Information immediately and for everyone, employee care and appreciation: How Groz-Beckert digitalized internal communications with its oneGB employee app, achieved maximum user numbers in record time and strengthened employee connections during the coronavirus crisis.
The Company: From Albstadt to the Rest of the World
Groz-Beckert, a family-owned company based in Albstadt, Germany, is the world’s leading provider of machine needles, precision parts and fine tools for the textile industry. Founded in 1852, the company operates in more than 150 countries, and in 2019 had a workforce of more than 9,000 people and posted revenue of EUR 670 million.
The corporate culture is characterized by appreciation and a sense of responsibility toward employees and their families. Employees of Groz-Beckert have typically been with the company for many years. Many long-time employees feel personally responsible for upholding the company’s traditions and the high quality of its precision products.
A Digital Tool for Greater Connectedness
In 2019, Groz-Beckert sought a solution for modernizing its internal communication, making it simpler and more effective. The company wanted to take its strong focus on employees into the digital age and involve and integrate employees more directly. All communication was made more open and transparent, with no delays in getting information out to all employees.
The initiative also aimed to digitalize HR processes. Specifically, the company’s SAP system was integrated into the solution in order to provide employees with easy access to HR self-services such as vacation requests and time tracking.
Groz-Beckert wanted to implement mobile communication with its employees to give everyone immediate and direct access to the same information – no matter where they work.
Initial Situation and Provider Selection
Few production staff had previously been integrated into the company’s digital communication structures. Information and news were primarily shared in the traditional way – through management, posters or flyers – and therefore, usually with a time delay. In Albstadt, where the new solution was to be rolled out first, nearly 50 percent of employees relied on these traditional modes of communication. One of the first challenges to be overcome was the severe restrictions concerning the use of smartphones in many areas of the factory premises.
“The team from Limeade was upfront and down-to-earth, didn’t spend too long on sales talk and immediately set about looking for practical solutions”
Alexandra Bartsch, HR Manager at Groz-Beckert
Decision Following Test under Real Conditions
Following a recommendation, project management decided to consider partnering with Limeade. The team of representatives from HR, Corporate Communications and IT also considered established providers of employee apps. With Limeade EX, Groz-Beckert ultimately chose a solution that is quick to deploy, scalable and meets the requirements of the HR department as well as Internal Communication. The decision was not just based on solution features, but also the strong strategy focus of the Limeade team. Groz-Beckert was particularly impressed by the fast production of a branded, customised test version. This allowed the company to try out the app under real conditions, which quickly led to a high degree of familiarity with the application.
Pilot Phase and Launch
The process of customizing Limeade EX to meet Groz-Beckert’s unique needs started in October of 2019. A group of pilot users then tested the app and actively promoted it within the company. At the end of January 2020, Groz-Beckert released the app to all employees at headquarters under the name oneGB. Several onboarding events were hosted to familiarise users with the app.
Content with high Usage Value
The most frequently requested content includes regular updates from corporate management and the cafeteria menu, as well as IT tips, news from HR and information about the Albstadt site and from the works council. Content is posted directly by members of each departments. Even the apprentices have their own information channel. The app is also linked with the SAP system at Groz-Beckert.
Ideal Solution during the Coronavirus Crisis
The launch of oneGB coincided with the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the app provided the company with a communication platform that made it possible to directly reach all employees with important information about changes in shift plants, onsite safety protocols, and other pertinent information.
All communication from the crisis team as immediately published on oneGB. The app has therefore quickly established itself as the primary means of communication. Some departments also use the chat functionality to collaborate and exchange ideas, which has proven very useful for people working different shifts or from home.
“We’re delighted at how quickly the solution was implemented and how well it is working. A big plus point for us is that we can easily createour own micro-apps without having to regenerate the app. Internal systems and services can also be integrated directly and rapidly.”
Robert Zobel, software developer at Groz-Beckert
OneGB in Numbers
Within 90 days, 65 percent of the 2,200 employees at company headquarters in Albstadt had registered. The usage rate over 7 days (Weekly Active User – WAU) was 90 percent in the fourth month. Initial feedback and responses to posts began to appear shortly after the app’s launch – and the trend continues to rise. Groz-Beckert plans to roll out oneGB to other German sites during 2020, followed by international sites.
High Usage Numbers in a Short Time
There were a number of contributing factors to the rapid implementation of Limeade Engagement at Groz-Beckert, the high levelof acceptance by employees within a short time and the excellent usage rates for oneGB.
1. Content with Added Value
The app had built-in HR processes such as time tracking and vacation information. It also provides widely requested information such as the cafeteria menu. Since March, the app has played a key role in communication on the handling of the coronavirus crisis.
2. All Stakeholders on Board
The digitalisation of internal communication was a key requirement for company management. The project received the full support of the departments involved, with HR, corporate communications and IT working hand in hand with the works council and data protection officers.
3. Meticulous Preparation
Clear responsibilities formed the basis for excellent cooperation with the experts from Limeade.
A test version branded for Groz-Beckert provided an early opportunity for thorough testing under real conditions.
The pilot users not only provided valuable feedback but were also asked by project management to actively promote the app to their colleagues, which they did in large numbers.
In a series of onboarding events, employees got to know the app and were able toget answers to questions on issues such as data protection.
Groz-Beckert permitted the use of mobile devices at designated locations, such as break rooms, the cafeteria and outdoors.
“In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, we’re delighted to have oneGB. Thanks to the app, we can share important information and decisions with all employees directly and without any delays. Colleagues also have the opportunity to provide feedback and ask us questions – and everything works seamlessly and in real time.”
Birte Kleefisch, Head of Corporate Communications at Groz-Beckert