Driving Down the Fairway: The Back Nine of Internal Communication

Driving Down the Fairway: The Back Nine of Internal Communication

Driving for a Successful Back Nine of Internal Communication

Topgolf found themselves halfway through the match with discouraged associates and growing irritation.  Only nine holes in and frustration was apparent.  Executives were leaving the match early.  Associates were hitting golf balls blindly into a digital abyss.  The systems were there, yet communication was far from on par.  What went wrong in the first rollout?  Why wasn’t Tophub working as a functional intranet?  Not only was content outdated, it was also being emailed by the leaders of Topgolf– those who needed to exemplify best practices in modeling social tools.  With only a few departments using the portal, it was difficult to find connectivity.  New associates weren’t using the intranet, making onboarding an arduous process.  General associate engagement was sinking– and not in the way one would sink a putt.

It was time to step back, assess the communication fairway, and strategize a new swing. Striving for revitalization of the company culture within the intranet, a senior executive took over and slid behind the wheel of the cart.  It was time to hire the kind of caddy that would serve as a functional asset to Topgolf’s company-wide communications.

Teeing Off with a New Caddy For Internal Communication

The back nine began with corporate communications driving an entirely new project and Igloo Software as the caddy. Advisory was necessary beyond just choosing the best club.  It was time to find the best design, features, and ways to rollout a game changing intranet.

9.  It was time to recruit new key players, so representatives from all departments joined to play for the same team. While corporate communications owned the project, the input and talents of associates from all areas of the company built a collaborative structure to work from.

10.  Chipping for a functional communications structure, Topgolf followed careful advisory from Igloo in conducting focus groups and surveys of existing practices.  All agreed that the first objective was to create a central point for uploading and accessing all documents.

11.  Through feedback, Igloo was able to design an optimally functional homepage, specifically tailored to address the needs of Topgolf associate.  It was easier to navigate and conveyed a more socially-connected feel after incorporating the feedback from associates.

12.  With a more socially-connected homepage, all associates were able to cheer each other on and connect amidst vastly different shift times and job descriptions. Both full and part time associates could receive match updates no matter the time or place.

13. After teeing off for the new homepage, The Clubhouse, associates were reengaged in the match. Invigoration stemmed from Igloo’s innovations. The new homepage featured a social newsfeed, a daily calendar, list of quicklinks, a “chatter” tab for updates and associate posts, and a centrally-placed portal for uploading documents.

14.  This far along the course, it was vital to advocate for each department’s resources and communicate better throughout separate areas of the company. A partnership was forged between marketing and human resources for some deparment connectivity.  In order to improve onboarding and associate engagement, the promotional support from marketing perfectly paired alongside human resources’ onboarding initiatives to drive associate engagement further overall.

15.  Active leaders in their respective business departments were given statuses of intranet internal Champions.  Associates could watch their coworkers thrive in the match, yet also cheer on their successes in view of the entire company, igniting the desire to communicate via the intranet.

16.  Igloo’s advisory to include features such as company-wide blogs and calendars was a birdie. These features enabled clarity and visibility in information throughout the entire company, so all departments could feel united under a single brand.

17.  Choosing functional clubs, strategizing ways around departmental sandtraps, and driving the importance of communication home, the original adopters of the project felt overwhelmed.  A new Chief Information Officer was hired with a purpose of persuading and instilling commitment in internal integration challenges for the intranet.

18.  Finally reaching the last hole of the course, it was necessary for the key Topgolf “Clubhouse” players to evaluate the miles of green they had overcome, but also continue to look forward.  With such a successful first match, the game had become never-ending.

Future Success on the Course

The team at Topgolf determined there are a number of ways to indicate ongoing successful implementation of The Clubhouse, including but not limited to:

Using The Clubhouse for document and news sharing by all departments consistently

Increasing number of team members with continuously growing number of users logging in and posting

Updating News Feeds daily for optimal interaction

In addition, Topgolf has found that one of the most powerful gauges of success is when associates answer each other’s questions with “That information is in The Clubhouse.”

The Importance of Choosing the Right Caddy

Throughout the course it became apparent that recruiting a caddy like Igloo was the right decision.  Advisory on what club to use for onboarding, scheduling, communicating, collaborating, or simply functioning flawlessly, was thanks to a caddy that knew how to play the game.  Looking forward, Topgolf hopes to continuously aim in the right direction by implementing further intranet features like a more robust mobile strategy to engage younger associates, more direction and assistance in the onboarding process, and even an increase in administrator training.  Looking back, what went well?

Buy in from senior leadership is key

Keep it simple – if content is not easy to find people will give up quickly

Use key stakeholders from varying business units. A portal cannot be seen as a marketing or HR initiative

Have a long term content plan.  Building the portal is just the initial project. The hard part is keeping it going after.

Go mobile. Most people aren’t desk bound but they are inseparable from their phones.

Whether it is the virtual course, the physical course, or the corporate course, the game of social business takes an extreme amount of practice and dedication.  In the workplace, unlimited holes, or challenges, extend past 18, yet with each success, the game can only get better.