ELLWOOD manufacturing employee working in a facility


The Situation: Reaching a Dispersed Workforce With Mobile Communication

Just a few years ago, ELLWOOD did not have a corporate employee communications role. But since they are a decentralized organization with mostly deskless workers, they saw the need to hire someone who could help them create an internal and external communications strategy. And from the beginning of his tenure, he saw the need for a mobile solution.

”We have ten divisions across the company that each have their own presidents and, often, their own microculture. So, I wanted to try to come up with a tool that would not only support their own cultures, but also make sure the general culture of ELLWOOD reached the frontline team members,” explains Casey Macioge, (former) Senior Communication Specialist. “I knew that an internal social media would be something that people would gravitate towards with their own experience of using social media in their daily lives.”

In addition to being dispersed, 40% of the workforce doesn’t have a company email address. This made ELLWOOD rely on bulletin board postings or a break room TV monitor to communicate. But these channels give no insight into who saw the message and they are inaccessible to employees after they’ve left the break room.

Also factoring into their decision to adopt a mobile comms app was thinking of the next generation of workers. They wanted to factor in their preferred style of communication and their expectations for communication and a feeling of community.

“Even though in some business units, they can’t have their phone on the shop floor with them, it was a no-brainer. When they’re on their break, at the end of the day, or with their families, if they need to find some important information quickly they just want to check their phone real quick. Why wouldn’t we make that tool available to them?”

Casey Macioge

The App: Team ELLWOOD

With a mobile channel in place, employee communication is already becoming more efficient and effective. One primary way they’re using the app is to bring all their disparate teams together on one platform so employees can be connected to the larger purpose of the company. One way they do this is by sharing employee stories and focusing on the frontline or hourly employee experience.

“Each unit manufacturers products that have a role in the supply chain of an engineered steel product, for example. And the team member that is over here making the iron casting may not know that this is a very specialized mold for a very specific type of ingot, which will become a forging that will, in turn, end up as a mold for automobile parts. So, these team member stories help everyone to see the big picture and how their contributions fit into the whole.”

They are also using analytics to see the impact of top-down messaging. Macioge creates a quarterly business update video from the CEO and President of the company, which takes at least a month to produce from getting footage to editing it into a coherent message. Prior to having theEMPLOYEEapp, that video was then distributed to business unit leaders and HR at each division to show to frontline teams.

“It was kind of like, you do all this work to put this message out there. And then maybe you start hearing people talking about the message that you put out there a month later, or two months later in some cases,” says Macioge. “But all that has changed. I have had a video posted on the app and then within hours I get emails like, ‘Hey, that was a great segment,’ or ‘I love getting to see the inside of this facility. I didn’t even know we were making that.’ It’s a complete change from what we had done before.”

And on top of messages finally getting out to teams directly and quickly, they have real-time analytics on content performance.

“Before it was all anecdotal. I would have to go to a HR director or a director of operations and ask how the video went over. It was just this slow trickle of information back to me. Now it’s like a flood of information. I have data to show leadership that we had 800 people view it this first week alone. And that’s a huge improvement,” says Macioge.

Reinforcing Company Culture

“We have a new campaign through the app to reafirm the ELLWOOD culture of dignity, respect, open communication, and safety. We want to make sure our team members know they’re part of something bigger.”

Casey Macioge

At ELLWOOD, there is a culture and focus on continuous improvement and open communication that permeates through the entire company from corporate to the frontline. The team will now be able to use the app to make opportunities for education and career progression easier to access for hourly and deskless workers.

The app will also provide more opportunities for employee input on communication and to share their own ideas.

ELLWOOD & theEMPLOYEEapp Successes

ELLWOOD is just six months into their app rollout, but they have already achieved the following:

  • Strengthened focus on workplace culture and employee community.
  • Reached 63% app adoption with two business units left to roll the app out to.
  • High rates of active users.
    • 60% of ELLWOOD employees access the app at least weekly
    • 87% access the app at least monthly


For over a century, ELLWOOD has grown through innovation and acquisition into the leading supplier of quality metals and custom-engineered components for critical applications worldwide. They have more than 25 locations across North America.

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