In order to be efficient, organizations should have a central place for employees to access company information, but rarely do we make accessibility a priority. Too many organizations use traditional intranet sites as a hub to drop documents and content, but it can be quite taxing on the HR and Communication teams tasked with keeping all that content updated.
I sat down with Ann Cherin, Learning & Engagement Cultivator at Equal Exchange, who initially had some pain points with the current way her company was communicating internally. She was responsible for finding a solution to replace their file sharing platform and one of their main goals with this project was to have a single place for employees to access what they needed throughout the day.
Equal Exchange, prior to Universe, did not have a strategy for updating information to ensure employees had access to accurate versions of content, and they wanted an organized place to host their files. They were using an older file sharing platform, which they did not find to be user-friendly or well organized. Some staff abandoned the old system and started using Google Drive and Dropbox, which led to confusion and ultimately files stored on multiple, separate platforms.
Complete access to accurate, up-to-date content at your fingertips
Ann expressed one of the main appeals, and ultimately the biggest factor in choosing Universe as their digital workplace, is our full integrated with G Suite. They no longer had to manage separate systems, and Universe clarified how employees can better use G Suite and get the most value out of their current investment with these tools. Built around G Suite and Drive, Universe was able to solve that problem - they now have complete access to accurate, up-to-date content at their fingertips.
Unfortunately, we hear this too often - organizations depend on email and therefore a lot of important communication gets lost in the “dark hole”, also known as your inbox. Equal Exchange was looking for an alternative to the mass emails they were regularly sending to staff to share important updates. In the future they plan to use Universe Channels, which keep employees up-to-date with posts, updates, news and announcements, while using familiar collaboration tools with their teams and colleagues.
Does your organization have an accessible directory for viewing your colleagues in a visual way? Equal Exchange, similar to many of our other clients, was previously using a paper directory and didn’t have a way to leverage their Google directory efficiently. They are now using the Universe People section, which allows you to search colleagues by characteristic, get an instant visual of the structure of your organization, see an individual’s availability, and more. Equal Exchange has seen People section to be very helpful in accessing information, including their corporate directory.
High adoption and satisfaction rates, thanks to consumer-grade user interface
Equal Exchange had looked at several social intranet platforms before deciding on Universe. Ann shared that some of the others had interesting features, but they were over-complicated and lacked the intuitiveness that Universe had. The others met their needs, but had unnecessary functionality that ultimately made it more confusing to the employees. Universe is fundamentally simple and easy to use - giving users the functionality they need, without all the nonsense that gets in the way.
Ann shared there was immediate excitement with Universe. Even the sceptical and traditional-thinking executives are using the platform and are able to find things they would not have been able to prior with the old system. Before, users had gotten out of the habit of thinking there was a central place to find the information they needed because the old platform was not helpful. Now, they have shifted the thinking, and users have one place to go to access all they need throughout their work day. Universe has sparked people to think about better ways to work together; they are sharing ideas and having more conversations within Universe Channels.
They are seeing clear benefits with a single organized system to host their data and have a streamlined communication with staff. As they continue to leverage Universe, Equal Exchange plans to use the platform to facilitate company democracy, host nominations for their annual elections, and more through Channels. They are also excited to use the mobile application to engage employees who are both in their warehouse and on the production floor and do not have access to a computer throughout the day.
Equal Exchange, a pioneer and U.S. market leader in Fair Trade since 1986, is a $70 million importer and wholesaler of high quality, organic coffee, tea, olive oil, bananas and other foods to customers across the United States. 100% of Equal Exchange products are fairly traded, benefiting more than 50 small farmer co-operatives in 40 countries around the world. Headquartered in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, the company also has offices in Canton, Massachusetts, Portland, Oregon, St. Paul, Minnesota, Cleveland, Ohio, with many sales representatives working from home offices and scattered around the United States.