Since starting in 1962 as a voice for seniors, Northwoodcare has grown into Eastern Canada’s largest, most innovative not-for-profit long term care, independent living, home care and community outreach centre for seniors. They have over 6000 clients, 1400 employees and 500 volunteers based out of 8 offices spread over a distance of more than 200 km.
“We wanted to be able to communicate with staff in different locations, provide an archive of information, and create a means to communicate that was more efficient than email” says Dan MacDonald, Northwoodcare Inc. Their Communications Department was tasked with gathering the options and presenting the possibilities to the executive leaders.
Several options were considered such as web-based subscriptions and custom solutions, the latter would require either in-house expertise or the need to outsource consultants. A hosted solution was also considered, which turned out to be too restrictive for their requirements. They moved to researching various intranet software vendors and solutions.
Their choice for Intranet Connections was based on scalability, extensive customization and design options, role based security, ease of use, extranet capabilities, and an affordable price (one license fee, not based per user).
There was a learning curve for some of the novice computer users but over time people at Northwoodcare have come to see the intranet as a great space for information. To introduce the Intranet/Extranet site to employees, they conducted a series of educational sessions which is an on-going process.
“Engaging employees to use the intranet on a daily basis is still a challenge, however everyone recognizes the benefits of the tool especially when it offers up-to-date information at their finger tips, such as the Employee Directory and sharing documents,” says Dan MacDonald, Northwoodcare Inc. “We used to maintain hard copy phone lists but now the intranet is the only place we look for employee contact info. We continue to focus employees on getting information from the one location, our intranet site.” To facilitate further access to the site, Northwoodcare will be setting up kiosks in various locations to provide Intranet/Extranet access for non-office staff.
The intranet home page often contributes to the success of a site, and Northwoodcare chose to utilize the user-defined portal options, the push of new content through the What’s New box and setting user alert and subscriptions. The design options created a simple and clean look and feel for the intranet. The built-in applications they currently use the most are Employee Directory, Search, What’s New and Job Postings. They also allow for users to be content authors throughout the site. “It goes without saying that the most powerful aspect of the site is the option to give all users the ability to add content themselves“, says Dan MacDonald.
Northwoodcare uses Intranet Connections as both an intranet and extranet site to connect employees in different locations including satellite offices and for people working from home.