Workplace Leaders: How IFS is using Workplace to develop a global community
by Karl Wiseman
We meet Darren Roos, CEO of IFS, to explore how the recent Workplace deployment is connecting a global workforce and building closer working relationships.
IFS develops and delivers enterprise software for global customers who manufacture and distribute goods, maintain assets, and manage service-focused operations. A team of 3,500 IFS employees supports more than 10,000 customers worldwide from a network of 65 local offices and a growing ecosystem of partners – making IFS one of the most recommended suppliers in their sector.
Darren Roos, CEO, IFS
What was the world of work like before Workplace?
Before Workplace, our internal communications channels were very traditional. We used intranet sites, email and teleconferencing to get the job done. But as our business grows globally, we wanted to break down geographical silos and give our employees more space to share ideas, news and best practices in real-time.
"Workplace was one of the few platforms that didn’t require widespread training. Our colleagues felt empowered to get started from the outset."
- Darren Roos, CEO, IFS
We chose Workplace because of its dynamic engagement features, such as Live video and because it is simple and intuitive to use. Also, many of our staff were already familiar with Facebook, so it was one of the few platforms that didn’t require widespread training. Our colleagues felt empowered to get started from the outset.
Can you tell us a little bit about how the launch went?
We hit the ball out of the park! Within the first week of our launch, 82% of our colleagues activated their accounts and published over 3,000 posts. Within a month, 94% of our 3,500 staff claimed their accounts.
My senior leadership team also made it a priority to personally welcome our colleagues to Workplace through live video messages. This allowed them to showcase their creativity and more of their personal side. One of our senior leaders even recorded her video while horseback riding, while another recorded his from Dubai in front of the famous Burj al Arab Hotel! As a global business, this platform has given everyone instant face time with senior leaders who they wouldn’t normally have exposure to.
“As a global business, this platform has given everyone instant face time with senior leaders they wouldn’t normally have exposure to.”
As part of our engagement campaign during the launch, I also started a trending hashtag - #proudlyifs – to help highlight our successes and share the moments that make us proud to be members of the IFS family.
It was great to see how people gravitated towards the hashtag and continue to use it to express their contribution. It helps create a strong bond between colleagues at all levels of the organization and build a sense of global community.
How would you say that using Workplace is helping change the ways that you work?
Using Workplace has instantaneously removed the geographic and time zone barriers that exist within any large, global business. Thanks to the platform, we have the freedom to collaborate with each other no matter where people are.
“Thanks to the platform, we have the freedom to collaborate with each other no matter where people are.”
In fact, by sharing ideas and asking for feedback on Workplace, we’re able to tap into the expertise of all of our 3,500 our staff. And that directly links to our ability to make the best products and find the right solutions for our customers.
Workplace is also providing a forum for collaboration that simply wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. For instance, our team in the United States has started an internal campaign sharing photographs of our customer's products in action.
They use Workplace to show how our customers have had an impact on their own lives. This aligns really well with our values and our customer-centric approach – and using Workplace to deliver it is completely natural.
How has the way you use the platform evolved over time?
We launched Workplace just over 3 months ago. Our main focus has been to make the deployment a success and to enable colleagues to connect to the platform. We want people to feel confident about publishing posts, sharing documents, links or videos, and joining the right groups.
“We've not only significantly reduced email, we have one space to share our messages in rich and engaging ways.”
IFS will continue to double down on efforts to increase employee engagement. As part of that plan, we'll be using Workplace to promote our company values, share news on our corporate social responsibility initiatives and focus on issues that matter to us, such as diversity and health & wellbeing.
Can you share an example of something you can do now that you couldn't do before?
Before Workplace launched at IFS, regional successes were celebrated at a local level. We relied heavily on email (including digital newsletters) to gather information and share news. Using Workplace, we've not only significantly reduced email, we have one space to share our messages in rich and engaging ways using a variety of multimedia including photos, videos, and even GIFs!
We've been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of our colleagues and this is helping us to be a more tight-knit global community. The real-time metrics available on posts and via Group Insights also give us an immediate gauge on how our communications are landing.
“The real-time metrics available on posts and via Group Insights also give us an immediate gauge on how our communications are landing.”
What plans have you got for the platform in the future?
It’s important that we use Workplace as much for sharing as for listening. Our workforce is highly engaged, so seeing the updates employees are posting is great, but it's equally important that we're able to offer suggestions, give feedback and engage in a dialogue on issues that resonate with them.
The work isn't done yet - it’s important we keep improving and evolving. This will be key for us to remain an attractive employer as much as it is for our customers to benefit from our fresh thinking.
With huge thanks to Darren Roos, CEO, IFS.