With almost 450 staff working in 7 different locations and 4 separate divisions, Wyandot needed a central location to organize documents. Six months later, their intranet fulfilled that objective and more. When the sudden impact of COVID-19 hit, the organization was prepared and went completely online to engage their employees, keeping them informed and providing every resource they needed.
Allison McLain, Wyandot BHN director of communications and development says:
I think we have added more content in the last 30 days than in the last 6 months combined. A lot of staff updates and changes to services, resources for COVID-19, and of course all of our policies, procedures that staff need working remotely. It’s also been the primary way for staff to access our network remotely and get to all the other web-based tools like training
The COVID-19 crisis forced offices to close, but mental health services are more important than ever. Wyandot knew it was their duty to continue serving their community while ensuring their staff and clients feel supported.
Wyandot Center for Community Behavioral Healthcare (BHN) is a group of CARF accredited healthcare organizations that share the same values, the same vision, and the same purpose: to help people with mental health needs thrive.
I have no idea what we would do without the intranet during a pandemic.
Keeping remote employees informed and engaged throughout the COVID-19 pandemic
Even before the crisis hit, Allison McLain, director of communications and development for Wyandot, followed a strategy for the organization’s intranet based around engagement. This meant adding content employees need mixed with content they enjoy seeing.
Here’s how McLain used internal communication best practices to manage the platform throughout the crisis:
Best practice: Keeping remote staff informed
Wyandot’s staff include social workers, mental health professionals and people who are often away from their desks. Wyandot moved all important documents and apps onto the intranet which boosted adoption exponentially. Rather than accessing their training site, mileage app or help desk tickets from their desktop, these now lived on their cloud intranet:
• Staff updates
• Changes to services
• Resources for COVID-19,
• All remote policies & procedures
• Remote access to the network
• Daily tips for mental health
“A lot of the clients we serve need to access community resources: housing subsidies, diapers, formula. Before, would have different people across the organization trying to collect this information from all these different organizations. Now we have 1 person responsible for keeping all forms up to date, and he keeps them all on the intranet. Staff can access all these resources on from our intranet instead of having to go back to the office, open the spreadsheet, find the form then make sure it’s the right one. Now, they can access it from their phone right on the spot.”
Best practice: building data-driven content
The intranet gives insight to show what content is gaining traction and what is not. Instead of just assuming what their 400+ staff want to see, they use the data from ‘insights’ to check what content is gaining traction. This way, rather than just sending out information that’s not resonating, the internal communicator can go back and say, “that’s not what they’re looking for” and have the data to back it up.
Staff really like practical information; holiday hours are the most looked at piece. I’ve had to tell the CEO, I’m sorry but you just can’t compete with holiday hours. It’s one of the things I love most about having an intranet as opposed to sending communications over email, is that you can measure it.
Best practice: Embracing the fun side!
Second to holiday hours, the most looked at feature on Wyandot’s intranet is staff photos. Using this information, the HR department created a Wyandot “spirit week” where staff send in photos to share on the intranet. Especially in times of crisis and uncertainty, maintaining engagement and connection with colleagues is essential in managing staff morale.
We do a lot of fun stuff to keep staff motivated and connected—last week we had a poll on what Superpower staff would like to have (time travel was the favorite). Most recently, the poll was which Harry Potter/Hogwarts house would you belong? So far, Hufflepuff is number one, but we’ll see if that’s the official winner.
Best practice: Keeping policies organized for highest quality of service
Wyandot is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). CARF is an international voluntary accreditation provider that requires healthcare organizations to provide the highest quality services to their clients. Part of the stringent application process is to verify the proper forms are organized and easily accessible.
In terms of operations, it’s also incredibly important for Wyandot to keep documents well organized, as staff often go into client’s homes. With IC’s intranet software, they can easily access the forms they need on their cell phones to avoid having to come into the office or double check the form is up to date.
One of the things that pushed us to get the intranet up was that it would help us achieve CARF-accreditation. We needed to prove that we had a system to keep documents accessible and updated. The document management system is so easy to organize, and the policy manager tool ensures standards and policies are kept up to date. The surveyor was so impressed they had never seen a filing system so easy to use.
Praise for internal communications
The power of communication is visceral, but the intranet makes it tangible. The visualization of content, power of social engagement, and the measurability of information sharing is changing the way companies are communicating.
Luckily, Wyandot already had the tools available to go completely virtual during a pandemic. For organizations who were not so lucky, we have developed a ‘quick launch’ that gets internal communications up and running within 5 days of installation.
I’m always getting compliments on the intranet, and the IT department loves it!
IC is different because we don’t just offer an intranet. We partner with organizations and support them through our proven process built on internal communications to create a thriving workplace. The methods we use have been perfected from over 20 years of experience and thousands of organizations. The process has also been validated in research from Simon Fraser University’s Mitacs report titles ‘Internal Communication for Business Best Practices and Measuring Success.’ Written by Peter A. Chow-White, Philippa R. Adams & Jenn Mentanko (February, 2020)
If you would like to partner with us to build a thriving workplace, book a call with our account executive.