Sodastream was founded over 100 years ago but until the early 1990s, Sodastream was just another small manufacturing company. They had a very nice, yet niche, operation selling a simple and affordable way to turn tap water into flavored sparkling water. However, their regular customers were getting older and they were unable to grow with younger audiences.
At the same time, “sustainability” and “ecological footprint” were becoming global hot topics. Sodastream quickly realized that they were actually producing a sustainable way of drinking carbonated beverages.
Not only that, using Sodastream, consumers can control how much sugar they add to their carbonated beverage. So place two giant check marks on on two of the biggest concerns facing consumers today.
Like many other manufacturing companies, Sodastream has a large workforce distributed in a number of facilities, shops, and manufacturing floors. This makes it hard to reach and communicate with every single employee. As such, this is a real challenge when you want to reach high safety standards or even build a sense of belonging among your working teams.
For instance, when Sodastream wanted to share a report or an incident that took place in one of its factories, it used billboards or relied on managers to convey the message face-to-face. How many people were really exposed to such information? That’s a good question – no one can say for certain as this type of communication is one-sided and is not really trackable.
Like most manufacturing companies, Sodastream copes with high turnover rates in its workforce. So how do you onboard new employees efficiently? How do you make them feel connected to the organization as quickly as possible?
Well, for Sodastream it all started with an employee app.
“What started as an operational improvement endeavor, turned out to be a new way of communicating with the Sodastream family.”
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How Connecteam helped
Using the Connecteam employee app, Sodastream created a mobile hub of operations where the workforce can communicate, collaborate, manage tasks, create workflows, and develop training modules for on-the-job training from anywhere, at any time.
Goal: increase employee engagement
Sodastream used Connecteam’s employee app to do the following:
- Create a company news feed with daily updates including weather updates, daily tips, and more.
- Provide updates on the meal of the day at the company cafeteria.
- Create “My Department” with modules for:
- Safety training
- Professional training
- Team building exercises
What can we learn from it
93% of Sodastream employees log into the app at least twice a week and engage with the company news feed or access one of the training modules that they have been assigned by their supervisor.
Studies have shown that engaged employees are more productive and efficient employees. They stay with the company longer and are happier but that’s not really necessary. Any manager or business owner can make that connection. What is worth mentioning is that it’s becoming increasingly easy and cost-effective for small businesses to improve their employee productivity and retention in the same ways that larger businesses do and have been doing for some time now using affordable tools like Connecteam. When a large proportion of your workforce is dispersed, mobile, virtual, or deskless, an employee engagement app provides even greater value making engagement that much more challenging but also very rewarding.
How Sodastream connected its team with Connecteam
Safety first: In the manufacturing industry, a culture of ‘safety-first’ is a must-have. So no wonder Sodastream turned to Connecteam’s platform to create a safer working environment. One of the first use cases, (and one of the most used to this day!) is a ‘Safety Observation Report’ – a digital report every employee in SodaStream can fill in under 30 seconds, to help keep a safe working environment. Once the report is submitted, it is automatically sent in an email to the relevant entity for further evaluation. Each report includes an image, a description, a GPS location, and a risk ranking. Sodastream even went as far as integrating this service into its existing ticketing system, increasing safety reports by over 70% in just a few months.
But it didn’t end there – Sodastream made many other safety resources available to its workforce in a click-through app, including safety instruction guides (PDFs), tips and guidelines for safe operations, and much more.
Day-to-day operations made easy: While safety is important, there are a lot of procedures in the day-to-day life of a manufacturing company that just take too long. Some examples of such functions that Sodastream chose to make more efficient using its employee app include a variety of inspection reports now done on the go, compliance reports, or even small things like reporting when the employee shuttle bus didn’t show up on time. It just became easy to report information and control its flow in the organization, which is why more and more teams started using it.
HR joined the ride: It wasn’t long before HR jumped on board to leverage the company’s employee app and gave it a go. Today, they have three leading applications for the app: The first improved the onboarding process for new employees. With the app, the HR department was able to automate a lot of the processes and to make much of the information needed available at a click – making onboarding an easier and more efficient experience. The second, quick, and easy reporting of sick/vacation days, notifying the employees whether those were approved or denied. And the third, turning the ‘Friend-Brings-Friend’ policy to digital. Getting a record high number of entries for thousands(!) of new candidates, all from their existing teams.
Building a community: One of the most fascinating things to watch was how Sodastream managed to build a community for its workforce. What started as an operational improvement endeavor, turned out to be a new way of communicating with the Sodastream family. Information started flowing from different stakeholders all the way to the last of the manufacturing employees on the floor.
Senior management was now able to share with its employees’ success stories, or small tokens of appreciation – a letter for ‘Family Day’, employee benefit information or just invitations to company events. Now there was clarity on who saw the updates and when, there was the capability for ‘targeted communication’ meaning you can notify only the relevant groups, whether it’s the shop employees or all supervisors. The ability to better communicate helped build a better community – today, as many as 93% of their employees visit the app twice a week!
We can’t promise Pepsico will buy your manufacturing company for $3.2 billion, (if we could, we’d be in a different business!) but we can help you drive operational excellence for your company, improve the on-boarding process and establish a new way to communicate with your employees. We invite you to give it a try with a free plan or contact us for more information.