Published on 2016-07-27

Engaged employees are the lifeblood of a successful organization. The energy and vitality that they bring to their day to-day roles help strengthen their workplace and better position it for the future.

Companies such as Coca-Cola Canada are tackling the challenge of engaging their widespread workforce by opening up a two-way dialogue with them and having employees co-create a great place to work. They are accomplishing this with idea management software, which is not only helping to drive employee engagement, but innovation, as well.

An idea management platform is a highly effective way to have thousands of workers from coast to coast collaborate directly with leaders to improve a company’s business. For Coca-Cola Canada, considering the cost was equivalent to a two-day employee engagement event at a single facility, having a tool that helps leaders and employees collaborate 365 days a year provides tremendous value.

Here is how Coca-Cola Canada is leveraging the insights from its workforce and the results they’ve seen from the program:

Launching an idea management platform
In 2011, Coca-Cola Canada’s employee engagement survey revealed that there was room to improve the associate experience. Specifically, employees wanted a greater opportunity to voice their feedback, provide ideas for innovation, and become more involved in the organization’s decision making process.

Upon receiving the feedback, the leaders at Coca-Cola Canada determined they needed additional ways to engage employees. Up until then, broad company communication was done through newsletters or presentations shared by company leaders. These existing forms of communication were one-way and top-down and lacked the opportunity for employees to contribute to the discussion. In order to effectively engage their employees, the leaders needed to create a two-way dialogue.

Engaging employees was difficult because associates were geographically dispersed throughout various facilities and constantly on the move. Leadership knew that they needed a platform that was easy to use and could reach employees wherever they were. Coca-Cola Canada selected the SoapBox software platform because it was easy to use and would give employees the opportunity to collaborate and share their ideas anytime, anywhere through a mobile app.

The rollout of IdeaHub
Coca-Cola Canada rolled out IdeaHub (the name of their SoapBox) across over 50 Canadian facilities, reaching more than 6,300 associates working in areas such as production, warehouse, manufacturing, and sales. Forklift operators in warehouses, to merchandisers, to field sales representatives, were collaborating and sharing feedback on how to drive operational excellence, delight the customer, and make Coca-Cola the best place to work.

In order to ensure the program ran smoothly, Coca-Cola established a project team ready to take ideas with representatives from each functional unit in the company. The Executive Leadership Team has been briefed on a regular basis to help steer the strategic direction and reinforce the importance of the program within their functional units.

The results
Employees on IdeaHub are highly engaged with almost 60 percent of employees participating by ideating, voting and commenting. At the same time, leaders are fueling engagement by implementing employee ideas.

In addition, IdeaHub has led to realistic and impactful suggestions that Coca-Cola is using to improve their business, including:

Operational Excellence: Merchandise supervisors wanted to attend field sales meetings, and so this was put in place. It’s now easier for supervisors to get their teams ready for upcoming initiatives.

The Best Place to Work: A significant percentage of workers are shift workers, which presents its own unique challenges. The idea to better educate workers on coping with shift work resulted in Coca-Cola Canada now giving useful tips on coping in their internal magazine.

Customer Happiness: While a translation effort was underway, input from field sellers in touch with customers on a daily basis suggested other languages to include. This resulted in marketing materials now also being available in Korean and Chinese, making those customers happy and meeting the company’s multicultural growth strategy.

IdeaHub is reaching employees across the country and connecting frontline employees to senior leaders. From ideas that impact an associate’s work, to ideas that make Coca-Cola Canada a great place work, employees can see that they are the catalysts of positive change.

After implementing IdeaHub for just over a year, Coca-Cola Canada has already experienced many positive results. Great new ideas from IdeaHub are coming to the forefront that not only help the company, but also allow employees to play a part in decisions that impact their workplace. Employees are more engaged at work than ever before, paving the way to more innovation and long-lasting corporate success.

Jessica Weisz is the Chief Customer Officer at SoapBox. Jessica is passionate about how new ideas can drive positive change and the power of a community. Her background is in management consulting, customer experience, and change management at McKinsey & Company and BMO Financial Group. She has a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University and an MBA from Ivey Business School.


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