The District of West Vancouver needed a better internal communication tool for employees to connect with one another, simplify and maintain useful contact, and communication with their 750+ employees.
The District of West Vancouver is a district municipality in British Columbia. It is home to over 40,000 people, and more than 750 full-time equivalent employees. With a sprawling collection of diverse employees, and facing an ever-growing workforce, the District of West Vancouver needed a better for employees find each other, simplify and maintain useful contact, and keep track of what’s going on in their organization. Intranet Connections delivered a platform for organization and communication between employees. This includes dynamic organizational charts, allowing everyone to easily keep track of changes across a vast employee base.
Before integrating an intranet solution, the District of West Vancouver found that without internal communication tools, it was difficult to stay agile, and even simple coordination between co-workers could be a time-consuming affair. Employees used a printed document to look up each other’s phone numbers or to see listings of new hires that would let them adapt to changing team structures. Intranet Connections provided West Vancouver organizers with the software they needed to develop a useful and simple communication platform.
As with any organization with hundreds of employees, minor reorganization within departments and seasonal turnover mean that an employee directory must be updated constantly in order to provide employees with real-time information of each of their locations, current roles, and responsibilities. The employee directory has proven to be the most popular feature. It connects employees spread across a wide geographical area in a streamlined, easy-to-navigate, up-to-date, and fast platform.
Before adopting their intranet, the District of West Vancouver had an outdated document storage solution that was not user-friendly and often out-of-date. Their intranet, WestNet, was used to centralize links to crucially important sites and develop applications that saved employees the time it took to incessantly look up the same pieces of information and helped to unify processes and avoid timing and formatting conflicts.
Since WestNet is a central place for links and browser-based applications, employees can access the information when they need it. Regardless of where employees are located or what computing device they are using, this co-created database of vital links has become one of the West Vancouver municipal governments most widely used electronic resources.
Prior to WestNet, some departments were more active than others at updating content to keep it current. Now with the content centralized under a Document, Forms and Policy navigation menu, employees can quickly access the latest service forms and policy information in a familiar, easy-to-navigate, common area. All departments have embraced the intranet as a means of providing the latest information.
When dealing with hundreds of coworkers the ability to look them up and connect with them in a fast-paced environment is vital. As such it is important that contact information is kept up-to-date. WestNet facilitates this, as even phone numbers – which used to be printed on paper – are now updated and immediately available digitally. Not only does this save paper, but it’s saving time that would otherwise be spent searching for basic information.
Employee feedback and suggestions for management are now handled online via Intranet Connections software, and West Vancouver found that this has produced a large number of worthwhile suggestions. Employees know they can trust the third-party platform to maintain their anonymity, leading to more honest feedback, and the hassle-free process removes the excuses for skipping reviews.
As a public safety organization, West Vancouver is constantly servicing the public, but oftentimes a member of the public visits the wrong staff area asking to speak to someone about a specific issue. With the intranet, staff can now easily connect members of the public with the right person to speak with for their concerns. This, in turn, means the intranet helps frontline staff provide better customer service.
Through the intranet, West Vancouver has recently begun implementing online forms and phasing out paper forms. Previously, departments often used combinations of Excel Spreadsheets, and handwritten forms to calculate mileage expenses, for instance. Now that mileage forms are available on the intranet; they are simple to fill out, automatically do the calculating, and they are easy to submit. The streamlined approval process has resulted in less paper use and waste, fewer errors, less need to double-check manual submissions, saved time, and lots of positive comments from employees!
A lot of attention to the look and feel of the design has resulted in an engaging and inviting intranet. It’s also uniform while still being reflective of the entire district. Departments have used the intranet to update their content and ensure their documents use corporate templates, which has resulted in a uniformity of design and constructive organization branding.
The intranet can also include features that provide employees with information relevant to their workdays. This includes updates on the weather and traffic. Using the latter as an example, the WestNet homepage includes an icon of a car that links to traffic conditions from Google Maps traffic view. Some employees are drawn to that feature daily, and while there they are also briefed on the latest news postings. Being creative with the header images, such as including a picture of fireworks over buildings on Canada Day, also aids in fostering a feeling of community.
Design and navigation are vital for developing a user-friendly intranet. By focusing on up-to-date information that is easily accessible in a centralized location, WestNet has streamlined tasks and saved time. Employees realized how easy it is to use they were quick to embrace it. As a result, communication, and productivity, have significantly improved.