Benefits of connecting leadership to their frontline

Boston Tea Party is a West Country born independent cafe chain. With a team of around 600,
they were looking for a single and intuitive way to connect their team.

They wanted to ensure consistent, trusted information was drawn from their HR platform Fourth
to enable easy onboarding of team members and sharing of rotas and pay breakdowns.

We recently spoke with Polly Akielan, Boston’s Engagement and Communications Manager, on why they chose
Workplace from Facebook and Azuronaut, and the benefits it has provided the business and Boston’s leadership.

The challenge

Boston Tea Party wanted to connect over 600 employees without an email address across 23 cafes, to give their leadership instant connection to the team.

Polly: “The team was incredibly bought in to Boston as a company, as purpose-led, ethical business. As a head office, we wanted to give people an equal share of voice whether that was over suggested improvements, menu ideas or team benefits.

We also wanted to automatically onboard and offboard our teams to Workplace from Facebook, and for our people to be able to “self-serve” – activating their accounts by themselves, and also being able to change their passwords. This would help reduce the IT and management overhead and time spent on simple admin tasks every time someone forgot a password!

From my point of view, as a comms person, I had to provide something which was a solution to the communications challenges we were facing as a business, and that is why, after appraising a number of internal communications platforms, we turned to Azuronaut and Workplace from Facebook.

The solution

Connect by Azuronaut integrated with the HR System Fourth for seamless user management. Onboarding and offboarding is automatic, and the Azuronaut Activation Portal puts account ownership into the hands of the individuals.

We also worked with Azuronaut to ensure our people could activate their Workplace accounts using minimal personal data. They can also change their passwords by themselves, straight from their mobile or laptop. This was made possible by the Azuronaut Activation Portal, and has meant that our people have the ability to take ownership of their account.”

Polly: “We worked with Azuronaut and Workplace from Facebook to provide answers to the technical challenges we had. Connect by Azuronaut was a solution that allowed all of our people to be automatically synced with Fourth, our HR platform.

By doing this, we can create, update and deactivate Workplace accounts automatically – without requiring what would have been more work for our head office team.

Business results

Boston’s leaders are 100% engaged and it is revolutionising the way they work, giving them a birds eye view and instantaneous feedback previously unheard of.

Polly: “Our leadership team has been very positive about Workplace, particularly how we launched.I created some use guides to help engage people on a new platform, and they have come round from thinking they’d use it for certain tasks, to using it for all their communications. They’ve particularly taken to using the group video calling, sharing trading updates in groups and keeping teams motivated

A big benefit is that directors can see people's responses to the items they post, be it positive, negative or curious or whatever it may be. This has promoted proper two-way conversations between the frontline and leadership – there is an immediate reaction to things now. It definitely helps head office spot more of a trend of how things are going in the wider business. It gives a more balanced view of the thoughts from across the business and allows ideas to come from anywhere.

Obviously Covid-19 has slightly pushed back some of our deadlines so we’re yet to do a big menu launch or sales-driving initiative via Workplace. But we had a clear comms plan in the close down from Covid– every day there would be an update with the CEO by video, and the outpouring that has come from the frontline, directly back to him as the CEO on the actions we are taking as a business has been hugely positive – so it has been great for that.

Workplace has given us a greater sense of connectivity - one platform to point people to for news and updates. Quick answering of questions to leadership. Longer term, we want to see the team retention increase and for Workplace to support the growth of new cafes, allowing people to feel part of something bigger immediately. Even if you opened a café an hour away from another, there’s an instant feeling of inclusion.

The benefits for comms
I think Workplace truly bridges the gap between internal comms and company culture. Workplace provides that crossover between People sets, HR sets and internal communications. It means we generate culture from the frontline up and can tweak our internal comms style to suit our team.

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