ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We’ve got approximately 1,400 employees in 98 offices around the world, with a variety of cultures. Internal communications is a relatively new function. After starting with the basics, we are now increasingly looking at supporting two-way communication.
Three years ago, we had two separate digital platforms – an intranet and the enterprise social network Yammer. This created a number of challenges. People had to log into each platform with different passwords. Content wise, documents were being made available on both platforms, which caused version control issues.
We decided to replace both platforms with a new social enterprise platform, accessible from anywhere. And we named it Arthur, after our first president at ACCA.
We used this opportunity to review all of our existing content. We looked at the most active groups on Yammer and engaged with their owners to discuss how we could transfer them over to the new platform. We defined user roles and permissions levels, and engaged the design team for the look and feel of the site. We also worked with IT and HR to set everyone up with a personal profile.
Leading up to the launch, we ran a 10-day campaign to gain employees’ buy-in. A teaser campaign combining emails and pictures designed to catch people’s attention announced that ‘A distinguished gentleman is coming back to ACCA’ and that he would be able to help them with a number of things. We gave Arthur a living personality, including a quintessential Victorian moustache. To build up interest and engagement we didn’t tell people that we were referring to the intranet. Instead, we asked people in different locations to share pictures of themselves holding up giant moustaches on Yammer, saying ‘someone’s coming back’. It soon became viral and we had people posting pictures from all across the globe from Times Square in New York to the the Sydney opera house.
“We gave Arthur a living personality, including a quintessential Victorian moustache.”
On the day of the launch (“Arthur day”), all employees received an email revealing who was back… as well as their log-in details to access their brand new intranet. Giving an identity to the new platform, especially one anchored in our history, provided a nice grounding and context to the organisation.
People actually call it Arthur, and we still use the character on other communication channels to build that association. We created badges with the moustache, which we’ve used in a number of ways to support the platform’s branding further. We offered training sessions and created a training video to drive engagement.
Arthur has all the key elements of a social intranet – information, communication and news, collaboration as well as a transactional dimension.
It offers a number of collaboration spaces, such as communities and groups that you can choose from. People can comment, like or bookmark content; select the frequency of the notifications they wish to receive – so a daily or weekly digest, as well as emails about individual conversations or content of interest. They can create discussion boards around particular materials, contribute content and embed videos (for training purposes for example).
The platform also has different news feeds. There’s a corporate news carousel at the top, and local news feeds tailored to your location. We’ve got a facilities/IT self-service alert that we can use when something goes wrong, such as a telephone outage. We have a ‘giving something back’ stream, where people can share their charitable work.
The response to Arthur has been positive overall. Our internal communications survey showed that 45% of people access the platform on a daily basis, while 91% visit it weekly. What’s more, it’s rated by employees as the primary or secondary channel of choice to share information about our overall strategy, our priority initiatives and our strategic performance.
“People who are working on their own in an office really enjoy it because they can get a sense of what’s happening across the organisation.”
One of our challenges is that we’ve had more engagement than we initially anticipated. The breadth and depth of people that use the platform is much more varied than when we had Yammer. As a result, we’ve had to manage the ‘noise’ on the platform. People who are working on their own in an office really enjoy it because they can get a sense of what’s happening across the organisation.
The finish line isn’t the day of the launch. If anything, it’s the starting line… You need to keep the momentum going after the launch. We regularly run training, talk to people, add new functionality and launch competitions to encourage people to put forward ideas for improvements.
This year, we are going to do a review of Arthur and start to explore a more formalised intranet strategy and governance approach.
BIOGRAPHY – SARAH MOFFATT
Sarah proactively identifies internal communication needs, selects the appropriate channels for communication, and from a strategic perspective promotes an integrated and planned approach. Her role encompasses all aspects of internal communications and is aligned to the global engagement of ACCA’s Strategy to 2020. A major part is the development, management and engagement of Arthur, ACCA’s social intranet.