Driving Bus Éireann’s dispersed internal
comms strategy to new places
According to Microsoft, 88% of organizations employ people in frontline roles. They’re on the ground instead of behind a desk. Newsletters popping up in the inboxes of your in-office employees might be a great way of disseminating information, but excluding people doesn’t bode well for company culture and worker satisfaction.
At Bus Éireann, a state-owned bus service operating across the Republic of Ireland, over 71% of employees have no company phone number, company email address or company computer. Out of 2,700 employees, 1,700 are drivers and 300 are garage-based.
Before partnering with Workvivo, the company had no way to engage or directly communicate with three-quarters of its workforce. Changing that would require a unique, cost-effective solution that catered to Bus Éireann’s specific needs.
Fast forward two years and a whopping 89% of Bus Éireann employees have registered on the Workvivo employee app, with 1,500 people (60%) logging on each day.
Since embarking on its Workvivo journey, Bus Éireann has experienced major improvements right across the business. In just two years, their overall employee engagement score grew from 51% to 79%, an increase of 55%.
They also saw a 114% increase in confidence in leaders and strategy and a 67% increase in understanding of strategic priorities and goals.
“The biggest achievement is the fact that we can communicate directly, immediately,” Bus Éireann’s Head of Internal Communications, Tanya Waldron, says. “There’s mission-critical information that happens all the time, particularly during COVID, where we would find out what changes there were to capacity and social distancing at the same time as everybody else in Ireland, but we had to enact it overnight.
“So to be able to get out to our drivers, out to garage employees, literally within as quick as I could write it – that was mission critical.”
Bus Éireann was also keen to find a solution that was easy to use with minimum training required for staff, and they found that in Workvivo’s familiar interface and user experience. Presenting the Workvivo platform with Bus Éireann branding helped employees feel right at home with company logos, colors and imagery throughout.
TANYA WALDRON, HEAD OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS AT BUS ÉIREANN
The impact goes beyond engagement and creating a more inclusive and dynamic culture – it can really benefit your bottom line too. Bus Éireann is able to communicate with every employee on Workvivo, whether they have an Office 365 license or company email address or not, as the Workvivo system supports colleagues without a work email address. An Office 365 license could cost a 1,000-person organization over €45,000 per annum.
Another powerful feature of Workvivo is that is supports automatic user provisioning from Microsoft AzureAD via SCIM, an industry standard protocol. This integration saves teams time by automating the addition of new users and the removal of deactivated users, as well as updating staff details.
Single Sign On (SSO) can also be enabled to ensure secure authentication of users to the Workvivo platform on any device, anywhere, at any time. This means Workvivo can inherit any Multi-factor Authentication enabled on Bus Éireann SSO.
Of the company’s 2,700 employees, just 350 still complete employee engagement surveys on paper. The rest send their responses through Workvivo, where they can also nominate and vote for each other in Bus Éireann’s internal employee awards.
This means two things – less cost and less hassle. Tanya and her team no longer need to worry about printing and posting physical notices that people don’t engage with.
Bus Éireann’s customers have reaped the benefits too. Since rolling out Workvivo, its customer satisfaction score has increased, jumping from 84% in 2019 to 91% in Q2 of 2022.
Workvivo has helped the company keep its values around customer satisfaction “front of mind”, Tanya says. “Unless you’re continuously reminded about these things, they don’t happen.
“We have a frequent update on what the customer satisfaction score results are. We call out where employees of particular areas have over-indexed and we celebrate that.”
Bus Éireann wanted rosters and payslips to be easily accessible for everyone, not just those with a company computer. They needed a solution with the ability to launch third-party apps, meaning that once a user was logged in, they could navigate to those external apps from one central hub.
Not only did implementing Workvivo make rosters and payslips more accessible for all Bus Éireann employees, paving the way for a more inclusive workplace, but it also helped the company cut down on printing and postage costs.
BUS ÉIREANN CEO
Bus Éireann prides itself on open, honest, and transparent communication, and it wanted Workvivo to help keep that alive. Tanya says that two-way engagement is encouraged at the company and that every employee has the opportunity to post on the platform.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner in early 2021, Bus Éireann CEO, Stephen Kent, said that his team was sending and receiving important messages every single day through Workvivo. Implementing the Workvivo platform has paved the way for two-way communication at Bus Éireann, leading to “better information rather than less information”.
The transport company’s CEO said that in the wake of the “enormous challenge” posed by the shift to remote working, Workvivo was “transformative”.
“They developed an internal communications platform for us, so it meant we could get our communications and updates to staff all downloaded on phones. We have about 2,700 people in here, with around 2,300 of them with the app on their phones, and we have messages going out every day,” he said.
Bus Éireann drivers can now tell the necessary people in the organization where there were incidents, and the appropriate team can respond with information on where services are going to take place.
“It has actually led to better information rather than less information, so we are able to get into dialogue; drivers were able to tell us where they had incidents; we could tell them where services were going to happen; we could put videos out.
“It was fantastic when we were so dispersed. That actually created a huge connection for everybody and a great sense of teamwork. It has been transformative for us.”
Tanya notes the benefit of being able to communicate “everything from company news, new job postings, urgent and critical information, to more social posts”.
Some of the other ways Bus Éireann has been amplifying its internal comms and culture with Workvivo include employee awards and championing the organization’s strategic goals.
EASY NOMINATIONS PROCESS FOR INTERNAL
Workvivo helped Bus Éireann elevate one of its existing programs: its annual GEM Employee Awards. The Awards capability on the platform, which helps to bring organizational values to life, meant that colleagues could easily submit their nominations.
In its first year of using Workvivo, Bus Éireann received 456 nominations from staff for the Hero of the Year award alone.
OPEN, TWO-WAY COMMUNICATIONS WITH
With Workvivo, top-down communication at Bus Éireann is a thing of the past. Empowering employees to generate their own content on the platform, whether it’s news about a personal milestone or a snap of a sunset, has boosted the company’s sense of community and camaraderie.
Important company-wide updates still take place and reach every person in the organization, but allowing for two-way conversations has made all the difference.
EMPOWERING COLLEAGUES TO THANK AND
CONGRATULATE EACH OTHER
Colleagues now have a place to show their recognition for each other. Company leaders can thank their teams for project accomplishments and coworkers can congratulate each other on professional achievements, such as trainee drivers at Bus Éireann passing their driving test.
MAKING SPACE FOR EMPLOYEE AND ADMIN-LED
GROUPS – BOTH CORPORATE AND SOCIAL
For a well-rounded employee experience, people need places to have both work and non-work conversations. Giving your employees dedicated spaces to discuss their love of sports, for example, means they can forge meaningful connections with other fans across the entire company.
One Bus Éireann example is its sustainability space on Workvivo. Only employees who sign up for this space will see updates from it, which can include posts about new initiatives.
“We have a ton of videos that are in the works right now and will be pushing those out every couple of weeks. It raises awareness.”
OUT OF THE NOTICEBOARD DARK AGES WITH WORKVIVO
When Bus Éireann partnered with Workvivo, it was looking for a solution that would take it “out of the dark ages of notice boards that were completely out of date”, Tanya says. This is a challenge for any organization, but especially for those with frontline employees.
Now, she says a core tenet of Bus Éireann’s comms and engagement strategy is “to be able to get on Workvivo and have two-way communication”.
“We don’t just use billboards for the information; we don’t just throw stuff up there and not allow people to comment. It’s all about two-way engagement.”
In a global work trend that goes far beyond Bus Éireann, HR staff and people leaders are experiencing the highest levels of burnout ever. Giving your internal comms team the tools to realize their vision and enjoy their work has resounding benefits that percolate the entire company.
“You put something up on Workvivo and you can update it literally within seconds,” Tanya says. “So for me, as a comms manager, it is a fit-for-purpose business tool that gets our message straight into the hands of our employees immediately. No fuss.”
At Bus Éireann, the award-winning internal communications team of Tanya Waldron and Claire Doolan continues to reach new heights with the help of the platform.
Check out the Bus Éireann website here.
HEAD OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS AT BUS ÉIREANN