warehouse worker in a safety vest


The Situation: What happens when 67% of employees don’t sit at a desk?

In 2016, NFI, a fully integrated third-party logistics company with over 11,000 employees, was confronted with a significant communications challenge. They knew they weren’t reaching or engaging all their employees.

They needed to find a better way to get employees the information they both wanted and needed.

With over 300 facilities across North America, 67% of employees were deskless; driving trucks and operating warehouses, they had no access to a computer and no company email. A desktop-based Intranet solution was not the answer.

The HR team implemented an employee engagement survey that highlighted some communications gaps. “Our employees asked for more communications, but we didn’t want to just send them updates that they would never see. We wanted to send them meaningful content that they could engage with right at their fingertips through their mobile device,” explained Director of Communications JeanMarie Decker.

In addition to the means of communicating, NFI’s engagement survey also educated them to the fact that their employees wanted more communications regarding the greater mission, purpose, and goals of the company. Mobile was the right channel to deliver this vital information.

The App: The Pulse

NFI was looking to the future and needed an app that would let them target different groups of employees, track analytics to inform their strategy, and that would let them open up administrative privileges to local leaders and mid-level managers in the field. A big differentiator was that theEMPLOYEEapp allowed two-way communication through comments.

NFI has 450 content publishers publishing content to the app on a regular basis. Since launching Pulse, more than 6,500 pieces of content have been shared on theEMPLOYEEapp.

By involving so many people, this has made the content meaningful and relevant to employees at a local level. At the same time, it has given the corporate communications team the ability to strategize, focus on data, and try new ways of pushing the envelope to engage with a workforce that is geographically dispersed. By also including workplace tools and portals within The Pulse, the app has become a source and destination for employees to access everything NFI.

As a result of this strategy, NFI is seeing high levels of engagement and adoption, especially with regard to Pulse’s social functionality: they have 65% of their employees in the app and their employees are liking and commenting on content frequently. In Q2 2019 alone, they had 11,000+ likes on content, proving that employees value having access to information.

“We have relied on qualitative feedback to learn what content our employees want and need from us. We’re now able to also see data that helps us efficiently and effectively create and share content that makes a difference for our teams.”

JeanMarie Decker, Director of Communications

Communicating Through Crisis

The number one concern of any business during a crisis is keeping their employees safe. The Pulse app helped NFI do just that.

In 2018 during a hurricane, they were able to send important distribution closure information, updates, and resources direction to their employees’ mobile devices.

“theEMPLOYEEapp has been a valuable partner in developing and supporting our Pulse app. With this mobile solution in place, we’ve been able to create a culture committed to communications and provide our employees with important information to help connect them to the greater purpose of our company and enable them to see their impact on the big picture of who we are and what we’re striving to achieve.”

JeanMarie Decker, Director of Communications

NFI & theEMPLOYEEapp Successes

Using an app gave NFI the ability to reach all employees regardless of where they work. It gave them:

  • Increased visibility of the CEO by sharing video updates to all employees.
  • Improved the quality of local content by empowering local leadership to share updates and recognize employees.
  • Created a centralized hub of resources and company information to engage employees and increase their awareness of how their role relates back to the company’s overall mission.
  • Through push notifications provided easier access for employees to information, especially during times of crisis, keeping employees informed and safe.
  • Developed mid-level manager communications skills to improve the cascade of information at all levels of the organization.

About NFI

Privately held by the Brown family since its development in 1932, NFI is a fully integrated third-party supply chain solutions provider. With 300+ facilities across North America, the company houses nearly 11,000 employees who work to provide customized and engineered solutions to help their customers and businesses propel and succeed across transportation, warehousing, intermodal, brokerage, transportation management, global, and real estate services.

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