As Communications Security Manager at Heathrow Airport, Mitch Austin ensures smooth internal communications and security at one of the world’s busiest airports with over 75.7 million annual passengers. As one could imagine, security is of the utmost importance at this international airport that serves 194 destinations in 80 countries. Mitch’s job is to oversee internal communications and employee engagement across a workforce of over 3,800 employees, which is ideal for an internal communications Heathrow Airport App.
Mitch took the time to speak with us about why internal communications security is so important, the biggest challenges he faces in this area, and how Beekeeper’s team app with secure messaging helps address these challenges. Below are his Q&A responses to give you some insight into how our clients are using Beekeeper to improve operations, internal communications, and employee engagement to create an optimal workplace environment for staff and customers.
Q: Can you provide examples of why secure messaging and internal communications are so important, especially at an international airport?
A: Due to the time-sensitive nature of the jobs we do, it’s vital that all our colleagues are up-to-date with what is happening across security quickly. Our widespread airport campus has many colleagues at multiple locations who never get to see or speak to each other. To perform our jobs well, we need to ensure our internal communication is effective and consistent to stay on the same page regarding security and operations across the airport.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you face with airport communications regarding security?
A: Protection, safety, and security are the main priorities at Heathrow Airport, but service also plays a major part in what we do. Well-informed and engaged employees deliver better service to our passengers which helps build our reputation and trust with our customers. The airport also runs 24 hours a day, which poses an airport communication challenge for managers to see and meet with their teams face-to-face due to shift schedules and location. Having a streamlined internal communication channel with a team app where we can communicate via secure messaging with our employees at any time of day and in any location is really important.
Q: Do you also focus on employee engagement or strictly internal communications?
A: We focus on both as they go hand in hand. Employees who are well-informed and regularly communicate with the rest of the team and their line manager make much more engaged colleagues. This also provides a more positive and efficient working environment.
Q: What has changed since Heathrow’s adoption of Beekeeper?
A:The major difference is the peer-to-peer communication through secure messaging that’s possible with a team app. Employees are taking ownership of company initiatives and sharing them across the business, colleague to colleague, rather than just absorbing a top-down corporate message.
Our employee feedback culture has also taken more shape. Colleagues feel more comfortable posting topics that concern them on Beekeeper as they know their voices are being heard and acknowledged. We want to develop our employee feedback processes even further by adopting the employee survey feature in our team app. Without Beekeeper, we would only be conducting employee surveys once or twice a year.
Beekeeper incentivizes employees to share their opinions to improve the organization. For example, colleagues voiced that the busses bringing them from the airport to the parking lot were always late. We had a meeting regarding new shift schedules and invited involved employees to weigh in on how to improve the process.
Q: What do you and your team love most about using Beekeeper?
A: The team app 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. Beekeeper has allowed us to digitize some of our operational processes like colleague shift management and daily briefings. There are also benefits we didn’t anticipate, such as the popularity of employees sharing personal stories and chiming in to recognize each other’s achievements.