At large organizations around the globe, communicating internally with a widely-distributed staff is difficult, even if they’re all based in one location. It’s a challenge London’s Heathrow Airport faced, until they switched to a digital workplace built for mobile workforces. Now, with Beekeeper, they’re running more efficiently than ever.
At 4.7 square miles, Heathrow Airport is the size of downtown Los Angeles. Internal communication for the airport’s 7,500 employees meant a lot of emails, texts, and, yes, paperwork. So last year, Heathrow built a digital workplace they call the Hub, a virtual space to connect the constantly mobile, dispersed staff. Transitioning to an employee communication app has had significant effects on the operational efficiency of one of the world’s busiest airports.
The Heathrow team selected Beekeeper, the digital workplace app, to facilitate internal communication. Beekeeper integrated seamlessly with their existing employee portal, allowing employees to onboard easily and engage immediately.
Before you can make the leap to a digital workplace, consider the following:
- Know Your Workforce. You need to know what your distributed workforce needs to perform their jobs efficiently. At a place like Heathrow, there are thousands of people managing different tasks so a one-size-fits-all employee communication app wouldn’t work. Senior Digital Communications Manager, Neil Barnett, and his colleagues, held staff workshops. “We wanted to find out what would help them in their daily job to actually make them more efficient.”
- Know Your Challenges. Understanding the hurdles your company faces helps to build a better digital workplace specific to your company, and avoid potential pitfalls. As Cristian Grossmann, CEO of Beekeeper, outlines, challenges worth examining include security, distributed workforces, inefficient technology, and lack of engagement in internal communications.
Once you’ve done your research, you’re ready to reap the rewards of a digital workplace.
More Efficient Results in a Time Sensitive Setting
Like any airport, public safety is the top priority. 213,000 passengers travel through Heathrow every day, keeping the security team on high alert at all times. A digital workplace reduces response time – an invaluable tool for airport safety. Heathrow’s dedicated team of 3,800 security personnel work around the clock. When there’s an alert, internal communication must happen immediately. A two-way, real-time, employee communication app allows the team to manage the situation promptly.
Employees can communicate through secure group messaging, dedicated streams for specific departments and individual messages. In emergency situations, confirmation campaigns are especially helpful, confirming that an urgent message is read. This real-time internal communication allows prompt attention to security detail and minimizes service disruption to the public. At Heathrow, Beekeeper’s internal communication app optimizes functionality and keeps everything moving smoothly – and safely.
Accessible Interface for Real time Internal Communication
Ease of use is a key component of employee communication apps. At Heathrow, their digital workplace platform works across mobile devices. Beekeeper’s internal communications app has easy onboarding. In place of a time-consuming account creation process, management can easily generate a QR code for employees to scan for a fast, simple login.
“The platform is very intuitive so we don’t have to spend a lot of time explaining how to use it. Heathrow colleagues span across all age groups, so simplicity is very important to cater to all technology skill levels.” – Mitch Austin, Security Communications Manager at Heathrow
A Digital Workplace Creates a Unified Workforce
One surprise benefit of Heathrow’s new employee portal? The level of employee communication and engagement through the different communication streams Beekeeper offers. According to Mitch Austin, employees started to use group messaging to engage with one another. “There are also benefits we didn’t expect like people sharing personal stories and recognizing each other’s achievements.”
Employees can also handle their own shift management, swapping a scheduled work day with a colleague through peer-to-peer chats rather than going through management. It’s been a game-changer for efficient internal communications and has created a more unified workforce despite the wide distribution of employees across Heathrow.
How an Employee Portal Improves Customer Service
By communicating through an employee portal to a widespread workforce, employees who might have felt out of the loop feel connected and more informed about the company they work for. That generates higher employee engagement and a boost in morale which translates to better customer service. Airports can be stressful environments for people who are usually under time constraints. If a traveler needs help reaching a gate, finding their baggage, or another travel-related matter, good customer service can make a stressful situation easier. Good service goes a long way in building trust and loyalty.
When a large-scale operation with a large distributed staff needs rapid, real-time internal communication, adopting a digital workplace garners the best results. Heathrow Airport is a perfect example of how implementing Beekeeper’s employee communication app can benefit the entire workforce and operations for maximum efficiency and function.