Reed Coleman’s strategy for rolling out New Season Market’s first intranet was based on two principles:
- It must build upon workplace culture
- It must remain simple & easy-to-use
As the new Internal Communications Manager at New Seasons Market, it was critical for Coleman to come in with a strong strategy and execution plan for deploying their first company intranet. After all, the first pass at putting a company intranet in place was not as successful as expected. So New Seasons Marketing decided to switch to a less complicated software vendor and get a simple, comprehensive solution right out-of-the-box with Intranet Connections.
Reestablishing the Workplace Culture
New Seasons Market had been a cinderella story in Portland. Three local families and fifty of their closest friends, joined forces to open the first store back in 2000. Known as ‘The Friendliest Store in Town’, New Seasons Market quickly expanded and currently has over twelve locally-owned stores throughout Portland neighborhoods.
However, with growth came challenges. New Seasons Market knew it was important to preserve and strengthen the local, friendly neighborhood store culture as new stores opened and new employees were hired.
Establishing a Social Intranet with an Unplugged Workforce
Establishing a new social intranet at New Seasons Market was not going to be as simple as to deploy the solution and hand everyone their login credentials. The truth was, 50% of employees were unplugged, exclusively communicating locally (face-to-face). So how was Coleman going to engage half of her workforce who didn’t have email addresses or work stations?
Easily, Coleman and her talented IT team would install intranet kiosks in break rooms and touch screens in common rooms for regular employee shift meetings. But most importantly, Coleman would stress, the intranet will be simple – easy to digest and navigate.
Translating Workplace Culture Through the Intranet
Given that New Seasons Market had grown so quickly, Coleman faced some unique challenges with the new communication model. Coleman wanted to seamlessly connect the multiple locations through a common thread, their intranet. As she designed the intranet she organized strong engagement sections around – ‘Grab & Go’ easy service links, ‘From Our Customers’ and ‘Classified’ buy & sell exchange.
Not to mention the top headlines with employee wide emails that previously only reached 50% of employees with an inbox. With the addition of the Kronos (payroll software) integration, employees are finding more and more resources through the company intranet.
An Intranet Name that Infuses Workplace Culture
Ironically, Coleman and a fellow New Seasons Market employee had named ‘The Pantry’ for New Seasons Market, even before being named the new Internal Communications Manager. Not unlike many businesses focused on workplace culture, New Seasons Market put their employees to the challenge to come up with the best name for their new social intranet.
There were many good intranet names thrown into the hat. But ‘The Pantry’ seemed to really incorporate what New Seasons Market wanted their intranet to achieve for their employees. Coleman really describes ‘The Pantry’ best: “It is the place in the kitchen where you store all your items, all your resources for your kitchen – your go-to place, hub and wheelhouse of your kitchen. It was critical we used our own lingo to describe our intranet so it resonates with our employees.”
Building Upon Existing Workplace Culture
After having successfully deployed the New Seasons Market social intranet, Coleman isn’t done yet. She has big plans for ‘The Pantry’, including reducing the amount of standard company email and printed documents while sustaining a simple intranet that is not technical and intimidating for any employee.
Coleman’s litmus test before adding anything to ‘The Pantry’ is: “Is this piece of information or feature important to everyone? If it isn’t, we don’t include it. You must be very selective with content to keep your intranet simple.”
How have you built workplace culture through your intranet? I’d love to hear from you!