The Gatehouse Blog

Keeping front-line commuters informed by focusing on what’s important

Most of our staff have to spend a three-hour round trip travelling to work every day. The Hong Kong airport is pretty remote! To allow staff to make better use of their long commute time and improve staff engagement, Hactl’s Information Services team created the KaGor app ( 卡 哥 in Cantonese, pronounced ‘Cargo’) to provide staff with company information and a platform to interact with leadership.

The app enables people to access work-related information that they need on a day-to-day basis. They can do all sorts of things, such as check their roster, access their training records, view their staff discounts, send messages to the COO/HR, and even recognise fellow employees with the latest function, ‘praise your peers’.

All these functions have one unifying objective: to improve staff engagement in a fast-changing business environment, where communication was breaking down using traditional one-way communication, such as posting information on notice boards.

Getting under way

Here’s how we got the app off the ground.

We began by finding out what information was most important to people. We held regular meetings with staff representatives, so we could fully understand their needs, which helped us to develop a product they would want. We found out that real-time roster-checking and HR/COO mailboxes scored highly. People wanted to be able to see their schedule, plan their time, and communicate directly with management.

People wanted to be able to see their schedule, plan their time, and communicate directly with management.

All communication via KaGor is confidential: if you send a photo, only the COO can see it; if you write to HR, only authorised HR colleagues can read it.

In the old days, this would be done through a notice board or through a booklet. So, if you change your shift, you have a lot of paperwork. This app makes it much easier.

Use of the app is voluntary, but the results to date have been spectacular: within a very short space of time, 1,500 staff had installed the app. We added even more users in the second phase, when we rolled out additional interactive and personalised features, such as pay advice, checking the roster, and the ability to take part in company internal surveys.

Our next steps

Phase two of the app is moving towards becoming an awards or appraisal platform, so you can recognise your colleagues when you see them doing something good. For example, we have a Clean Week at Hactl: if you see a colleague picking up rubbish, you can take a photo and then send the photo through the app. We are rolling this out to encourage people to say thank you and value their colleagues. This is linked to an award campaign, where staff can vote for their colleagues whose exemplary actions have been highlighted in KaGor.

KaGor also empowers staff to become ambassadors of the company. During Chinese New Year, we developed a set of WhatsApp stickers, so that staff can download them from the app and send them as season’s greetings to their friends and family. This helps everyone at Hactl to feel they are an important part of the team, and that they are supporting the marketing & commercial teams in brand building and strengthening customer relationships.

Use of the app is voluntary, but the results to date have been spectacular: within a very short space of time, 1,500 staff had installed the app.

Evaluating progress

In total, 95% of Hactl staff are now using the KagGor app — a clear sign that they find it easy to use and valuable. This has come as a surprise to those who thought staff would not want to download a business app to their personal devices.

By contrast, Hactl’s workers really seem to enjoy using the app — not only to kill time during their commute, but to communicate with management, share innovative ideas, make positive recommendations to enhance the app, as well as interacting with fellow colleagues and engaging actively in company activities.

Biography: Winnie Chan

Winnie Chan is Head of Corporate Communications at Hactl (the operator of the world’s largest single air cargo terminal). In addition to managing external communications, she has organised mant successful events – including the first ever fashion show of upcycled clothing by local designers, modelled by Hactl staff to promote Hactl’s Green Terminal environmental programme. She has also launched the ‘Flavours of Hong Kong’ series in Hactlink, the company magazine, promoting Hong Kong’s traditions and culture.