You can bet that when you’re producing faucets and bathroom fixtures worthy of installation in the Cunard QE2 and luxury hotels around the globe, having a well-informed, team-oriented workforce is essential.
So it’s not surprising that Renee’ Maxell, Director of Human Resources at Hansgrohe, Inc. in Alpharetta, Georgia, turned to The Marlin Company’s patented workplace digital signage technology (Electronic Communication Station) to ensure that their employee communication capabilities are as robust as their world-renowned fixtures.
The Need for a New Approach
The Alpharetta location faced a unique set of communication challenges. For starters, their campus consists of three separate buildings, making it difficult to share information that would normally spread through word of mouth. And although their office staff has all the traditional communication tools, nearly half of the workforce (their production and assembly departments) don’t have access to email. “There was no consistent, easy way to reach everyone,” Renee’ laments. To complicate matters, Hansgrohe also saw language barriers as it welcomed a growing number of skilled workers from Asia, Eastern Europe, Central America and other parts of Latin America.
Welcome to the H2 Boards
Renee’ and her team at Hansgrohe were already familiar with workplace content from The Marlin Company, having been sub-scribers to Marlin’s poster-based content for years. But it was time to take advantage of Marlin’s digital signage program, which offers subscribers the ability to post their own content to one or more screens throughout their facilities and to utilize safety, quality, and motivational pieces produced by Marlin.
Hansgrohe launched with six screens, making for a strong presence in their break rooms and production areas at each of its three buildings. Affectionately referred to as their H2 boards (a nod to an in-house printed newsletter called Hansgrohe Happenings), their digital signage solution is now their preferred method for distributing company messages and staying connected to what’s going on in the community.
“We rely on Marlin for our safety communication and motivation pieces, but we do put our own content in. Safety metrics around lost days, and general employee messages about company events, promotions, and new hires,” Renee’ explains. “With the three buildings we have to stay linked, and we can now do this in a timely manner, making sure everyone has the same consistent information.”
Visual Communication Bridges the Language Gap
Hansgrohe is a lean manufacturer with a visual manufacturing base. “Some things are universal,” says Renee’. “Pictures are universal. People understand a smiling face. They understand that people in a photograph shaking hands is a good thing. And so we became much more visual in the way we communicated. Obviously those who don’t speak English probably won’t be able to read it either, so a visual becomes so much more important to fill in that gap.” Communication with workers who come from other countries is now handled with ease through visuals and their H2 boards.
Ease of Use
All departments at the Alpharetta location are encouraged to submit content for posting to the H2 boards. Most often, that content is in the form of PowerPoints and Word documents. In some cases, these are files that were created specifically for the H2 boards; other times, managers are simply extending the reach of one of their existing messages.
Although an unlimited number of users can log in to Marlin’s web-based platform to load, enhance, and schedule content, Hansgrohe currently flows their files through one administrator, their receptionist. When this position was recently occupied by various temp workers, Renee’ saw first-hand how quickly new users were able to catch on to the content management sys-tem. “It’s very user friendly,” Renee’ is happy to proclaim. “It’s very nice because I don’t have to train every person on how to put up and take down graphics and metrics and everything else.”
Employee Feedback and Results
Renee’ encourages employees to comment on what they see on their H2 boards. “We run a script along the bottom using the QuickTicker feature to get feedback about what they’re seeing or not seeing on the board. And people will be pretty vocal about it.” Employees have commented on everything from the type of pieces they like to how long a piece should be displayed for optimal exposure and readability during their break periods.
Some of the most popular pieces posted to Hansgrohe’s H2 boards are those that help celebrate employees who give back to the community. For example, employees recently volunteered time and PTO for United Way’s Annual Day of Caring Event. So their H2 boards highlighted this spirit of giving by showing photos of smiling Hansgrohe employees as they donned “Live United” shirts and helped prepare over 60,000 meals for Forsyth County, Georgia.
Ultimately, it’s employee feedback that helps identify the H2 boards as a well-received venue for employee communication. And it helps Hansgrohe deliver the most “clear, concise, and consistent” messaging across multiple buildings and departments, all while embracing the diverse workforce responsible for the quality and attention to detail evidenced in the demand for Hansgrohe products.