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Customer Stories

How ISS uses WorkBuzz to engage a dispersed & diverse workforce and empower managers to deliver change

ISS is an innovative food packing partner, with over 1000 employees across three locations, in the United Kingdom. 

A period of rapid growth had seen the company shift operations out of a single unit and into 3 separate locations. In a bid to maintain its impressive employee engagement and high performance culture, ISS turned to WorkBuzz to help eliminate the walls between teams and give management the tools and capability to enact incremental changes.

Business partner survey
80%+ completion rate
80+ managers and supervisors empowered
Meeting 2
85% Deskless workforce
80% English not first language

The Problem

With over 1000 employees spread across three sites, 85% of which were deskless and around 80% where English wasn’t their first language, ISS had its hands full to drive employee engagement. To make matters worse, the company operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round. 

“Shift patterns, language barriers and cultural differences make employee surveys difficult to run,” explains Kay Makin, Head of People at ISS. “We’ve been running them for a number of years and done pretty well in listening and enacting changes.

“But since we spread across multiple sites, we reached a plateau in engagement,” Kay continues. “With no email communication or easy way to connect with our deskless employees, we have looked for new methods of communication.”

The situation was made more difficult since the senior team is now dispersed too. “When they conduct site visits, they only capture snippets of information and its often negative since people feel they have to get their point across then and there.”

ISS launched an application with a good degree of success in 2021. “It was voluntary to download, but we had a good uptake,” says Kay. “We share information, surface policies and essentially provide a way to interact with our people team.”

Despite the success, ISS’s commitment to engagement saw the company turn to WorkBuzz and the People Science team to find new methods of capturing critical information.

The Solution

Designed to be easy to use for deskless and remote teams, WorkBuzz has helped ISS consistently drive high levels of engagement for its surveys. These surveys help form the backbone of the company’s strategic objectives for the year ahead and give a sense check on how the company is doing throughout the year.

“Engagement is really important, but showing that we are actively listening and implementing things is everything,” says Kay. “To help keep rates high, we regularly share details of what we’ve been up to following the surveys. We even held one survey back since we hadn’t completed everything on our list.

“Increased transparency is something we hear often, so last year our Managing Director recorded a video addressing the entire company, and addressed the pay increases,” Kay continues. “Everyone got the same message at the same time and the visibility was extremely well received.”

Kay acknowledges that no matter how hard they try, they will never get everyone to take part. But, running prize draws and other incentives is helping to keep numbers up above 80%. 

“There are always things to improve and it’s a good way to discover what people like,” says Kay. “It’s not about changing everything all the time but making the right decisions for the good of the teams.

“WorkBuzz has been instrumental in us taking continuous steps forward and we’ve seen some brilliant changes over the last few years.”

The Outcome

Regular surveys and active listening has driven a lot of change from a leadership point of view. “We’ve learned how to communicate better,” explains Kay. “We deploy a variety of tactics and run group meetings and other communications to make sure that we get our message across and collect their feedback, too.”

Operating across a collection of different sites has seen a shift in culture at each location. Where one location had a collective feel, now there are distinct working groups and cultures at each facility. 

“Without running regular surveys we wouldn’t have identified the differences,” says Kay. “Engagement is different and operations are different. We can now combine survey data with other important information we collect to build much richer pictures and deeper understanding of whats happening in each destination.”

But the biggest shift has been the delegation of responsibility onto the managers of the business. Where once the employee surveys were in the control of the senior leadership team, now managers have the opportunity to dissect the information and lead changes themselves.

“It isn’t about sweeping changes but how many incremental changes compound to make a big difference,” says Kay. “With almost 90 managers and supervisors all delivering small improvements across the business they all add up to a great leap forward.”

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