Frontline workers are the lifeblood of many companies operating in the food and retail space. And yet the tools they use to connect their frontline workforce aren’t always effective for keeping workers engaged and informed.
For Ole Smoky Distillery, a moonshine and whiskey distillery operating in Tennessee, frontline workers are directly responsible for the production and distribution of their product. They are the ones producing, bottling, blending, and providing quality control for products, as well as working at tasting bars and ringing up bottles at registers. With workers spread across three different locations and a lot of overlap between production and managerial roles, OSDistillery was looking for tools to keep its complex, distributed workforce connected.
The Problem: Before adopting Beekeeper, one of the main challenges Ole Smoky Distillery faced was the disconnect between corporate and frontline employees. The communication system and tools were not well-suited for the needs of their frontline workforce. HR would typically roll out announcements and policies to supervisors by email, but frontline workers didn’t have access to email and had to rely on word-of-mouth communication to receive updates.
Ole Smoky Distillery found that word-of-mouth communication wasn’t effective, especially as the company started growing quickly.
Roland Parker, Employee Experience Specialist at Ole Smoky Distillery said,
“Before, everyone was connected. Everybody knew each other. A good chunk of the employees were from the same area and went to the same high school. There was a lot of…organic communication between people. And now, we’ve gotten to the point that we’re so big that [organic communication] is not reliable and that is why Beekeeper was such a crucial thing for us.”
Ole Smoky Distillery also needed to implement tools that allowed them to quickly hire and process new employees. They didn’t want to introduce systems that were too difficult and time-consuming to integrate.
The Solution: Ole Smoky Distillery was already using ADP for payroll and wanted tools that would connect with ADP in some capacity. Roland reached out to his ADP Sales Representative, who recommended that he check out Beekeeper on ADP Marketplace. This is where Roland learned that the distillery could integrate the two systems seamlessly into one communication platform accessible to all employees.
The integration made it possible to automatically synchronize existing users from ADP to Beekeeper, as well as automatically create and suspend users in Beekeeper when they were created or terminated in ADP. This meant that Ole Smoky Distillery was able to immediately start using Beekeeper’s other features while maintaining their existing familiarity with ADP.
Improving Employee Engagement and Onboarding with Beekeeper and ADP
As the Ole Smoky Distillery workforce grew, the company wanted to continue providing a good onboarding experience. They knew that a positive onboarding experience was crucial for retention and satisfaction, not only for frontline workers but also managers.
“If we have a really good onboarding experience, then we have a good experience as a whole for all of our employees. If we have new hires come in and they’re well-equipped, that takes stress off the managers from a training standpoint.”
While ADP is dedicated to HR must-haves, like payroll, IDs, and company policies, Beekeeper is used to answer logistical questions from new employees. Together, the two tools help make information more accessible to minimize overwhelm during onboarding.
Access to Information
One of the main challenges for Ole Smoky Distillery was providing its employees access to information in a way that was organized and relevant. They wanted their workforce to stay informed, not overwhelmed. One of the main challenges for integrating ADP and Beekeeper was deciding how the information would be grouped together and distributed.
Using Beekeeper’s Streams allowed the company to create communication channels dedicated to updates, policies, company announcements, and job openings, to name a few. Managers at each Ole Smoky Distillery location now have the ability to distribute information that is unique and relevant to their teams.
Boosting Employee Engagement
Not only do Streams keep information accessible and organized, but they have also become a good way for the company to gauge what interests employees have in different areas of the company. Ole Smoky Distillery knew that improving employee engagement and retention meant involving their entire workforce in decision-making processes.
One particular engagement activity Parker leads is video introductions. He visits various departments and team members weekly to ask them questions and video record their responses on his phone. He posts these videos in Beekeeper to help employees get to know each other better. In addition to asking employees about their history with Ole Smoky Distillery, he also likes to throw in a fun question.
“One that I like to ask is, ‘If you could fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck, which would you prefer?’ You get an understanding of their thinking and it gets people to open up.”
While ADP was helping to manage employee information and life cycles, Beekeeper improved other aspects of the employee experience, like onboarding, retention, and engagement. Frontline employees are now able to receive real-time updates on their mobile devices, have access to documentation, and communicate with managers and company leadership.