was ready to come back, I didn’t have the latest production schedule. But because of TheHub, I was able to look at the production schedule right on my phone and see my next scheduled work day.” – Dan H.
“Working on third shift, it’s often difficult getting up to the front office to check out the job postings. Thanks to TheHub, I’m now able to see what postings are available.” – Dave W.
THE POWER OF IMMEDIATE COMMUNICATION:
One of Waupaca’s favorite features of the app is Alerts. Recently, the main boiler at one of their plants stopped working, and they had to shut down for the day. They were able to quickly and easily send out an alert to the employees working at this plant (where 70% of employees use the app). In the past, the communication team relied on having to call employees to let them know of a closure. The Alert feature not only saved the communications team time but also had a huge impact on the employees themselves. By receiving closure information faster, they were able to properly plan their lives and be less negatively impacted by a closure.
- Increased employee engagement score to 84% in 2019 (up from 77% in 2018), in spite of a global manufacturing slowdown creating a challenging market.
- Reached 50% adoption within the first six months. But once the COVID-19 crisis hit, adoption increased 200%, making adoption 75% across the enterprise
- Improved communication at the local level of their organization by partnering with leaders in the field.
- Access to analytics allowed the company to begin tracking the success of individual pieces of content as well as their overarching communication strategy.
“For the first time in our organization’s history, we were able to ensure that every employee that chooses to have the app on their phone receives a piece of information at the same time that their peer does. We have leveled the playing field. Everyone has access. And we couldn’t have done that without the app.”
– Sara Timm, Marketing Communications Manager