Getting Back Your Day With Digital Signage
New-Indy Containerboard is a manufacturer and supplier of recycled containerboard to the corrugated box industry. Their Hartford City, Indiana mill employs over 100 people which includes their HR, Payroll, Safety, and Production teams. To help connect all departments, IT Manager Brian Hamblin took over a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) digital signage system that had been used by previous employees to improve communication throughout the facility. After realizing how difficult the system was to use, the lack of content being posted, and how much time was wasted on using it each week, Brian teamed up with Marlin to employ Marlin’s Electronic Communication Station (ECS) throughout the facility.
Ease of Use
Shortly after coming in to his current position, Brian realized how complicated his DIY digital signage was. “The DIY product that we had was just a failure from the beginning and we could never really get it to work correctly,” said Brian. “It was a local server on site that streamed video to the displays in the facility. It was a do-it-yourself open source product that was basically a PowerPoint slideshow. It wasn’t user friendly and I would spend hours online googling the system trying to resolve issues and figure out how it worked.”
With frustration growing, Brian partnered with Marlin to install ECS in his facility. “I’m very pleased with ECS,” said Brian. “It’s nice to have something that is easy to work with and quick. If I need to post something, it only takes few clicks and that makes it worth its weight in gold.”
Engaging Digital Signage
When digital screens display outdated content or are blank, it is nearly impossible to get people to look at them. Brian learned this the hard way when struggling with his old DIY digital signage system. “If digital signage is not updated regularly, employees are not going to pay attention. The previous system would have the same content for months on end and our production employees didn’t look at it,” said Brian. “With Marlin’s ECS, I have fresh content to post for all departments. Now I get messages from employees on the content I post, so you know they are looking at the screens. Every time the CEO visits our plant he’ll comment on how much he likes the Marlin boards.”
To get the attention of employees at New-Indy, Brian uses every possible feature of ECS to keep things interesting. “We like to put our Employee of the Month on the board, as well as birthdays and work anniversaries using the pre-made templates,” said Brian. “We also use the Quick Counter feature to list how many days our location has had without an accident. Before we had ECS, our safety manager would do this with his eraser and chalk and put it on the chalkboard. I’ll even put content in a PowerPoint to animate things just to liven them up a little bit. But most time I’m just uploading a file or a photo. ECS makes all of this very easy with just a few clicks.”
Content that Complements
Putting content on your digital signage screens is only half the battle. Maintaining it and keeping it up-to-date with fresh content on a regular basis is just as challenging. With Marlin’s content subscription, Brian always has relevant content to post on his Marlin boards throughout the year. “What’s nice about ECS is the new content that Marlin provides regularly. There’s always new content available for the screens so it’s not the same thing over and over again,” said Brian. “When our Safety Manager gives me his monthly topic to focus on, I can check out the Marlin content library and add pieces that reinforce what he wants to highlight for the month.”
The content that Brian posts is also valuable to New-Indy’s day-to-day operations. “Being in Indiana, the weather changes drastically,” said Brian. “Thunderstorms have a big impact on us because we draw so much power. So I put a weather map on our Marlin board showing current conditions and do full screen weather alerts so we know what to expect. ECS has been a great tool to get the right messages out to our employees and have them engage with it. There’s so much value in what I have now compared to the PowerPoint slides we had running before.”
A hard-to use digital signage system is the last thing you want to be using when you have a busy schedule. Ever since implementing Marlin’s ECS, Brian has saved valuable time that can now be used on other projects. “With our old system, I would spend around 5 hours a week scheduling content and maintaining it,” said Brian. “With Marlin, each morning I spend about five minutes making sure our production report looks fine. Towards the end of each month, when each department sends me content for the next month, I may put an extra hour into it. Overall, Marlin saves me anywhere from 5-10 hours a week compared to our old DIY system.”
The Whole Package
After implementing Marlin’s ECS, Brian soon realized the immediate impact it has had on employees in his facility and on his day-to-day duties. “I’ll get a lot of comments from other employees on the content they see on the Marlin board,” said Brian. “It’s always great to get feedback and kudos for the work put into the board. ECS makes me look better. I’m very pleased with the Marlin boards. It’s an easy-to-use product and it has been a great, great thing for us.”
Boosting Employee Morale with Digital Signage
Horan & McConaty
Horan & McConaty has been serving the Denver area with cremation, burial, and pre-planning services since 1890 through a team of compassionate, caring, and highly experienced professionals. With 140 employees spread out across 7 locations, Carolyn Forbes, Digital Content Manager, was looking for a solution to keep employee morale up in a tough industry. To do that, she partnered with Marlin to install Marlin’s Electronic Communication Station (ECS), a workplace digital signage solution, in their employee-facing hallways and common areas.
A Challenging Industry
Working in the funeral home industry can take a toll on employees. “They go through many emotional experiences on a daily basis,” said Carolyn. “It can be a very heavy environment for staff, whether they are funeral directors, building managers, office staff, or in our Care Center. The Marlin ECS is a great way to post content that brings a bright spot to their day.”
“We like to post birthdays, anniversaries, company events and new hire announcements,” said Carolyn. “Because this is such an emotionally charged industry, we also like to share content that is fun and humorous to keep spirits high. ECS gives us the ability to post content that our employees will notice and engage with every day. The Marlin boards offer a welcome break and help our employees stay informed and connected.”
Keeping the Family Together
“Our employees are a family,” said Carolyn. “On a daily basis, they take care of families who use our services and they go through very emotional experiences with them. Because of this, they are all very close to each other.”
“A while back, we restructured our organization and introduced a new team system where employees were assigned to specific locations, instead of traveling across the city multiple times a day,” said Carolyn. “This was a big change for everyone. Around the time this happened, we installed Marlin boards at each of our facilities. With the boards, they are now able to stay connected with each other through content posted on the screens. They can see what’s going on in the lives of employees at other locations. The Marlin boards help bridge the gap with employees that are assigned to different locations. It was really perfect timing to implement digital signage to help connect everybody.”
An Improvement on Company Communications
Before Marlin, company announcements at Horan & McConaty were sometimes missed and often forgettable. “Before implementing the Marlin boards, we would just send out an employee email,” said Carolyn. “There were never any photos or off-the-job information. It was a lot less personal and engaging, so employees were less likely to read them. Now with the Marlin boards, I know employees are engaging with the content on the screens because I constantly get suggestions for fun content to post. We’ve even posted videos of an employee’s home security camera that captured all different kinds of wildlife; something we would never have been able to share through email.”
Marlin’s ECS has helped Horan & McConaty create an uplifting work environment and has also boosted morale. “The Marlin boards have helped improve camaraderie because employees talk about what’s on the screens,” said Carolyn. “It works really well for morale, too, because it goes deeper by sharing the personal side of our employees, rather than just what they’re focusing on in their day jobs.”
Delivering Cohesive Communication with Digital Signage
Viatran is a worldwide leader providing innovative pressure and level transmitters for applications such as oil and gas drilling and completion. Located in Western New York, their corporate headquarters consists of multiple departments including Engineering, Production, Operations, Sales, Marketing, Human Resources, and more. Paula Fox, HR Director, faces the challenge of ensuring everyone feels informed and connected. To accomplish this, Paula partnered with Marlin to implement Marlin’s Electronic Communication Station (ECS), a workplace digital signage solution, in their lunchroom.
All Departments on the Same Digital Page
Viatran conducts employee surveys regularly. After reviewing responses from a recent engagement survey, Paula noticed a common communication challenge that they could address. “An area of concern taken from the survey was inter departmental communication,” said Paula. “For example, the production department may not know what the engineering department is doing and vice versa.” Paula found Marlin’s digital signage solution to be a good way to improve employee communications. “It’s always important to make sure that you have really good communication with your employees,” said Paula. “I had seen the Marlin system being used at other companies and really admired it. Installing digital signage in an area where employees frequent is a really great way of delivering that communication.”
Paula has created a cohesive communication content plan for Viatran employees by collaborating with employees from other departments. “Whenever our team is out in the field, visiting customers, attending trade shows, and engaged in other activities that help the company move forward, we always make sure to put that in front of our employees by posting it to our Marlin board,” said Paula. “Our Marketing Manager also uses ECS to publish things we’ve posted on our social media channels. Before Marlin, we assumed that by putting information on our website, employees would know about it,” said Paula. But after a while, we found that wasn’t true. Having the Marlin board allows us to put up information so that all employees know what’s going on within the company. Now I don’t have to wonder if employees have seen certain announcements.”
Saving Time and Paper
Before implementing Marlin’s ECS, Viatran was using bulletin boards as a primary way to communicate with employees. “What I found about bulletin boards is they’re really messy,” said Paula. “You’ve got several different documents on the board and it’s not visually appealing. After a while, employees are not even looking to see if there’s something new posted there.” Paula has been able to communicate to employees more efficiently on a consistent basis with the help of ECS. “ECS is so easy to use,” said Paula. “I love it. I can sit at my desk and very quickly have something ready to display at a moment’s notice versus having to print off multiple copies of a document and walk around to put it on bulletin boards. It’s super easy and efficient and has been a huge time saver for me. It’s a really effective communication tool.” Additionally, having the ability to post photos from company social events also helps draw attention to the display.
Recognizing a Night on the Town
Paula also likes to recognize employee achievements by spreading the word using her Marlin board. “We have two main recognition programs at Viatran. We have our Service Awards that we post on our Marlin board that show who’s being recognized this month for a work anniversary,” said Paula. “We also have a bonus that managers can give out to employees as they see fit. We call this bonus NOOT or Night Out on the Town. Any manager can give an employee a monetary award that employees can use to go out and do something nice with their families,” said Paula. “We like to post the winners on our Marlin board for everyone to see.”
Having good feedback from employees is another way Marlin’s ECS is helping bridge the gap through employee recognition. “When we initially launched ECS, I got a ton of comments from employees. They, really, really like it,” said Paula. “Employees will often be in meetings and someone will say, ‘Oh, I saw that on the Marlin board.’ So you know employees are looking at it every day in our lunchroom. I’ll also get feedback and suggestions of what else to post on the Marlin board, which is good to see,” said Paula.
Making Communication Easy
With the help of the Marlin ECS, Paula has been able to create a cohesive communication plan for employees at Viatran. “Marlin has been a huge time saver for me,” said Paula. “In the past, I would be printing multiple copies of documents, taking them around and putting them on bulletin boards and then really hoping and praying that people saw them. Now with Marlin, it is a much more efficient process for me.”
Enhancing Employee Communications through Digital Signage
As the fourth largest solid waste company in the U.S., Advanced Disposal has over 200 operating locations that help them remain exceptionally responsive to their customers. This commitment to customer service extends to their Detroit, Michigan, location where Terry Schweitzer, General Manager, oversees 120 employees that provide commercial frontload, industrial roll-off, residential trash and recycling, bulk, and yard waste services. To better organize communication with employees, Terry partnered with Marlin to install Marlin’s Electronic Communication Station (ECS) in their breakrooms and time clock areas.
Fewer Meetings, More Learning
Prior to implementing ECS, employees at Terry’s location used paper and meetings. “Before we had ECS, we were posting flyers on the wall, using word of mouth, and holding special meetings to sit everybody down to communicate safety measures,” said Terry. By using ECS, Terry is able to reach employees and reinforce safety messages outside of meetings. “It’s an enhancement to getting the word out,” said Terry. “When I look at how ECS works, it helps reiterate and play messages multiple times so employees can retain the information. They can actually stop and view the screens at their own pace.”
Features for Ease of Use
Terry is able to use the many features of ECS to help capture the attention of employees at his facility. “My favorite part of ECS is how easy it is to use and how simple it is to post content,” said Terry. “I upload a lot of PDFs and PowerPoints with company announcements and safety training in addition to safety videos and our Employee of the Month. I use the QuickTicker function that scrolls across the bottom of the screen to display our 10 primary safety rules. ECS makes it easy to communicate the same message to all our employees.”
“I also like the accessibility of ECS,” said Terry. “If I’m at home, I can log in and create a safety alert, schedule it, and everything is set. Being able to post future content has been great. Now, I can align content with the facility schedule so the boards are not clogged up with old information.”
Posting the Right Content at the Right Time
By strategically timing the posting of content in ECS, Terry is able to reach all shifts of employees. “With ECS, I can schedule content to play for certain times in the day,” said Terry. “Our drivers are out on the road all day. For content related to them, I schedule it to play 15 minutes before their start time so they are sure to see it. Our main strategy is to not let the content get old and stale.”
Terry has also made sure his ECS screens are where employees can see them. “We have a drivers’ screen right by where the time clock is,” said Terry. “A lot of drivers line up before they clock in, so they get to watch the screen as they wait; especially when there’s new content. There have been many times where I’ll walk up to a driver or employee while they’re looking at the screen and asking questions, which is good to see.”
Helping Employees Retain Information
“ECS has really enhanced our communications,” said Terry. “If our drivers sit in a safety meeting for 30 minutes, they hear a lot about one topic as we know it’s difficult to remember all the information covered. With ECS, because the messages are visual and play multiple times, it really helps employees retain the message. It’s been a great way to communicate to all our employees in different departments.”
Creating Memorable Experiences Through Digital Signage
Fashion Island Hotel
Fashion Island Hotel is a 4-star luxury property in the heart of Newport Beach, California. In an area where there are plenty of options of beautiful places to stay, Fashion Island maintains an occupancy rate of 85% and up in its 295-room, 20-floor facility. The secret to their success is a dedicated workforce of 450 employees committed to creating memorable experiences for their guests.
Service Is Our Passion
The hospitality industry is known for its high turnover, most recently cited at 74% by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fashion Island Hotel is the exception to that trend, priding itself in having professionally tenured employees. “We have over 100 employees who have been here more than 30 years,” said Karri Urode-Abe, HR Director. “Service is our passion. We rely a lot on word of mouth. If we can deliver a positive experience to our guests, they’ll want to tell their friends about it.”
Keeping Everyone Connected
In a fast-paced, 24/7 environment where service is priority, communication is essential. Employees are spread out across the property, working different shifts and performing very different functions including housekeeping, food & beverage, culinary, sales, catering, administration and more.
“Culture is really important here,” said Karri. “We want to attract and keep great people. Our employees have described our culture as open-door, collaborative, fun, innovative, friendly and helpful. We’re committed to keeping the lines of communication open. Our Marlin Electronic Communication Station (ECS) is a big part of that.”
When Fashion Island Hotel renovated their employee café, they installed the Marlin ECS, a digital signage solution for employee communication. It created a central place where employees could gather to take a break and catch up on hotel news relevant to them. The screens display eye-catching content to help keep everyone informed, engaged and motivated.
Communication from Every Corner
“What I like about ECS is that I can have as many people posting content as I want,” said Karri. “I have 20 people involved. We share the responsibility, and given how diverse our workforce is, we make sure that we’re posting content that everyone can relate to.”
Karri uses ECS to post HR policy updates, employee-of-the-month announcements and news about upcoming events. The food and beverage team supplies information on specials, happy hours, new drinks and new team members. The chef shows pictures of new dishes while the Director of Security posts information on safety, days without accidents and recognizes Safety Star employees. The hotel sponsors many fun events for employees and the social media team uses ECS to share the details of any upcoming activities.
Convenience and Ease of Use are Huge Benefits
“We are very busy constantly, so I love how easy it is to use ECS”, said Karri. “It’s super convenient because we can post content from anywhere with an internet connection. If I’m offsite and need to post something, I just log in from my laptop, post the message and I know it’ll be playing on the screen in the café within minutes. It’s like magic.”
“Because I have a lot of other people posting content, it really helps that it’s so easy to use,” said Karri. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. When I showed our head of housekeeping how she could post something in just a few clicks, she got it right away and saw that it wouldn’t take up a lot of her time.”
“We also like the variety of content that Marlin supplies,” said Karri, “especially the motivational messages. It helps keep our boards interesting.”
Staying Current and Dynamic
Many employees at Fashion Island Hotel do not have email. Prior to installing ECS, they relied on bulletin boards to keep workers informed. “Bulletin boards are a lot of work”, said Karri. “Everything is manual and hard to keep up-to-date. With ECS, it’s easy to stay current. The scheduling feature is really flexible and gives the option to schedule in advance and choose start and stop times. So we’re saving time and it also helps reduce paper waste. We still use bulletin boards for birthdays and anniversaries, but the majority of our communication is done on ECS.”
“It’s easier to create excitement with ECS,” said Karri. “For example, we have a talent show coming up and really want to get people involved. We use the scrolling ticker feature along the bottom of the screen to remind everyone to sign up. And we use the auto-counter feature for countdown to holidays or big events. It helps create buzz.”
Fashion Island Hotel understands the importance of delivering helpful, timely, fun and engaging content to their employees through the use of Marlin’s ECS. By tapping into contributors from many departments, they are truly offering something for everyone.
Creating a Perfect Platform for Safety Communication
PABCO Roofing Products
PABCO Roofing Products has been producing asphalt roofing shingles at its Tacoma, WA location since 1984. Their facility employs 152 people across different departments including plant personnel, outside sales, office personnel, shipping, trucking, maintenance, warehouse, and quality control. With a diverse workforce, Safety Manager Jason Anderson uses Marlin’s Electronic Communication Station (ECS) to provide a high quality solution for delivering messages to all employees. PABCO currently has 2 screens setup in their facility positioned in their employee breakrooms.
Safety a #1 Priority
“At PABCO, safety wins and takes priority,” said Jason. “It is our number one core value. The primary reason we have ECS is for the safety of plant personnel.” By having one screen dedicated to safety content, Jason can easily provide his employees with relevant information. “The quicker we can get messages out and the clearer they are,” said Jason, “that’s really where the Marlin board shines.”
Many Features, Infinite Possibilities
ECS offers many features that help Jason keep his messages fresh and dynamic. “There are a lot of ECS features that I really like,” said Jason. “With the QuickTicker function, I can post a message that scrolls across the bottom of the screen, I always post ‘make safety your priority.’ It’s one of the many ways ECS helps grab attention of our plant personnel.”
“I also like the template options that allow me to make any memo or message in any font, color, or background,” said Jason. “If I have an employee alert to communicate, I’ll use a yellow background that really grabs attention. I’ve found that to be really helpful in communicating directly to employees. We even use it for our Facebook and LinkedIn profiles to encourage our employees to share content. ECS offers so many features and offers infinite possibilities for creating content.”
Fresh Content for Different Audiences
By taking advantage of the many features of ECS, PABCO is able to reach and engage multiple audiences in their facility. “Our HR department uses ECS as well,” said Jason. “They always put new hires on the board to help our employees welcome and recognize new faces. Each year we give out an annual Safety Star Award to a top performer and we highlight that on the screens. We also try to recognize all employee anniversaries as they come. Employees are super excited to see themselves on the Marlin boards.”
Through ECS’s built-in features, Jason is able to capture the attention of more than just employees with his in-house messages. “Any time we know we have visitors coming, we’ll always post a welcome message with their company logo and, if possible, a picture of our guests,” said Jason. “They love it. It gets them engaged and makes them feel welcome.”
Eye-Catching Subscription Content
Marlin’s ECS provides industry-specific content with its ECS subscriptions. In addition to Jason’s engaging in-house content, PABCO also uses Marlin’s subscription safety content to engage workers and promote a safe, productive, and healthy workplace. “The content that Marlin provides with ECS is awesome,” said Jason. “I get a lot of comments on it. There are some very eye-catching videos that grab attention. The content is also a good reminder of what not to do and I love that part. It captures more attention than just a static image. Seeing the real live action, whether it’s just animation or real, viewers eat that up.”
Saving Time and Paper
By engaging employees through in-house safety messages and Marlin subscription content, Jason has noticed an immediate impact since installing ECS. “One of the immediate returns on investment is that we no longer waste paper,” said Jason. “We’re not having to print out on paper and then try to recycle it. ECS has really eliminated the useless waste.”
“From a safety standpoint, we can get messages out quicker and clearer than before,” said Jason. “That’s really where the Marlin board shines. It has given us the platform to communicate clearly and precisely what we need to get across to employees. That’s why we use it and that’s why we love it.”
Committed to Communication With Workplace Digital Signage
Red Seal Measurement
Red Seal Measurement designs and manufactures measurement solutions for refined fuel and industrial applications. Their product line of flow meters serves the diverse needs of the liquid petroleum gas market. Located in Greenwood, South Carolina, the company has 63 employees. They run a single production shift with 30 employees who perform raw casting, machining, assembly and testing. In addition to management, the office staff consists of Sales, Marketing, Customer Service and Accounting.
A Great Place to Work
Red Seal is proud of its family-oriented culture. They have very little turnover and many employees have been there for their entire careers. Kathy Maez, Human Resources Manager, joined Red Seal right out of college and has been there for 20 years. “We are a close-knit company,” said Kathy. “We know each other’s families and we look out for one another. We have a lot of long-tenured employees. In fact, we broke ground at this location in 1972 and some of our employees here today helped build this building.”
Committed to Communication
Open communication with employees is a primary part of the culture at Red Seal. For ten years, Red Seal has been working with Marlin to improve employee communication. In the beginning, they used Marlin’s legacy poster program to visually communicate to their employees on safety, teamwork and morale. The posters changed regularly, but because they were static, after a while employees weren’t looking at them.
Always interested in improvement, they decided to migrate to Marlin’s Electronic Communication Station (ECS), a workplace digital signage solution that offered dynamic video content and easy-to-use software for posting in-house messages. Their main objective was to engage employees with interesting and helpful content and have a quick and easy way to do that. Marlin offered a way to do both.
With Marlin’s simple content management software, Kathy can deliver a wide variety of messages offering something for everyone, whether they are on the production line or at their desks. “With the new digital signage system, I like that I can create custom content automatically,” said Kathy. She regularly posts birthdays, work anniversaries, policy reminders, new-hire photos, and company event announcements such as a holiday lunch or quarterly company meetings. She uses the scrolling ticker feature to draw attention to KPIs for production and efficiency such as number of meters built and shipped. When they launch employee surveys, Kathy uses the screen to promote participation.
In addition to Kathy’s custom content, Red Seal enjoys Marlin’s industry-specific content. “I really like the video content that Marlin provides with the program,” said Kathy. “The videos are colorful and eye-catching. I like that there’s fresh content every day and it relates to things that affect our company such as safety and quality in an industrial environment. And our employees love having the news and weather at a glance.”
“Motivation is really important to us,” said Kathy. “Before we had Marlin, we’d have to look for inspirational quotes. Now, because they’re included in the content that Marlin provides, it makes my job easier.”
Way to Go!
Not surprisingly, Red Seal is big on recognition. They use the Marlin screen to acknowledge their “Safety Hero of the Quarter” or to share positive customer feedback. When a customer emails a Business Development Representative to say that a particular employee went above and beyond, they like to make a big deal of it and share it on the screen. When they’re in a crunch to get orders done, they use the screen to cheer on the team.
Red Seal has a lot of people nearing retirement. As they recruit younger workers, they use a training program called “Training within Industry,” sponsored by their local manufacturing extension. It’s a structured program that enables knowledge sharing between seasoned workers and new employees. They use the Marlin screen to welcome trainees by posting their pictures and sharing information on their experience. During the program, they post encouraging messages on the screens and announce their progress.
A Time Saver
By going digital with Marlin’s ECS, not only has Kathy been able to engage employees, but she has also freed up valuable time — a critical factor since she is a department of one. “What’s made a big difference for me is how quickly I can post a message,” said Kathy. “I really like the templates because when I’m in a hurry, I can pick the template I want, put the message in, and it’s right there on the screen. And making changes just takes seconds. If I have to modify a birthday or anniversary list, it’s easy to edit and just takes an instant.”
“Since we introduced ECS, we don’t need bulletin boards for company communication,” said Kathy. “This has saved me time by eliminating steps and it’s easier to keep all our messages current.”
“Marlin has really changed the way we communicate to our employees,” said Kathy. “It has increased their awareness because they’re seeing the messages repeatedly and in a more appealing way. Because ECS is so easy to use, we communicate a lot more things and do it more often. The ECS screen is located in the canteen. The nice thing is that it’s always running when they are in there on their lunch break.”
“Everyone has gotten into the rhythm of checking the screens to see what’s going on. It has become the central place for communication. Whether they use the cafeteria or not, they have come to know that that’s where they can stay informed. And we know that we’re getting the same message to everyone. I love it. I’m really happy to have it. It makes my life easier.”
Making the Company Vision Come to Life with Digital Signage
Senior Metal Bellows
Senior Metal Bellows provides highly customized engineering solutions for their customers in aerospace, semi-conductor, medical and other industrial markets. One of 33 subsidiaries of Senior plc, they are located in Sharon, MA, where they are growing rapidly. They currently have 245 employees and are actively recruiting as they break ground for a new addition to their facility. Given the competitive job market, especially for engineering talent, they recognize the importance of promoting their unique work environment and culture. Communication is a key component.
Getting Out of the Dark Ages
Cynthia Willoth, HR Director, was looking to transform how they communicate with their employees. “We really needed to get out of the dark ages with bulletin boards as our main communication channel. Seventy percent of our workforce is skilled manufacturing. Quality improvement is central to everything they do. We were very strong on posting KPIs to support this, but needed something different that was going to engage and inform our team members. We found that with Marlin’s Electronic Communication Station (ECS). It offered a way to keep our communication visual and dynamic.
Promoting the Strategic Vision
When Cynthia presented the concept of digital signage for employee communication to senior leadership, she focused on the goal of improving and updating communication. It would serve as a platform for promoting the company’s strategic vision and provide one central area where people could congregate to see a variety of messages. Employees could readily see updates on business goals and stats while having other company announcements cycle through the play rotation.
They chose to install two screens: one in the main employee entrance and another in the manufacturing entrance. Both screens display the same content for consistency. Strategic goals are prominently displayed alongside other company updates.
The HR team defines the content strategy, sets the standards and posts everything to the screens. In this way, there is a cohesive plan for consistent communication. In addition to conveying the strategic vision, they use the screens to welcome new employees with a picture and a short description of their new job and their interests. They keep employees engaged with job postings, organizational announcements, environmental health and safety messages, employee referrals, recognition and more.
“We have a program called ‘You Make the Difference,’” said Cynthia. “Employees recognize each other by nominating individuals for work well done where they went above and beyond their actual job description. We showcase these nominees on our Marlin screens.”
“The safety and health & wellness content that Marlin provides with the program really adds value,” said Cynthia. “Because it’s video, it really grabs people’s attention and every day there’s something new. It complements what we’re doing and strengthens the message.”
Recognizing the Impact
“Our people are drawn to the screens to see what’s new,” said Cynthia. “When employees congregate, they start talking about what they see. And it’s not just the employees; our customers notice the screens, too. They come into the main entrance and see the screens on their way to the conference room. They often comment on what’s showing on the screens.”
“Before we had the Marlin screens, everything was on bulletin boards,” said Cynthia. “The majority of them were used for BPI stats, so the company news was easy to miss. Stats and metrics drive us, but we can’t overlook how we communicate with our people. Now everyone knows that the screens are for company news.”
“We’ve definitely saved time by not having to post company messages on bulletin boards,” said Cynthia. “With just a few clicks our messages appear on the screens for everyone to see. But the biggest impact has been making our company vision come to life. That’s number 1. Everything connects to that.”
Keeping Employees Engaged, Informed and Included
InterChange Group is a regional third-party logistics provider and developer based in Harrisonburg, VA. In business since 1993, they are growing rapidly to support the demand for companies needing to store and transport goods. Their workforce consists of 180 team members made up of regional, over-the-road and local truck drivers, warehouse workers, and administrative staff.
Addressing the communication gap
Communication at InterChange is a big challenge given that so many workers do not have access to computers or email. Warehouse workers are spread out in multiple locations and drivers spend most of their time on the road. InterChange was using traditional methods such as bulletin boards, printed notices and emails, but they knew that they still were not reaching everyone.
According to Selena Moore, HR Associate, InterChange was regularly conducting employee roundtables and surveys. Their feedback confirmed that communication was the number one issue. Specifically, employees wanted to know more about what was going on in the company. Often, events were being held and they only knew about them after the fact. They felt left out. Clearly a change was needed.
Introducing a visual communication solution
InterChange partnered with Marlin to introduce digital signage as a way to provide dynamic visual messaging to their associates across the company. They installed 7 screens. Four are located in their main facilities in Harrisonburg and the others are located in warehouses in Lyndhurst, Front Royal and Portsmouth.
Marlin’s Electronic Communication Station (ECS) offered the flexibility that InterChange needed to post messages that would grab their workers’ attention and keep them informed. To drive employee engagement, Selena posts a wide variety of content including employee recognition, welcome messages for new hires and visitors, company events (like their 25th Anniversary trip to Busch Gardens), weather radar, birthdays, anniversaries, customer service recognition week, truck driver appreciation, and more.
“What I like most about Marlin ECS,” said Selena, “is the ease of getting information out to our people quickly and being able to reach everyone. It’s a great way to post official announcements, such as OSHA and HR updates that are required by law. And it’s simple to keep everyone informed on company events. The content that Marlin supplies, especially the safety videos, really helps raise awareness. I like to include the fun stuff, too like high school pictures of supervisors. It’s a great way to get people looking at the screens.”
Employees feel valued
InterChange uses their digital signage screens as a channel for recognizing employees and the work they are doing. “We want our employees to feel valued,” said Selena. “ECS makes it easy for us to do that.”
Marlin’s ECS offers a platform for recognizing employees. InterChange uses it to welcome new employees, thank everyone for a successful safety audit, and help everyone stay healthy with flu shots.
“We use the screens to promote our Super Hero program,” said Selena, “which is a key component to our culture. Each year we honor our heroes who ’put the cape on for our customers’ and post their pictures on the screens as another way to let them know that we appreciate them.”
By adding a visual component to their employee communication strategy with Marlin’s ECS, InterChange is able to keep employees engaged, informed, and included.
Providing the Highest Quality Workplace Communications
Mount Olivet Homes
Mount Olivet Homes (MOH) has been providing its residents with the highest quality of personalized skilled nursing care since 1960. Their complex is made up of two facilities: Mount Olivet Careview Home, which provides traditional skilled nursing home care for 155 residents, and Mount Olivet Home, which focuses on semi-independent living for 92 residents. In total, MOH takes care of 247 residents on campus with over 300 employees. With a large and growing workforce that requires consistent communications, Tom Litecky, Director of Community Relations, teamed up with Marlin to provide a high quality solution for communication in their facilities through the use of Marlin’s Electronic Communication Station (ECS).
Building a Solid Foundation
“Our basic goal was to improve communication for employees within the building,” said Tom. “We started with one Marlin board in our employee break room where we would put notices of in-service training, special notices of meetings, events and other news around the building.” By having a screen located in the break room, Tom can inform employees of any work-related information in an instant without the hassle of constantly updating a bulletin board. “The main point of going with Marlin was to adopt electronic communication and eliminate the usage of posting papers,” said Tom. “It’s been a huge time-saver and an environmental change not having to post papers everywhere.”
New Screens, New Audience
After putting up one of Marlin’s ECS screens in their breakroom, MOH decided to expand their communication strategy to the general public by installing screens in their lobby entrances. These new screens allowed Tom to develop unique content targeted to a different audience: residents, family members, and visitors. “By using the lobby screens, we can post our gift shop hours, Sunday worship service times, and special events around the facilities,” said Tom. “Every month we have a birthday party for residents celebrating birthdays. We always make sure the announcement is posted so families know they can attend the birthday party with their family member. It’s a nice way to inform the public of the events that go on and help create excitement.”
By creating excitement around their events through the use of their ECS screens, Tom is able to create a dependable mode of communication to more people than just employees. “At one of our monthly family council meetings, we had a member make a recommendation on getting something communicated for families and they specifically said, ‘Can we get it posted on the Marlin board?’ A lot of the families are now seeing it as a way of putting things out there,” said Tom. “They wanted to improve communication with the nursing staff regarding daily schedules of staff working and thought that the Marlin board would be the perfect place to let the family members know where to find the schedules.”
A Step Saver
Marlin’s ECS makes it easy for employees to post content to their desired audience. The therapeutic recreation specialists (TRS) at MOH are currently enjoying this benefit. Before Marlin, each TRS would post the daily resident activities on the nursing stations at each of the six elevator lobbies in the complex. “With the Marlin boards, they’ve gotten away from posting them via paper,” said Tom. “It’s been a huge time saver for them because they used to have to go around every day putting up at least eight different pieces of paper. Now they can program it in, have it ready to go for the month, and now it just changes automatically each day.”
The TRS’s realized the value of the Marlin boards early on. “One of them told me, ‘The Marlin board is the greatest, and it has saved me so much time,’” said Tom. “‘I can just sit at my desk and put in what I have to put in without worrying about taking down old bulletin board papers.’”
Feedback and Results
With a total of 18 screens in their facilities, Tom has seen a direct improvement in employee and public relations. “Overall, employee communication has gotten better because everyone knows where to look for the information they need,” said Tom. “It’s pretty clear that you don’t have to be checking for a particular bulletin board or wondering where things are posted. You can get off the elevator at any nursing station and see the activities for the day, and employees can stay up to date on any company happenings.”
By using Marlin’s ECS, MOH has completely overhauled how they communicate. “The biggest improvements I’ve seen from using Marlin’s ECS are improved communication and employee time saved,” said Tom. “Everything is centralized now and people know where to find information. It is a very user-friendly system to get your information posted, and it has met our needs really well.”
Digital Signage: A Proactive Tool for Safety
EMC Mechanical Services
EMC Mechanical Services is a full-service mechanical contractor with three divisions: construction, service, and fabrication. They construct K-12 and higher education buildings, as well as office buildings and hospitals. Those buildings are maintained by their service division. At their fabrication facility, they make metal products for their services division and other competitors in the Richmond area. EMC has 175 employees across all divisions.
Safety is #1
“In our business, safety is of the utmost importance,” said Bruce Tibbetts, President. “Three years ago we formed a safety committee that included management and field reps. We meet bi-monthly to understand at a grassroots level what challenges our workers face. We want to understand the work conditions and what we can do to make it safer for workers. We knew that consistent communication was a key factor in raising awareness of safety, but we were struggling with how to do that. Emails, letters and verbal communication weren’t doing the job.”
Safety is not just a program, but a culture
EMC teamed up with Marlin to install their Electronic Communication Stations (ECS) in their facilities. They installed three screens, with one screen in the conference room covering the construction and service teams and the second screen in the fabrication shop. The third was installed at their parent company’s location to provide visibility into how they were reaching their employees.
EMC’s goal was to have a dynamic way to reinforce safety for everyone. They face a number of safety challenges including:
- Safe driving which affects all company vehicles on the road and employees traveling to and from work
- Promoting consistent use of personal protective equipment (PPE), especially safety gloves and glasses
- Staying fully aware of conditions on the job site or at a service call to avoid injuries or accidents
“One of the things that attracted us to Marlin,” said Bruce, “was that they provide safety video content that regularly covers these topics and others. The messages rotate on the screen and catch people’s attention. It might be a message that’s relevant to what they’re working on at that time, or something they’d remember on their way home that might affect their personal life. It can work like subliminal messaging. It’s another way that we can be proactive by showing employees what to look out for so that they can avoid a bad situation.”
Reaching everybody quickly and easily
Tammy Clark, Executive Assistant, manages the content that plays on ECS. She posts a wide range of messages including internal company updates, commendations for individuals doing a good job or being safety conscious, anniversaries, awards, flu shot announcements, and more.
“It allows us to get messages out very quickly,” said Tammy, “which saves us time. It’s very user friendly, not a complicated system. I like the templates that Marlin provides. They cover a wide variety for announcements, news, alerts, congratulations, job well done, etc. They’re flexible, too. In just a few clicks I can add pictures, text or both.”
Catching and keeping their attention
Tammy is committed to posting content that is sure to grab employees’ attention. “Employees really like seeing commendations,” said Tammy. “When we acknowledge National Construction Day and National Plumbers Day, it shows the focus on them and the importance of what they do. This helps morale and shows our appreciation.”
In a recent survey, employees asked for more news about projects that went well. A customer recently sent a note about what a great job the service technicians had done. Tammy posted that on the screens to share with everyone. “It helps them feel good about what they’re doing,” said Tammy. “It makes them want to look at the boards. The news feed and positive affirmations that Marlin provides also capture their attention. Because it’s digital, they’re naturally drawn to it. It’s something that you can’t miss.”
Setting the standard
EMC also uses ECS to welcome visitors. They post pictures and a welcome message that is timed to their visitors’ arrival. When visitors see the screens, they notice the safety messages. “We do business with a lot of contractors,” said Bruce, “both regional and national. They conduct a pre-qualification process for any project and safety is one of the biggest things they need to check off. They really like that we are promoting safety continuously with the Marlin screens. Safety is paramount to the construction business. You have to be proactive, not reactive. This is a proactive tool.”
Promoting Safety Awareness with Digital Signage
Mount Pleasant Waterworks
Mount Pleasant Waterworks (MPW) is a water and wastewater utility serving 38,000 customers in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. In business since 1935, their Mission Statement is to provide customers with water and wastewater services of exceptional quality and value, while protecting public health and the environment. A workforce of 130 employees delivers on this promise. Many of them work in the field supporting the distribution and collection networks as well as the treatment plants. Others work in an office environment in departments such as Management, Customer Service, Accounting, Human Resources, Information Technology, etc. MPW boasts less than 1% annual employee turnover and was voted one of the Best Places to Work in South Carolina for three years in a row, which explains the long tenure of many employees.
Promoting Safety Awareness
Given the nature of their work, safety is a top priority. Ronnie Freeman, Safety Director, is in charge of making sure that the company meets all OSHA standards and that employees are properly trained in all aspects of the job, whether on a job site or in a facility.
“Our field employees are engaged in work that is inherently unsafe such as excavating and trenching,” said Ronnie. “When you are digging 6 feet into the ground you have to do it correctly, or you can end up burying yourself. Many employees work in confined spaces where they’re entering manholes, tanks and wet wells. It’s critical that they know how to perform these jobs safely or they could endanger themselves as well as their co-workers.”
Introducing a Visual Communication Channel
Ronnie knew that they needed a more effective way to communicate with workers, especially around safety and emergency messaging. Marlin reached out to him to introduce its Electronic Communication Station (ECS), a workplace digital signage solution geared to reaching employees who aren’t at their desks and do not have access to computers.
“We were very impressed with ECS and what it could do,” said Ronnie. “We liked that it could display a variety of different messages in rotation. It offered a way to keep safety messages front and center.”
MPW installed ECS in their canteen area where the time clock and snack machines are located. Their field workers are in the canteen every day, so it is the best place to grab their attention.
“Because ECS displays multiple messages, there’s always something that catches the eye of an employee,” said Ronnie. “Even if they just stop for a few seconds, they can capture something and move on. They come and go at all different times, so it has really helped us to know that, regardless of the time, they have access to the latest information.”
Delivering Emergency Messages
Emergency preparedness is a way of life at MPW. This starts by making sure that all employees know when an emergency such as a hurricane, tornado or heavy thunderstorm is imminent. They have an alert classification process called OPCON. Depending on the nature and severity of the emergency, the response levels are dictated by OPCON levels. OPCON 1 is the most severe and calls for a full response by employees.
“We use ECS to flash the alert on the screen so that everyone knows what they have to do to get ready,” said Ronnie. “When Hurricane Michael was headed our way, we prepped everyone with an OPCON 3 alert. They see it on the screen and they know what to do. We also send out an email to everyone, but it really helps to reinforce that message in a visual way on the screens.”
Promoting Healthy Habits
As a member of the Employee Wellness team, Ronnie uses the Marlin screen to promote in-house wellness programs. The Healthy Habits initiative offers access to a personal trainer who conducts weigh-ins, demos and talks, encouraging people to lose weight. Once a year they do biometric screening, blood draws, and flu shots, all of which help employees stay healthy.
“By promoting programs like these on the ECS screen, it really helps with participation levels,” said Ronnie. “The program we’re running now was timed strategically before Thanksgiving. It has had one of the highest participation levels ever.”
Keeping the Message Fresh & Engaging
Because ECS is a dynamic visual communication platform, the content is also dynamic. Before installing digital signage, MPW used bulletin boards throughout the facility. The postings were static and had to be updated manually.
“What we really like with Marlin,” said Ronnie, “is that you provide video content on safety, wellness and other topics that suit our audience. One of our challenges is that that we have both office and field workers. I like using the Marlin content library to find safety messages that work for both groups. And our employees like the motivational quotes that Marlin provides.”
Ronnie posts a wide variety of content that keeps people looking at the screens. This includes weather radar maps, safety training schedules, CPR courses, etc. He uses lots of pictures of employees in the field and examples of “safety don’ts” to remind people what not to do to stay safe. He uses these pictures as lessons learned and a way to reinforce certain safety themes.
“The system is easy to use and I can schedule automatic start and stop dates,” said Ronnie. “That means that the content never gets stale. We use the QuickCounter feature for OSHA recordables. I used to post these manually, updating the board daily. If I was out for a week, it didn’t get updated. Now I just set it and it auto-counts. And I don’t need to send out as many emails because I know that the information is available on the screens where everyone can see it.”
How We Know it’s Working
The ultimate test for any communication is knowing that you are reaching your audience.
“When I go to the canteen and see people reading what’s on the screens, it tells me that it’s working,” said Ronnie. “They are stopping to look, read and learn. Plus it’s updated with news and weather, which gets people talking. The Marlin screens have now become one of our main venues for communication.”
Creating a Consistent Message for All
Salt Lake City
The City of Salt Lake understands that communication is the critical “glue” that connects their diverse workforce. Nobody understands this more than Trent Steele, HR Benefits Analyst for the City. “We have 2,800 employees across all departments. More than a third of them do not regularly access emails. Whether they are meter readers, mechanics, maintenance or park workers, they are not at a desk. So Marlin’s Electronic Communication Station (ECS) really comes in handy in offering another way to reach them.”
Marlin has had a long-standing relationship with the City of Salt Lake. Originally, the digital signage screens were purchased at the department level, offering a visual communication channel to keep employees informed and engaged. Screens are located in breakrooms where employees gather. While this worked well for departmental communication, it was a challenge for HR to disseminate information about city-wide programs. They had to approach each department separately and request that they post HR messages on their screens.
This all changed when Marlin consolidated the account to allow access to all screens. This enabled HR to easily post content to all locations, and the central contract made it easier for other departments to join. Today the City has 14 screens serving Public Utilities, Public Service Sanitation, Park and Lands, City Streets and City Compliance.
Spreading the word
The HR department has a lot of initiatives for city employees. Supervisor Boot Camp is a popular advanced training program for future or current supervisors. Wellness programs, biometric testing, flu shots and other programs are available to the city’s workforce. Getting the message out is very important. “We really want to reach every corner of the city workforce,” said Trent. “We used to rely on posters, staff meetings and emails, but still there were gaps. Marlin’s ECS is by far the best tool for reaching those corners. It’s great for people who don’t want to use electronic communications or don’t have access as part of their routine, except at break time.”
Prior to having access to Marlin ECS, HR would produce the messages and send them to the departmental contacts, trying to make it easy for them to post. But they had no control over whether the messages were delivered in a timely manner. “Now we can do it in one fell swoop & apply it to all different areas,” said Trent. “It saves them time, saves us time and creates a consistent message for everyone.”
Digital signage is a very effective tool for promoting programs and generating enthusiasm among employees. HR uses the screens to announce their programs and let employees know where they can learn more. They identify the local supervisor or contact person on the ground and provide a short web link to learn more.
“A good example is our Wellness Program,” said Trent. “It’s simple. They just need to know that it’s coming and who to talk to. If they’d never seen the message, they’d never know to talk to that person in the first place. We know it’s working when employees come to us and say, ‘Hey, I want to learn more’. That’s quite telling because now we know that they know about us and what we’re offering.”
Driving engagement with a mix of messages
Because digital signage is a visual communication channel, it drives employee engagement by grabbing employees’ attention. While all screens across the city display HR-provided content for city-wide subjects, each site also posts content that is most relevant to their workforce. This is supplemented by industry-specific content that comes with the Marlin program. “The generated content that Marin supplies is really helpful and appealing,” said Trent. “It seems to cross all boundaries to really get the message across.”
HR takes advantage of the flexible scheduling features that save time and ensure that messages are delivered to the right audience at the right time. For Open Enrollment, they used to issue monthly meeting schedules. Now they can display weekly schedules by department so that employees know what’s available. Flu shot reminders are also posted by location, reminding employees where to go and when. Because the software makes it easy to create, schedule and distribute content, HR saves considerable time and has greater control over message delivery.
“For us, communicating to different departments can be tricky,” said Trent. “They all have different access and operational needs. It was really hard for us to deliver one consistent message. So for us to be able to push the message to a many different departments at one time, and schedule as we see fit, has been a really helpful change. To sum it up, Marlin’s ECS does a good job communicating to a large population with ease.”
Keeping Communication at the Core of Our Strategy
Blommer Chocolate Company of Canada, Inc.
Chocolate is serious business at Blommer. When you bite into a chocolate coated granola bar, or a cinnamon chip muffin, you are experiencing the taste of Blommer. As the largest supplier of specialty confectioner coatings, this Campbellford, Ontario-based manufacturer has 140 employees in a 24/7 plant.
A Culture of High Performance
Blommer is committed to building a high-performance culture and continually looking for ways to improve. For years they have used the Denison Culture Survey tool to benchmark their performance against other successful companies. As a result of the survey, they decided to ramp up their employee communication by introducing digital signage. Blommer needed a way to communicate to all shift workers 24/7, especially outside of office hours. They went to a local computer retailer for a solution.
“At the time, we thought it was about choosing the right technology display system,” said Doug Harper, General Manager. “But it was a classic case of ‘we didn’t know what we didn’t know.’ We quickly learned that what really matters is the software and the content. The system we purchased was cumbersome to use and could only accommodate static content playing in a single frame. We needed something better.”
Choosing the Right Partner
Blommer turned to Marlin for a better solution. This time they knew what they really needed, which was a way to make all of their communication visual. The system had to be easy to use, cloud-based and able to accommodate multiple users. And they needed content.
“The Marlin system met all of these requirements,” said Doug. “The software is really easy to use. We can post content in minutes. The Marlin content is just what we needed to make our communication more dynamic. The health and safety content really grabs peoples’ attention with video and great visuals. And the content library helps us communicate a wide range of messages.”
“We have a diverse workforce with employees of all ages,” said Doug. “What would catch the eye of a 20-year old is different from that of a 50 year old. Because the Marlin screens have multiple frames for messages, we can deliver our messages in multiple ways.”
“It has Become Part of our Strategy”
“I’ve never worked for a company where communication wasn’t the #1 problem,” said Doug. “As a leadership team, we keep communication at the core of our strategy. The Marlin system is our preferred method of communicating because it’s visual and everybody can see it ̶ regardless of what shift they are on. We always have shift meetings, but the screens are in everybody’s face all the time, so it’s a great way to reinforce messages. We all like the outlet so much and are very conscious of how we use it.”
Health & Safety and Human Resources staff are the primary content providers. Doug also contributes to content as do other executives. They are producing a wide range of content including:
- Performance metrics
- Customer service measurements
- Employee benefit information
- On-time delivery stats
- Financial updates
- CEO messages
- Welcome messages for visitors
Blommer is proud of its high-performance culture, which encourages team problem-solving. They use the Marlin screens to kick off their Team Challenge. There are four teams, each of which identify a problem and create a solution. They appoint a leader and work with a coach. Each team gives a formal presentation and prizes are awarded. Last year the company saved $1 MM in savings from team challenge ideas. Using their digital signage to communicate the challenge helps everyone share in the excitement.
When we asked Doug about how the employees have reacted to the Marlin screens, he said, “You can see people looking at it. They like it. They are paying attention and they are getting the information.”
Making Communication Personal
What do office buildings, sports stadiums and parking structures have in common? They are constructed from precast concrete products produced by Coreslab Structures of Los Angeles. When you are in the business of making 100-140-ft. concrete slabs for use in constructing bridges, buildings and stadiums, it’s all about safety. The challenge is to find an effective way to communicate to the shift workers in the plant to reinforce safety.
Coreslab chose workplace digital signage as a solution for making safety visual and reaching workers on all shifts. They knew they needed to go beyond verbal communication and stand-up meetings to keep safety front and center in their workers minds.
Tony Catona, PHR, Human Resources/Safety Manager said, “The Marlin Electronic Communication Station helps us meet our main objectives. Our themes are safety and teamwork. The industry-specific content that Marlin supplies makes it easy for us to deliver these messages in an engaging way. And the content management software allows us to create our own content on current projects, company news, birthdays and anniversaries.”
Keeping it Personal to Drive Engagement
When Tony joined Coreslab a year ago, he took over the management of the Marlin screens. One of the screens was right outside his office at the timeclock. Although employees were looking at the screens, he felt that they could do a lot more to grab workers’ attention by personalizing the content. He began using Marlin’s built in templates to post birthdays and anniversaries. Using the automated counter feature, he posted lost days stats. Tony shot photos of past and current projects and took random photos of people doing their jobs. He immediately saw the difference as employees took a few more minutes each day to notice and comment on the pictures and personal milestones.
Projecting a Professional Image
When visitors or new applicants walk into Coreslab they immediately see the screen. “It really makes a statement,” said Tony. “It’s a great way to show them what Coreslab is all about and it projects a professional image.” It is also used for orientation when new hires tour the plant. Tony uses the screen in the cafeteria to showcase it as a training tool. It helps to reinforce safety messages and show off recent projects. “Seeing pictures of our projects really helps prospective and current employees get the big picture of what we do,” said Tony.
Content They Can Relate to
“We have a very diverse workforce,” said Tony. “They range in age from 18-65. The variety of content that Marlin supplies, with its high-end graphics and videos, offers something of interest for everyone. We have many Spanish-speaking employees. The Marlin Spanish content helps us keep our safety messages bilingual.”
Helping us Communicate More Efficiently
“The Marlin system helps us communicate more information in a short amount of time, without additional resources,” said Tony. “The screen layout offers multiple frames for messages. We are able to repurpose content from other sources such as our company newsletter and post it on the Marlin screens. This improves our chances of getting the message out.”
Software that’s Easy to Use
“We really like the new content management software,” said Tony. “It’s intuitive, so I really didn’t need training, though it’s helpful to have the online tutorials. I can upload files in a few clicks and there are a lot of pre-designed templates that work great for birthdays, anniversaries and important announcements. An added bonus is when I do need help; our local Regional Manager is there, as is the Customer Care team.”
Coreslab is committed to making safety communication visual. Their unique approach of keeping their message personal has created a winning combination for engaging their employees.
Engaging and Informing Employees with Visual Communication
Power Secure, Inc.
PowerSecure, Inc., a subsidiary of Southern Company, is a leading provider of utility and energy technologies. They are the “single-stop-shop for solutions across the electric grid,” providing design and engineering, manufacturing, installation and service. Their footprint extends across North America.
To keep up with the high demand for energy solutions, PowerSecure has grown its workforce 20% in the last year. Less than a third of its employees are at fixed locations. Others are around the country at worksites. Communication is critical to keeping employees safe and maintaining quality.
A Proven Formula
Barry Sechrist, VP of Safety, had used a very early version of digital signage for workplace communication in a prior job. He saw how effective it could be to use visual communication to engage employees. By combining interesting information such as news, weather or sports with company messages, employees were drawn to the screens. While they were checking the news, they’d also see an important safety message.
Barry’s goal was to find a tool that would help PowerSecure promote health and safety and keep workers informed on human resource updates and other business information. The first wave was to focus on reaching employees at fixed locations. Searching the internet, he quickly saw that most digital signage providers were in the business of selling display technology. He was looking for something more. He knew he needed help with content and he was looking for support that would extend beyond the initial installation.
Finding the right partner
“We chose Marlin for three reasons,” said Barry. “They offered industry-specific content, I liked the way the content displayed on the screen, and they called me back. That was important to me.”
For the first wave, PowerSecure installed 26 screens in a dozen locations over three months. The screens were located throughout their plants. In four locations they also installed screens in welcome areas. Since then, they have moved to a new facility, adding screens and locations for improved coverage. They have plans for continued expansion.
Though Barry is currently the primary content provider for all screens, Marlin’s technology makes it easy for him to add unlimited administrators which will become more important as they expand screen coverage to additional locations.
Getting the Message Right
Digital signage works best when the right content is delivered to the right target audience. For the employee-facing screens, Barry posts general health & safety messages to all locations. He includes information on injuries with pictures of what happened. He uses the Marlin screens to direct employees to their intranet where they’ll find important safety information such as safety data sheets and procedures. HR adds content that keeps employees informed about benefits. As PowerSecure settles into their new, larger facility, Barry expects local administrators will be posting additional site-specific content. They also plan to use the screens to reinforce safety training.
“The animated Marlin content acts as a hook to get employees to look at the screens,” said Barry. While there, they also see our in-house messages. At some of our locations, we use the Spanish content from Marlin which helps engagement with our diverse employee base.”
In the lobby areas, the Marlin screens are used to welcome visitors and educate them on PowerSecure’s products and services. These screens also display Marlin content that covers universal topics such as health and wellness and motivational content.
What is the Impact?
“The Marlin system has given us a different avenue to reinforce thoughts and ideas,” said Barry. “It provides a better way to push out content to our employees and it helps us make our messages visual.”
It Takes a Team to get it Right
Central Iowa Power Cooperative
At Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO), the goal is to provide safe, reliable and affordable electric service to its members. That cannot happen without a workforce that is safe, engaged and committed to delivering on that promise. CIPCO’s members serve a population of nearly 300,000 rural and urban residents and more than 12,000 commercial and industrial accounts. Their employees are spread out in 5 locations and 4 different cities. With workers located in power plants, transmission facilities and offices, communication can be a challenge.
Making Safety Visual
CIPCO was looking for a way to provide employees with a simple scoreboard or snapshot on safety performance. They wanted to it to be visual and visible to all workers. Digital signage seemed like the right solution. They were somewhat familiar with digital signage because there was a screen in the lobby of their Des Moines facility, though it was dedicated to welcoming visitors. What they wanted was a true “employee information center” where they could deliver a consistent message to all 5 of their locations. While safety was the primary driver, they needed a way to keep everyone informed on other company updates from HR and Corporate Communications.
They chose the Marlin Electronic Communication Station because it was designed specifically for employee communication. The software enabled them to manage content and users across all locations and the industry-specific content that Marlin supplies helped reinforce safety. At first Rex Butler, the Manager of EH&S, was the sole administrator, posting in-house safety content that would run with the Marlin-provided animated content. He quickly realized that the program could be a lot more dynamic if he involved other departments.
Creating a Content Team
He enlisted a team of 7 people from HR, Communications, and Safety. It made a big difference because it became a shared commitment and they were able to offer a wider variety of messages, written with different tones & styles. “Our VPs sometimes have special requests,” said Rex. “For example, we’re remodeling our facility right now and we’re using the screens to provide updates on our progress.” With multiple content contributors, they needed to establish a few ground rules. The team developed general guidelines for posting and agreed on a review process when needed.
Variety Drives Engagement
“There is no limit to how we can use the system, “said Rex. “The software is easy to use and we can post videos, automated counters, charts, pictures, etc. The built-in templates are great for work anniversaries, birthdays, births and holidays.” The team uses the screens to post KPIs of leading indicators and other safety accomplishments. They keep everyone informed on employee benefits, survey reminders, charitable projects, and personal achievements like RAGBRAI, the famous bicycle ride across Iowa.
Posting profiles of new employees and what they do helps everyone feel more connected. “Recently we changed CEOs and featured bios of Directors on our Board,” said Rex. “The Marlin system was a great channel for communicating that.”
“The original content that Marlin supplies is dynamic,” said Rex. “It keeps our messages visual with eye-catching graphics and video. We need to continually reinforce the same issues in different ways. Marlin helps with that by keeping the message interesting.”
“We have a good safety record,” said Rex. “Compliance is one of our top priorities. The challenge is to keep people engaged, energized, motivated, encouraged and supported. This is one way that the Marlin system helps us.”
Other ways include:
- Improved communication, which contributes to a feeling of “one company” vs. fragmented locations
- Getting people engaged and talking about what they see on the screens
- Hearing employees’ reactions and feedback, which helps to generate more ideas for new content
- Projecting a professional image, which is something that visitors often comment on
“We’re all information-driven,” said Rex. “Email alone isn’t effective in letting everyone know what’s going on, and not all our workers have access to company email. But when they visualize the information on a regular basis, it does a lot to foster comradery and make everyone feel a part of the group.”
Employee survey reveals winning formula for effective digital signage content
Herr Foods, Inc.
When Herr Foods implemented a company-wide digital signage system, they were confident they had the right technology to reach employees without email. But it was a change in content strategy that really made their workplace digital signage truly engaging. See how they utilized easy digital signage powered by Marlin to enhance their engagement results.
The HR staff at Herr Foods headquarters in Nottingham, Pennsylvania, knows a thing or two about how to engage workers using digital signage.
Their journey to success started with a need to find a better way to communicate with over 500 Herr Foods production workers across three shifts and two departments. After partnering with Marlin and installing three digital signage screens in their breakrooms, they got to work uploading, scheduling and displaying all kinds of workplace messaging.
But something was missing. They weren’t yet realizing the level of engagement they had hoped for. It took an employee survey and some conversations with staff in the breakroom to find out what needed to change.
The overwhelming conclusion? Their digital signage content needed to be more personal, more varied, and more fun! The HR team responded with a mix of material to complement their work-specific messaging. Sports RSS feeds were added to the display rotation, as well as more employee recognition pieces, from birthdays and anniversaries to welcome messages for new employees. And to really keep it even more fun and engaging, a regular piece known as ‘Throwback Thursday’ was also included. It challenges everyone to identify today’s Herr Foods employees based on some older photos—big hair and all.
Technology Crucial to New Content Strategy
Marlin’s digital signage SaaS-based technology makes it easy to post, enhance, and schedule all of this varied content with ease. But the software’s ability to display content in multiple frames is crucial to the HR team’s new content strategy. It enables work-specific messaging, such as a benefits memo, to be displayed at the same time on a different part of the screen as an employee recognition piece. The evidence of success can be seen right in their breakroom. Workers are now drawn to the more personal and fun content. From there, they also absorb any number of workspecific messaging in adjacent segments or frames.
For Herr, it’s a win-win. Their ‘lighter side’ content helped increase their active digital signage audience, a part of engagement necessary for delivery of work messaging. But the new strategy also delivers an uptick in morale. Workers see more images of their peers on the screens, and more examples of teamwork and Herr culture in action. The results are very positive.
Herr Foods Inc., Corporate Office, Nottingham, PA
- Started by Herr family in 1946
- Manufactures over 340 snack food items
- Employs shift workers & route sales people
Utilizes Marlin digital signage to:
- Reach workers without email access
- Provide a consistent message across locations
- Engage workers with visual communication
- Deliver corporate and local site messaging
“This is great!” exclaims Jose’, a Herr Foods employee who commented on the screen. “I like seeing the employee welcome messages, the updates. Oh, and the news and sports!” The breakrooms at Herr Foods are a perfect proving ground for visual communication. Employees have 15 minute breaks, so content has to be managed accordingly, utilizing best practices for readability and timing. Once again, their segmented screens come in handy, ensuring all messages see a place in rotation during those brief breaks.
Keeping the Momentum
Tori Roth, HR Generalist at the Nottingham location, notes how employees now accept their ‘Communication Center’ as their main source of company information. And it’s an important part of the onboarding process as well. Tori will upload and schedule a welcome message to coincide with the employee’s first day on the job. “We take them to the screens and explain that this is our primary company communication system, and they should check it out at least once a day,” Tori explains. When they see their own photo on the screens, they realize right away how powerful a tool this is and embrace the concept.
Having established its vision of workplace digital signage at its headquarters, Herr Foods has since initiated a company-wide installation. Each branch will be able to contribute local content, but can also benefit from corporate news and updates. Together, this varied content achieves a perfect mix of messaging that includes everything from CEO videos to pictures of local shifts dressed up to celebrate the holidays.
Visitors to Herr lobbies will also start to benefit from Marlin digital signage. The same patented technology that’s used to engage Herr workers can now highlight the Herr Foods story to anyone who pays a visit. It’s a story worth telling.
Ensuring Reach & Visibility Through Workplace Digital Signage
The Metropolitan Utilities District of Omaha, Nebraska
Metropolitan Utilities District (M.U.D.) provides both natural gas and safe drinking water to nearly a quarter of a million residents in the Omaha, Nebraska, area. Its more than 850 employees include both technical and administrative staff across multiple facilities.
Link all employees across multiple facilities with a visual messaging system.
Turnkey digital signage that enables centralized message creation, scheduling, distribution & reporting.
Employees now have a go-to venue they trust will always contain the most up-to-date announcements & updates.
The Metropolitan Utilities District of Omaha, Nebraska, (M.U.D.) has seven separate facilities located throughout the metro area. They employ numerous shift workers, with the majority of the workforce in the field answering services requests from customers and ensuring the District’s gas and water delivery systems are optimally maintained.
Reaching employees in a variety of locations, shifts and in the field presented the District with a communication dilemma. M.U.D. sought a solution that could provide timely notifications and information to employees in each facility.
M.U.D. selected patented workplace digital signage from Marlin. The system enables the human resources department to upload, schedule, and display content across facilities with absolute certainty.
This uniform approach ensures equal access to important information such as internal job postings, regardless of location and shift. As M.U.D. Employment Manager Claire Learch points out, “This is a great place to work, and many of our employees are long term. Internal position openings are an avenue for our workforce to build their careers.”
A walk-through of the break rooms at the M.U.D. Operations Center reveals the can’t-miss job posting information on their large LCD digital signage screens. The bright, eye-catching displays were installed as part of a turnkey package from Marlin. It included everything from site evaluation to installation by a team that met M.U.D.’s strict security check background requirements.
At any time, M.U.D. administrators can log into the cloud-based digital signage content management system (CMS) and review a report of content they’ve posted to their digital signage. This reporting feature means there’s always a record of which job openings were posted, in addition to the locations where the content was displayed, when it was displayed, and for how long. It’s a system that ensures accountability and compliance.
M.U.D. has the option to display their custom content exclusively, either in full-screen mode or in frames that allow for multiple pieces to display at once. But to ensure that there’s always fresh and engaging content, their digital signage also displays news, weather and sports feeds provided by Marlin, in addition to industry-specific content that addresses everything from morale to safety topics. By using different segments of their screen, they’re also able to brand their messaging, 24/7.
M.U.D. is a big proponent of creating and nurturing a culture of safety, often utilizing its digital signage for messaging on everything from slips, trips & falls to heat stroke awareness. But that’s just the beginning. Their digital signage screens also provide a venue for employee recognition, particularly for their Safety Stars program. It’s a way of highlighting individuals and teams across the M.U.D. enterprise who contribute to workplace safety in very tangible ways. It doesn’t matter which department you work in or what your title may be—Safety Stars all receive top billing at M.U.D.
With Marlin digital signage, M.U.D. administrators have a proven method for fair and equal distribution of important workplace information. They have a platform for communication that can also be used for all kinds of safety and morale-building programs, and employees have a go-to venue for reviewing that information without having to log into intranet sites or accessing email. It’s one more reason why M.U.D. continues to be a great place to work.
Reinforcing ‘Safety First’ Messaging 24/7
The International Paper facility in Sumter, South Carolina, has taken its BBS (Behavior Based Safety) process and 5S methodology to a new level with the use of Marlin’s patented Electronic Communication Station technology. See how they’re reaching and engaging employees at their 24/7 operation and supporting their ‘Safety First’ messaging with this easy visual communication tool.
When your facility operates 24/7 with a 12-hour shift schedule, you’d better have an effective way to deliver consistent, attention-grabbing messages to all employees, no matter when they clock-in.
Add in a ‘28-day month,’ with employees working 14 days on/off, and the need to reinforce employee communications sky-rockets.
Andre’ McBride, Plant Manager at International Paper’s Sumter facility, was looking for an innovative solution for this particular workplace communication challenge. He needed it to be:
- 24/7 (without relying upon email)
- Ongoing (not just a limited-time initiative)
- Customizable so that safety, quality, and production messages were focused on the Sumter facility
For Andre’ and his team, the answer came in the form of Marlin’s Electronic Communication Station (ECS) technology—a patented workplace digital signage platform for easily distributing management messages via any number of flat-screen monitors throughout a facility.
The Beginnings of ‘The Cutting Edge’
The Sumter facility, which employs 112 hourly workers, is responsible for paper sheeting operations, receiving large paper rolls from mills in Selma, Alabama, Eastover and Georgetown, South Carolina. It takes a skilled, highly knowledgeable workforce focused on quality and attention to detail to convert those heavy rolls into the nicely packaged paper you may find at big box stores like Office Depot and Staples. Many businesses also utilize International Paper’s high-end, customized and branded letterhead. That means there’s always a strong need to communicate with employees, making sure they’re ready to live up to their local motto, ‘We will not fail our customers!’
The team in Sumter once used a common bulletin board for employee communication. The boards were tagged with a nameplate of ‘The Cutting Edge,’ a reference to the nature of their work in the paper cutting industry. From there, the facility utilized a poster program developed by Marlin that addressed common workplace issues through visual communication. “The Marlin posters helped, and we did that from the standpoint of ‘Safety First,’” says Andre’. “It did exactly what we wanted it to do. The monitors are just the next step.”
This ‘next step’ fittingly maintains the same nameplate of ‘The Cutting Edge,’ which appears at the top of their two digital signage displays. And it’s clear that Andre’ and his team have exponentially built out their ‘Safety First’ messaging with their new visual communication technology, which displays several safety-related messages throughout the day.
Enhancing Existing Safety Programs
The Sumter facility’s modern visual communication plan supports their BBS (Behavior Based Safety) process. Managers and employees have entered into a partnership to identify possible safety issues, communicate those issues, and encourage everyone to examine their daily safety behavior.
Many of the messages posted to ‘The Cutting Edge’ digital message boards are fully aligned with BBS and also 5S methodology, a workplace organization system that can help with both safety and efficiency. At any given time, their boards may display a photo of an actual work area at their facility. Captions then challenge workers to examine the photo from one standpoint or another, such as ‘housekeeping.’ It’s all about helping to avoid ‘at-risk conditions.’
The boards are also recognized as the place to get reminders about many other site-specific safety initiatives and meetings. Messages are branded for easy recognition, such as with their S.H.A.R.K. pieces, which focus on Safety, Health, Awareness, Responsibility, and Knowledge.
It’s clear that Andre’ and his team at the Sumter facility recognize the importance of celebrating safety success. That’s why ‘The Cutting Edge’ boards display ‘Safety Employee of the Month’ pieces. This content is easy to produce, often starting with a simple PowerPoint that is then uploaded and scheduled through Marlin’s cloud-based Content Management System (CMS). Pieces always include a picture of a smiling award winner—a real attention-grabber and easy way to promote a culture of safety and build morale.
Andre’ also uses the built-in QuickCounter feature to count up the number of ‘Days Since the Last Recordable’ and ‘Days Since the Last lost Work Day.’ They recently used their boards to recognize a safety milestone, 2 years of ‘No Lost Work Day Cases.’
Marlin Content: A Key Safety Component
“The Marlin pieces have a huge impact,” Andre’ says of the animated safety content that Marlin automatically makes available for use with ‘The Cutting Edge’ boards. “They make you think, ‘Wow, what even made that person consider doing something like that?!’” Andre’ exclaims as he recalls pieces that highlight extreme safety do’s and don’ts.
While the Marlin pieces help attract attention, Andre’ explains that employees enjoy many aspects of their digital boards. They like the employee recognition pieces and being well-informed about their facility, and they also like the weather, news clippings, and current events that Marlin supplies. This compelling contribution of information gets people looking at the boards on a regular basis.
The partnership created by management and employees through effective communication and transparency is a big part of the Sumter facility’s long-term success. Whether ‘The Cutting Edge’ boards highlight plant objectives, safety, or quality messages, Andre’ and his team can rest assured that every day and night, employees will be welcomed by a communication system that grabs attention and builds a sense of community. The boards have met the required objectives, and the faces of smiling employees on the digital displays are a reflection of a facility that is setting a standard in workplace communication.