LEAP HR Manufacturing: Why STULZ USA Replaced Their Breakroom Bulletin Board With an Employee Communication App

It’s clear by now that the ways of working are changing, and the manufacturing industry is no exception. A pandemic, increased shortage of skilled workers, and an aging workforce are just a number of things that are causing manufacturing C-level to rethink their strategies. 

But a drop in business should not be their only concern; morale is low among factory workers as the pressures of production fall on them. As a result, employees are disconnected from the company’s culture, vision, and values.

“Out of 1,500 Manufacturing CEOs interviewed, more than 90% reported that while their employees are their most valuable asset, few knew how to motivate and inspire employee communication and assure employee retention within the organization.” 

PWC CEO survey

So how do you address these challenges that so many face in the manufacturing industry?

We joined LEAP HR: Manufacturing, an event that gives opportunities for HR leaders to exchange best practices, along with our highly valued customers STULZ USA. As a global leading solution provider for energy-efficient temperature and humidity management technology, STULZ is focusing on its employees for a change (how refreshing!). By optimizing their employee communications and increasing employee satisfaction, they’re also able to increase productivity. Hint: They’re using an employee communication app. Here’s their story.
stulz-employees

Out with bulletin boards in with new employee communication solutions

Let’s take a look at the dictionary’s description of a bulletin board: “a board on the wall of a classroom, office, etc., where things (such as written notices or pictures) are put so that they can be seen by many people.” STULZ has made it clear that this is no longer an accurate description. Its sole purpose is to be seen by its employees, but that’s no longer the case; it has become part of the interior and is barely noticeable anymore. Why is that? People connect over digital tools and mobile devices, more instantly and easily – wherever they are. Bulletin boards have become part of the interior and can easily be replaced by an employee communication app.

Not only do your warehouse employees stop noticing the bulletin board after a while, but there’s the added challenge of actually knowing whether your important updates are being read or acknowledged. How do you measure your employee communication? It frustrated STULZ’s internal communication and HR professional to not know when or how information was landing. Because without the metrics, they were unable to know exactly what content was working and what wasn’t, how many they had reached and what resonated the most. That’s one of the gaps that an employee communication app filled.

And as many manufacturing companies, STULZ too faced the challenge of communicating with employees who are not native English speakers. They felt that their static bulletin board was making some of their factory workers feel left out and unappreciated, simply because of language barriers. They saw it significantly impact morale on the work floor. Opting in for an employee communication app that would let their employees instantly translate messages changed the game.

The internal communication software that broke the barrier

It was clear to STULZ that they needed to up their communication strategy with employees. They searched for an inclusive employee communication app with which they could reach everyone with the right message at the right time, and enable productivity.

With 400+ employees spread out nationwide, of which 75% do not have a company email address, this was not an easy task. As Lane Gregory, Marketing Manager, and Kimberly Goad, Director of HR, shared at LEAP HR: Manufacturing, some of the initial worries they heard about introducing an employee communication app were:

  • “We don’t like social media”
  • “Everyone is going to be posting instead of working”
  • “We don’t need another employee communication platform”
  • “People will make negative comments"
  • “Hourly employees will check off the clock and we’ll have to pay them”
  • “Employees don’t want work news on their personal phones.”
  • “They’ll think we’re tracking them.”
  • “We have bulletin boards already.”

But that didn’t discourage them to convince their colleagues and implement the employee communication app. Change management is tricky, and breaking traditions is an even bigger uphill battle. Why is that? People generally tend to fear the unknown and shy away from change (more about that here).Infographic-embrace-digital-tools-cta-ENSTULZ however persevered by focusing on making their employees feel heard. By listening to their workforce, they discovered that what their employees really wanted was to feel included, and empowered, and to have a sense of belonging. By introducing a new employee app called STULZ Connect (a Speakap product), they were able to adhere to all of the above, and more.

In fact, some of the biggest manufacturing companies are keeping employee well-being top of mind. At LEAP HR: Manufacturing, STULZ reconfirmed that the future of the workplace needs an employee communication app that connects frontline employees to HQ, and increases employee engagement.