Case Study: How Concord Hotels Delivers Consistent Messaging Despite Language Barriers

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worker’s connected
different nationalities represented

Since 1985, Concord Hospitality has been an owner, operator, and developer of hotels across North America. The company has a portfolio of over 150 properties and 5,600 associates, most of them in frontline jobs, like housekeeping, food and beverage, and front desk teams. 

With an expanding portfolio and employees across nine different regions, the Raleigh-based company had to make sure it was able to maintain consistent messaging across the entire organization. But most of Concord’s employees are on the frontlines and unreachable by normal workplace channels, like email. Despite all of their communication efforts, Concord was still not consistently reaching 70% of its workforce.

Concord’s primary challenges included:

  • A reliance on face-to-face communication and notes posted by time clocks to reach frontline workers
  • Language barriers limiting connection with Concord’s diverse workforce 
  • Inconsistencies in messaging to 70% of its 5,600 workers

Concord Hospitality has always been a company that puts people first. The company just needed to find a better communication solution to support that mission.

  • Antiquated communication relied on in-person and bulletin boards to reach frontlines
  • Fractured messaging couldn’t reach everyone all at once
  • Language barriers hard to share messaging with multilingual workforce
  • Mobile-first solution real-time connection with the frontline
  • Consistent messaging 5,600 associates all on one platform
  • Reach everyone every associate can communicate in their preferred language
Concord Workshop with Beekeeper

A Mobile-First Solution That Reaches Everyone

Concord was determined to find a solution that could reach everyone in the organization. They tried a company intranet and workplace tools, like Yammer. But both were designed for employees who had a company email address and left out Concord’s most essential workers—frontline teams. 

When they found Beekeeper’s mobile collaboration tool, it was a perfect fit. With its ease of use, built-in security, robust administrative features, and compliance capabilities, it had all of the qualities Concord needed in a workplace app. 

Before rolling out Beekeeper, Concord set some initial goals:

  1. Get 50% of Concord associates activated in six months
  2. Connect with every associate at every hotel in Concord’s portfolio every day
  3. Overcome language barriers
  4. Deliver consistent messaging across the entire organization
  5. Cultivate a workforce that understands and feels connected to Concord’s purpose
“The biggest advantage of Beekeeper is the ability for each of us to see the other in a very authentic, transparent and real way, which is what creates relationships. And relationships and that kind of authenticity help us to be an organization that is full of innovation and ideas and success. And it’s driven by our frontline workers.” Debra Punke, Chief Human Resources Officer

When Concord partnered with Beekeeper in January 2019, it was meant to be a slow rollout to a few hotels in the Raleigh area. They hoped for a 50% activation rate by the six-month mark. But within a month, the mobile collaboration tool was all the buzz. In just three months, Concord had a 75% activation rate. 

Suddenly, those hard-to-reach workers were all together in one place and easily reachable in real-time. Better communication has led to higher productivity and greater efficiency. The ability to connect workers to Concord’s purpose, values, and philosophy has turned associates into business partners, and providing workers with a platform for education and better communication has boosted productivity and fueled innovation.

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2021 Busy Bee Award and the Annual Concord Leadership Conference

Concord Hospitality Busy Bee Awards
Centralized Communication
supporting accessibility, efficiency, and growth
Engaged Workforce
celebrating employee success to boost morale
Transition Tool
staying in touch during tough times and facilitating the return to work

Beekeeper has become a one-stop employment shop for Concord, optimizing operational efficiency. Company documents, systems, and procedures are consolidated and easily accessible on the app. Workers can directly access policies, take surveys, and send and receive messages (and most other things they need to perform their jobs) all in the palm of their hand. 

Having a centralized hub that everyone can access on their mobile device has supported Concord’s growth. When the company acquires a new hotel and a whole new team, they’re activated on Beekeeper and immediately connected to the entire organization for a seamless transition into the Concord family.

Concord uses the platform to boost engagement. Workers are publicly celebrated and recognized for their successes. Opening up communication has created a fully-connected organization and flattened the hierarchy by eliminating barriers between the frontline and leadership. It also created a home for Concord Groups (C Groups) where associates have a place to connect with one another based on their backgrounds and common interests. C Groups can share information about themselves with their colleagues which foster a culture built on relationships and understanding.

There was another unexpected benefit for the company. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Concord had to lay off 5,000 associates. But with Beekeeper, they stayed in touch with these workers throughout the pandemic. This constant communication, engagement, and transparency put workers’ minds at ease during a tough time. Now, as the company rebuilds its workforce, Beekeeper’s been a big part of welcoming people back home to Concord.

Concord has achieved its goals, and then some:

  • Inline translation allows Concord to easily connect and communicate with all of its associates who represent 105 different countries, supporting Concord’s mission to be “a great workplace for all.” 
  • The ability to share schedules and manage shift changes right away has supported the flexibility that’s become essential in today’s workplace. 
  • Property streams on Beekeeper give associates direct access to information that empowers frontline associates to deliver faster, better customer service, like offering local restaurant recommendations. 
  • Beekeeper is connected with Concord’s LMS system so employees can use the app for onboarding training. They can also do microtraining right on the app, giving them more career growth opportunities at Concord. 
  • Concord uses Beekeeper to help tackle the labor shortage, using the tool to promote its internal referral program so employees can bring in friends or family for positions within the company and receive financial incentives