How can internal communication create a culture of transparency, pride and passion with a collaborative platform? What aspects go into connecting a global workforce across 84 countries? What challenges and opportunities do internal communicators face while implementing a large scale transformation programme?
Gain answers to these and more questions as you read Morten Dal’s experiences at Pandora in the 17th edition of Intraskope’s Spotlight on Internal Communication Series.
‘Morten Dal is an experienced corporate communications manager and together with his team winner of 3 global awards in London, Berlin and Sydney in 2017 for best worldwide digital work space transformation and global people engagement. With over 15 years of global corporate communications and leadership development experience derived from industries such as: biotech, food & beverages, insurance and banking, he is also a certified and experienced strategic leadership communication advisor with a strong track record of successfully training hundreds of executives and managers.
In this post, he shares how he and his digital workspace team created and engaged a worldwide workforce through his organization’s new global digital workspace by equally dwelling on development, marketing and training across 84 countries. He follows it up with an interview on practices and perspectives that surround internal communication and change.
PANDORA: Roadmap to global digital work-space
This is the story of how we at PANDORA created and engaged a worldwide workforce in the new global digital work space through equal emphasis on development, marketing and training. We are now changing our colleagues’ digital habits on a global scale and enabling worldwide inter-connectivity across 84 countries.
Issue that needed addressing
Many global organizations going through constant change have a need to effectively be able to communicate, collaborate and share best practice. Therefore, creating digital platforms and driving user adoption across cultures and boundaries are key to many global organizations struggling to keep the interconnectedness of employees at their workplace. We can change our technologies, infrastructure and processes but without addressing the human element, long-term and lasting changes will not happen.
Now, at PANDORA we design, manufacture and market hand-finished and contemporary jewelry made from high-quality materials at affordable prices. Our PANDORA jewelry is sold in more than 100 countries on six continents through around 7,800 points of sale, including more than 2,400 concept stores.
Back in 2015, with more than 18,000 employees in 50 countries, communication was a big challenge with our independently run tools and no platform to support global connectivity. So, our goal was to create a unified digital workplace on top of Microsoft Office 365 to underpin our business to easily enable knowledge flow and empowering our colleagues to COMMUNICATE, COLLABORATE and SHARE best practices across teams and locations.
What we wanted to achieve:
- To support the accelerated global growth of PANDORA from 4,000 employees to
18,000 in just 5 years as presence increased from 50 markets to 100 markets
- To enable global connectivity through communication and collaboration with nearly 8,000 outlets worldwide
- Our vision: “To create a PANDORA Global Digital Workspace that will boost organizational cohesion, transparency and culture – and grow into a vibrant digital workplace with a strong sense of Pride, Passion and Performance.”
How did this fit with corporate business objectives?
To achieve a digital workplace that aligned with PANDORA’s overall business strategy, substantial research and planning was undertaken by our core intranet team.
During the initial planning phase over Summer 2015, we did interviews to establish employee expectations, with representatives taking part from countries across the value chain, staff functions and production facilities.
We also gained input from our PANDORA digital workspace advisory board and steering committee, representing the business. Gaining feedback and approval early in the project from senior stakeholders was key to our success, with our leaders identifying the key business challenge and prioritizing it. The results of these activities helped us to establish the business case, budget and requirement specification to drive the project.
Designed to engage employees
Based on Office 365, our PANDORA solution named INFORA combines tools such as SharePoint Online (Cloud), Skype for Business, OneDrive for Business, Yammer and more into a nicely designed platform. In just 19 months, the digital workspace was launched to initially 8,000 employees – including training. The number of users is increasing as the platform is now also accessible for external sharing with PANDORA store managers, franchisees and other external partners – strongly requested by our global organization.
We worked together with external partners to create a solution that has captured the inspiration of employees, boosted collaboration and organizational productivity. INFORA is unlike most built on SharePoint. Feedback from our users is that its elegant and neat design mirrors the experience PANDORA’s customers receive when visiting our external websites. INFORA’s intuitive user experience mirrors the platforms our employees use outside of the office. From card-style roll-ups for story and event content, to easy commenting and liking of content – when users come to use it for the first time, it already has a familiar and intuitive feel.
It was important to have this mirroring of personal and work platforms for employees, in order to help with the on-boarding process. The more people that use INFORA, the closer PANDORA move towards the ultimate goal of global connectivity through a united and seamless platform.
Your/team’s role in crafting the solution
To achieve a digital workplace that aligned with PANDORA’s overall business strategy, substantial research and planning was undertaken by our core intranet team. During the initial planning phase over Summer 2015, we did interviews to establish employee expectations, with representatives taking part from countries across the value chain, staff functions and production facilities.
We also gained input from our PANDORA digital workspace advisory board and steering committee, representing the business. Gaining feedback and approval early in the project from senior stakeholders was key to our success, with our leaders identifying the key business challenge and prioritising it. The results of these activities helped us to establish the business case, budget and requirement specification to drive the project.
Global roadshows to engage people worldwide
The need for a successful roll out of INFORA was high, especially as two previous intranet projects had failed to gain traction. Instead of a ‘Big-Bang’ approach, we decided to launch INFORA gradually over a 19-month period beginning in Denmark, in PANDORA’s Global Office then across APAC, AMERICA’s and EMEA. This allowed us to add a personal touch and to learn and adjust go-live training from region to region when needed.
Marketing with gamification, music and cartoon universe
The global roll out was supported with an extensive marketing campaign creating a special ‘cartoon universe’, which remained consistent through all online and offline material – ranging from gift bags, informative literature, campaign videos, stands, posters and training material.
The ‘cartoon universe’ was populated with cartoon characters that served as INFORA ‘guides’. Each character was attributed to a key capability of our intranet, offering guidance to our users within their specific domain (such as Communicating Charlie, Sharing Sharon, Collaborating Caroline etc). Go-live roadshows formed a major element of INFORA’s global roll out. Each roadshow marked the launch of the platform location by location, the combination of music, video and mobile quizzes helped to engage our employees worldwide.
We set up a steering committee and advisory board early in the project, including people from the organisation who understood the global business requirements of PANDORA.
Although Corporate Communications were responsible for intranet governance, the INFORA Team strongly advocated local ownership in content creation and management of specific business and service portals. This was achieved through simplified permissions and content personalization to ensure employees were engaged with timely and relevant content.
Global roadshows to train our users
Training was of highly prioritized, and therefore we went on global roadshow to train our users and celebrate go-live; training for INFORA was delivered in two stages; first, 130 news editors and intranet site managers (known as super users) were trained around the world before go-live in each region. Additional training was then offered during each onsite roadshow. Post-launch, the central project team offered nearly 30 different targeted training sessions delivered via Skype for Business or in-person across 9 different themes for their global audience. These sessions covered best practices in utilizing Office 365 tools.
The impact it had
Initial impact of the campaign was measured through Webtrends analytics. Key highlights since launch include:
- 85% increase in visits to local and global news pages with 16,000 views in a month
- High adoption of Office 365 across the board with OneDrive usage increasing 335.6%
- 90% increase in global users with over 84 countries active on the site
- Approximately 8,000 unique monthly visitors
How it changed the way stakeholders perceived your team
We have been acknowledged for our organizational contribution by management and our colleagues around the world know us – the INFORA Team – as the human faces of PANDORA Global Digital Workspace.
Your personal learning which other practitioners can benefit from
What we can share with you from our PANDORA digital workspace project is that creating a powerful platform is only one piece of the puzzle. For maximum impact, you better help employees to see the real-life benefits, training them on how best to use the platform to meet their individual needs. An impactful launch and roll-out campaign is critical to achieving this, generating excitement and participation from those employees who may have previously been disconnected. For us at PANDORA, this is just the beginning of the mission for a more connected digital workplace. The next step is to continue to review feedback from employees, creating a roadmap of new features and functionalities to keep the workforce engaged.
What would you have done differently if you were to revisit the campaign?
Nothing. We can see from the feedback from the organisation that it went very well. And when we benchmark against other global companies, we have become the case of reference – a text book example of how to drive a change management exercise worldwide and drive adoption until the mission is fully completed!
- What does internal communication mean to you?
It means global organizational communication in a rapidly growing global company – in this case PANDORA.
- How is it practiced in your organization?
As an integrated discipline with the Corporate Communications and Sustainability Department, offering management consulting, strategy execution, digital platforms launch and strategic communications.
At PANDORA we have broken down communication siloes and built a global digital workspace that people can use to communicate and collaborate across the world, anywhere anytime. That is effective! (Combining Sharepoint, Office 365, Skype, OneDrive for Business and Yammer). It includes global, regional and local communication channels and 90 editors now producing stories and
- Please share an example/campaign that you are personally proud of working on and that made a significant impact to your organization
The internal marketing and engagement drive to on-board our colleagues worldwide to our new global digital work-space INFORA; we created a special universe for marketing of the digital work-space with offline and online printed cartoonish universe. Giving INFORA personality: Three cartoon characters have been developed to represent communication, collaboration and sharing. Life-size standees of these characters and posters were arranged in every global office, to reinforce the importance of these three key concepts which underpin their goal of creating a unified digital workplace. Local celebrations: Go-live celebrations, with plenty of razzamatazz from our INFORA core team and local communications departments, were an important part of the process. We also made INFORA playlists with music being played during go-live which helped create the right atmosphere along with gamification through mobile quizzes for all participants and cake-cutting ceremonies – effective tools used to create hype and traction around INFORA. Several of these are captured on film so colleagues can share the excitement around the world.
- What is the biggest challenge you face while going about managing internal communication?
To be included very early in business processes where communication needs to be incorporated from the very beginning.
- What according to you is the biggest opportunity that internal communicators have?
To become a truly strategic partner for top management and the business – delivering measurable business value.
- How can internal communicators add more value to the business?
To enable managers and employees to deliver on their business objectives and KPIs – serving as Business Enablers.
- What is your advice for people who are keen to join internal communication and make a career? What skills must they have or develop?
Try to identify what the business plans are for a given company and how communication can underpin the company’s people in pursuing their plans under the overall strategy. Skills needed: Excellent communication skills; intercultural skills, networking skills, digital skills, and presentation skills, business understanding (will come).
Missed previous stories from organizations featured on the Intraskope’s Spotlight on Internal Communication Series? Look them up here – Infosys, SOBHA Ltd., ICICI Securities, First Advantage, CK Birla Group, TVS Motors, GE, Suzlon, Tata Sons, Percept, Knight Frank, TCS Europe, Vedanta, Oxfam, Danske Bank and Diageo.
Intraskope (www.aniisu.com) is the first blog on internal communications in India and among the earliest around the globe. Begun in 2006, the blog has over 530 posts on topics such as employee engagement, leadership communication and employee branding and receives thousands of visits from across the world. The blog, receives over 50,000 visits every month from over 50 countries globally, offers learning resources for practitioners, academicians, and students including industry workshops, research reports, and checklists. Intraskope has been featured on leading global internal communication forums like Simply-Communicate, IC Kollectif and International Association of Business Communicators. It is hosted by Aniisu K Verghese, author of Internal Communications – Insights, Practices & Models (Sage, 2012).
If you are an internal communication leader working in a firm or a not-for-profit anywhere in the world and have an internal communication case study, campaign, research insight or a guest blog post to share please contact me on [email protected]