BNSF Logistics - theEMPLOYEEapp

BNSF Logistics

BNSF Logistics employee scanning a freight container

BNSF Logistics

The Situation: How BNSF Logistics connects their dispersed workforce

BNSF Logistics’ purpose is to “deliver what matters.” For their (former) Director of Internal Communications, Sherrell Watson, this meant supporting employees internally and looking at the workplace as an experience.

Even as a team of one, Sherrell was determined to create the best possible experience for their employees.

After joining the company and conducting an internal communications audit, which included focus groups and interviews with the leadership team, Sherrell quickly identified the gaps that existed in the internal communications function at BNSF Logistics.

“I wanted to listen to what people said. I wanted to have an understanding of what worked for them, what didn’t work. Through that, I was able to put together a real communication plan to move the company forward.”

— Sherrell Watson, BNSF Logistics

Like many other companies, Sherrell found that their teams were very siloed. If any employee didn’t work in the corporate headquarters, they didn’t feel like their voice was being heard. Or connected to leadership.

She also found that too much of their communication was shared under the assumption that employees worked at a desk. Their field-based staff often missed messages on their intranet, which lived behind the corporate firewall, or in long-form emails that would pile up in user email accounts.

Based on these findings, Sherrell knew she needed to focus on three things:

  1. Purpose
  2. The people
  3. Company culture

To do this, she would need to find a new channel that would reach their distributed workforce, create a positive digital employee experience, and build their desired culture.

The App: BNSFL Connect

“Employees were really missing out on a bulk of the news that we wanted to share. So, we decided to partner with theEMPLOYEEapp. What I loved about theEMPLOYEEapp was that their team was made up of communication professionals. I wanted someone to understand the challenges we were going through from an internal communications standpoint.”

— Sherrell Watson, BNSF Logistics

BNSF Logistics’ employee communication app now allows their employees to have company news and tools right at their fingertips. It has allowed them to increase the visibility of the leadership team and create more interaction and two-way communication from field-based employees.

Highlights of Their App:

  • Video: Leaders can take videos right on their phones and upload it to BNSFL Connect. This has gotten important top-down messages to employees in a timely manner.
  • Learning: Learning and development material is housed in the app and broken into shorter, manageable chunks. Especially during COVID-19, where employees had to juggle their personal and professional lives, this made access to professional development possible.
  • Employee Stories: App administrators can control the publishing permissions of other users. BNSF Logistics decided to give posting permission to all employees but limited to one folder. This has enabled the team to share the employee voice, give them an outlet for sharing stories, and help connect employees that may never get the opportunity to meet in person.
  • Crisis Resources: The app allowed the team to create COVID-19 specific content to continue to connect with their employees in the field and share the latest safety protocols.

A Comms Team of One

“A major piece of internal communications is looking at the workplace as an experience. It’s really about creating the optimal experience for our employees.”

Sherrell Watson, BNSF Logistics

Most internal communication teams are lean—lean on staff and lean on budget.

At BNSF Logistics, they had just one internal communicator: Sherrell. She not only managers their employee app. she also manages all their communications tools and works with other departments to create a best-in-class communication strategy.

Learn more about Sherrell in her communicator spotlight!

BNSF Logistics & theEMPLOYEEapp Successes

  • Embedded theEMPLOYEEapp into their onboarding process to help new hires get up to speed and see special content targeted towards them.
  • Used app-only content to drive employees to use BNSFL Connect.
  • Launched a new video series from their Safety Team, emphasizing safety best practices for all employees.
  • Created a Learning and Development podcast, giving department leaders a platform to share stories behind their products and services.
  • Enabled the corporate communication and executive leadership teams to communicate about their purpose, culture, and vision at every level of the company.

About BNSF Logistics

BNSF Logistics is a technology and people-driven third party logistics company. They focus on creating smart and creative supply chain solutions that meet their customer’s business needs. They are a Berkshire Hathaway company with more than 25 offices across North America.

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