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How Ark Home Healthcare Connects Their Distributed Workforce With Their Own Branded Employee App

Posted by Reagan Nyandoro on 24-Nov-2016 13:03:40



Ark Home Healthcare, like many companies in hospital and health care, were facing the challenge of connecting their field workers. Ark Health's non-desk workforce are spread out over 8 locations nationwide and have little access to the internet, which resulted in them feeling disjointed and losing sight of the bigger picture.

Sophie Taylor, Marketing Manager at Ark Home Healthcare joined us for an interview and told us how they have solved this problem with their own branded employee app.

 What problem/ goal did the project set out to solve/ achieve?

We are a home care provider and in our industry, staff turnover is notoriously high. Because our business is spread across 8 locations nationwide, our 900 strong team are predominantly field based and don’t often have access to central documentation and information. These staff are care workers who have very little access to the internet or emails and only come into their relevant branch to collect equipment, hand in paperwork and attend routine meetings. This makes it really difficult for our senior team to communicate messages and keep our care team in the loop of what is going on across the business.

 Our teams often feel disjointed and don’t see the bigger picture that we are one big team. We wanted a solution that would make staff feel as though they are part of something, an opportunity to know what’s going on in the business, talk to colleagues from other branches in other areas of the country and give them the opportunity to provide feedback about their job. We also wanted to increase staff retention and give people the opportunity to discuss their issues before making the decision to leave our business.

We decided to look at an App that our employees could access from their company mobile or personal phones that wouldn't interrupt with their work or home life.

 How did you ensure the project plan would address the business challenges you were setting out to solve?

We completed a stage of research to assess different App providers to find the right fit for us. We liaised with Workvine and Staffbase, our App partners, to discuss our problems and they were able to create a perfect solution for us. They put a lot of work into fully understanding our business needs and the problems we wanted to solve. Although we are a smaller company, together with Workvine, we decided to design a complete personalized App, which allowed us to mold it exactly to our specific needs.

We created an App plan which included various sections and categories, each providing a solution to one of our problems. We decided to start with a basic launch including a news page, about page, employee survey (which we were able to connect to our existing survey on Survey Monkey) and a ‘rate my day’ feature where staff can tell us about their day.

 We then created a plan of activity that we wanted to gradually roll out over several months to increase staff engagement and keep the content fresh, which included creating a staff network where individuals could talk to one another, and a suggestions box where staff could make a suggestion and if this was chosen and introduced to the business, the individual would win a prize.

How did you ensure the project implementation went smoothly?

As a starting point we discussed the App with all of our senior team including each Branch Manager. Once we had their support and they were bought into the App, we began a branch roll out. This included working closely with our IT team, who was also quickly convinced, to download the App remotely onto every company device in the business. We then liaised with the Payroll and HR teams to develop a full staff list and in turn created access codes for every member of staff. The possibility to create these codes instead of invites per email was a very helpful offer from Staffbase. Each individual then received a letter to their home telling them all about the App and how they needed to log in.

 The App was popular immediately as it was fresh and new. The only stumbling block we had was encouraging individuals to log on; we understand everyone leads busy lives. Staffbase told us that other companies had had great success with games and prices connected to signing in. So to encourage staff to get involved, we launched prize draws and competitions which worked brilliantly. We then promoted these competitions with posters in branches and flyers attached to payslips.

 Following this, we created designated ‘App Champions’ in each branch – individuals that were best placed to promote the App to the care workers when they spoke to them on the phone and when they came into the branch. We ran a competition alongside this and the branch with the best uptake over an 8 week period, the App Champion won a gift voucher. We then released a Branch League table every week to develop a little healthy competition between branches. This initiative was very successful and saw one of our branches increase to 83% engagement of individuals on the App.

We manage our App usage closely to ensure it runs smoothly, including our training team enrolling new starters onto the App and a weekly update to branches with a full list of individuals in each team who are enrolled.

 In addition, the Staffbase app is able to grow with our needs, should we want or need new features it is always possible to add on and in case of problems they are just one phone call away.

How did you include the opinions of employees in the project to ensure long-term uptake and buy-in?

We have a ‘staff engagement’ survey on the App where individuals can include their opinions of what they would like to see on the App. We also have a suggestions box (mentioned previously) where staff can submit their ideas and suggestions of how we can improve things. Our employees really have got involved and shared some great ideas with us  that we have launched on the App – including selling pages for staff to sell items, a healthy living section where we promote weekly healthy living tips and a support page where our staff can find out more about working in complex end of life support pages and get advice and guidance from colleagues.

We also host quarterly listening lunches in each branch where our staff can share their opinions of the App. This provides a great opportunity for our teams to tell each other what they use the App for and why it works for them.

What was the quantifiable business impact and results achieved?

After just 8 months we have a central communications tool that 65% of our organisation is involved in and accesses daily. 43% of these individuals are actively involved in the App, reading news and submitting comments and ideas. This is a huge achievement for us and staff feedback has been excellent – people feel part of the wider team and feel like we include them in decision making (e.g we recently asked for opinions for our new website name and we went with the majority vote on the App).

results infographic.jpgAlthough we are delighted that we have 520 users on the App, we want to get all 800 staff members engaged and we are constantly working to spread the word about the App and the benefits to everyone.

We feel we have given our staff a voice – an opportunity to discuss their issues and concerns before they escalate to people wanting to leave the business. The feedback from staff is they feel more involved, more supported and more engaged. They are also enjoying being able to communicate with other teams in other areas of the country, sometimes when they didn’t even realise we delivered care in that area. The app connects our workforce in ways that would not have been possible via email or newsletter.

 What did you learn  from running this project and how would you approach it differently next time?

One of the first things we realised after launching was that it would be far easier to enroll new staff in the App than it is to engage with existing staff. This is not because of the app itself but because we can enroll new starters onto the App at the initial training stage, whereas we need to arrange meetings with existing staff to help them sign up. While the training for the app only takes 2 hours at the most (and that only for administrators) people need to understand why it is of benefit to them before they sign up. If we were to do the project again, we would launch with an initial competition and run demonstrations in each branch to show people how it works. We have done this post launch which has been beneficial.

Original article by Sina Lockley. Sina is an Employee Communications Specialist at Staffbase. Staffbase supports industry leaders with their own branded app to engage their diverse, disconnected and distributed workforce.

Looking to give your employees a voice? Ask for a demo.



Original Article by Sina Lockleyhttps://staffbase.com/en/


Topics: Employee App