How Versum Engages 2,000 Employees with 1 Branded Mobile App

Staffbase goes well beyond the communication platform and brings together so many of the resources we need to put in front of our employees—from Communications and Employee Health Management to HR and Finance. When we used email as our main communication tool, an average of only 20% of employees even opened them. Now, 70% of our employees actively engage with the app on a weekly basis.”

Tiffany Elle, Senior Global Communications Manager, Versum Materials

“Empower your employees” is Senior Global Communications Manager Tiffany Elle’s definition of the business value of a branded mobile application and the words she lives by in her role at Versum Materials, an electronics supply manufacturing company headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona.

Tiffany tells us that empowering employees is the key to successful communication throughout an organization. But how do you get there? It can be difficult to find the right ways to engage employees long enough to empower them, but Tiffany has been wildly successful in implementing a new mobile communications strategy at Versum through a branded mobile app, having achieved a 96% adoption rate with the app amongst employees.

Here is how she did it.

Versum Materials has only been around for two years, having spun off from a much larger company that had a SharePoint-based intranet platform. Naturally, their first step as a new company was to create a similar SharePoint intranet, but Tiffany notes that it was very minimal and not very friendly for users.

After deciding to reflect the company’s technological and innovative values in their employee communication strategy, they left their desktop intranet behind and dove into a branded employee communication application. They haven’t looked back since.

Versum employs a lot of engineers, chemists, and other non-desk workers who lead their company to success, and Tiffany needed to find a way to engage them so that they could feel empowered to participate in the company conversation, be aware of the company happenings, and have access to HR materials and other resources they need to excel at their job.

Tiffany found that Staffbase’s branded mobile application solution gave her what she was looking for:

“Staffbase goes well beyond the communication platform and brings together so many of the resources we need to put in front of our employees—from Communications and Employee Health Management to HR and Finance. When we used email as our main communication tool, an average of only 20% of employees even opened them. Now, 70% of our employees actively engage with the app on a weekly basis.”

Since launching a branded mobile application, Tiffany has seen drastic improvements in the engagement of her employees, going from 20 to 70 percent active engagement, and boasting a 96% activation rate.

One thing she has realized is that “people want to participate.” It’s a matter of giving them the platform to do so. Email just doesn’t do that as well as an interactive app. Within the application, there are many user groups with employees who share all kinds of information, and Tiffany notes that “we give them the opportunity to opt into those groups that they want to learn more about . . . which empowers the employees to get the information that they want.”

The creation of user groups is just one of the many aspects of the app that engage employees at Versum. Employee spotlights are another. Within the app, Tiffany notes how employee spotlights “highlight key employees or key teams that accomplished a big project, and we see the engagement levels go up so much because people are excited to learn about all the good things that we’re doing in the organization and they can really get to know their peers.”

While it may seem like a small use case, employee recognition has the power not only to make people feel valued and appreciated for their hard work, but also to grow their excitement about the successes of their peers and organization, empowering one another to continue with such achievement. 

Any opportunity to invite employees to participate on the app is a chance for Tiffany to increase engagement levels. Not only can she do this with with employee recognition, but also with surveys and invitations for employees to pitch ideas about the app. Tiffany says she welcomes it when employees tell her, “Hey I have an article idea that I want to share!” She notes that once it’s published, “There’s pride in that . . . it’s been a really great way to engage with our employees.”

When discussing the use of forms and surveys in the app, and consequently the ability to measure success, she declares, “There are things that make [our app] go beyond the communications platform.” Through these use cases, Tiffany is not only getting her employees the information they need to do their jobs, but she’s also encouraging them to care about their peers, care about their organization, and feel empowered enough to participate in the culture of the company.

SharePoint doesn't get today's communicators, but there’s a solution.

We also wanted to talk to Tiffany about Versum’s transition from a SharePoint based intranet to a branded mobile app, especially since it’s a problem faced by many companies trying to communicate effectively through the SharePoint system.

Tiffany says that after switching Versum’s communication platform, “We link to SharePoint from our Staffbase app, and it’s been seamless . . . When you’re posting articles or content, it’s not going to a black hole anymore—which is huge! And we still have the capability to search SharePoint in our app, so we’re not taking it away from them. We’re just giving them a better platform.”

Versum’s desktop employees still have access to all of the documents that were managed and stored in their SharePoint system, but they now have an easier way to access and share them with other non-desk employees who couldn’t see them before.

Yet another use case of the new branded mobile app that Tiffany has found brings the employees of Versum together is the crisis management process they have in place.

We’ve set up our app so that our crisis management process is in the app; every time we list a phone number, we hyperlink it so it’s a dial-able . . . [our employees] have the entire playbook embedded in the app . . . they can maintain it, they completely own it, and they love it!”

Tiffany Elle

The ability to take ownership of a situation that could be stressful, dangerous, and costly to the company is a great use of Versum’s branded communication app, and in case of an emergency, all 2,000 employees benefit from having a way to reach one another through the employee phonebook.

Switching from a desktop intranet to Staffbase’s branded mobile communication platform has given Tiffany the resources she needs to engage and empower all 2,000 of her fellow employees at Versum. And with a 96 percent adoption rate and increase in active engagement from 20 percent to 70 percent, it is safe to say that her employees are enjoying it.

Tiffany proudly concludes, “We love it. We’re very glad to be a customer and very grateful that the platform has been so well received. There are a lot of things people complain about, but this isn’t one of them.”

Thanks for the interview Tiffany! We can’t wait to see what Versum will do next with their branded mobile application, and how they’ll continue to empower their employees! Be sure to check out the full interview with Tiffany on our podcast, and look through our other episodes for more success stories with companies like Versum. 

We’ve helped many other companies just like Versum with large numbers of non-desk workers and a dire need to reach, engage, and empower them.

Check out our case studies with manufacturing companies B.Braun, Viessmann, and Siemens, or browse through the multitude of companies we work with on our case studies page and customer page

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