Hardis Group helped Petzl, a global leader in climbing, mountaineering, and safety equipment, to deploy the Workplace from Facebook enterprise social network in a drive to bolster internal communication, support cross-workforce knowledge-sharing (including staff without a computer or email address), embed corporate culture, and foster collaborative working. The roll-out resulted in record uptake rates, with 96% of employees now connected.

Grenoble, November 10, 2020 – Hardis Group, a consulting firm, digital services company and independent software vendor, announces that it was commissioned to deploy Workplace from Facebook by Petzl, the manufacturer of products that keep people safe in vertical environments and in the dark. The enterprise social network was deployed in record time in March 2020 to share health and safety guidance and to keep employees connected during lockdown. The roll-out nevertheless adhered to best practice in order to maximize user uptake. Just a few months later, all of the initial objectives have been met: bolstering internal communication, connecting the entire workforce, embedding corporate culture, and breaking down silos between departments and countries. 

A modern internal communication system

Petzl, founded in 1975, manufactures products that allow men and women to progress, position and protect themselves in vertical environments (harnesses, helmets, belay devices, crampons, ice axes, etc.), and to light their way in the dark (headlamps for outdoor pursuits, industry, and the armed forces). The company, based out of Crolles in southeastern France, has grown rapidly to become a multi-location, multilingual, and multicultural organization. The group’s old internal communication systems and processes were no longer up to the task of keeping its 930 employees and dealers informed, embedding corporate culture, and fostering a sense of belonging. Moreover, there was a disconnect between the company’s external messaging and internal communication.

Almost all information-sharing was done in a top-down way, with disparities across departments, sites, and countries,” said Emmanuelle Maître, Group HR Director at Petzl. “We were struggling to embed a group-wide corporate culture and foster a sense of belonging. What’s more, our factory workers didn’t have computers or work email addresses, so they were very much disconnected from our other employees.” 

In the latter half of 2018, the firm hired a Head of Internal Communications, a new role within the HR department. The appointee was tasked with auditing existing systems and processes, and with finding ways to address these problems. 

Keeping employees connected with Workplace from Facebook 

In the aftermath of the audit, Petzl decided to deploy an enterprise social network—known in-house as Tam-Tam—to keep staff connected and invite input from its entire workforce (including those without a work email address). The project’s other aims including embedding corporate culture, driving employee engagement, sharing information across and between departments and countries, breaking down language barriers, and paving the way for both top-down and bottom-up communication.

A committee, comprising around a dozen key users, examined four potential applications. The company ultimately decided on Workplace from Facebook in late 2019 following a competitive tender process. “Workplace scored well head of the other options on all fronts, from features and security, to the fact that it can be accessed without an email address or budget,” added Maître. “And we naturally turned to Hardis Group to help us deploy it. We have a well-established partnership with them going back many years, and they have a solid expertise with this particular enterprise social network.”

Preparation: key to maximizing uptake

Hardis Group worked with Peztl’s teams to shape the deployment strategy, identify use cases, build a communication plan, incorporate Workplace into the existing information system (G-Suite), and develop the user training plan. The deployment happened in late March 2020. “Owing to the lockdown, we fast-tracked the roll-out so we could share health and safety guidance and other information, and keep our people connected,” explained Maître.

Tam-Tam is now used by 930 employees plus the company’s network of exclusive dealers, having achieved record monthly and weekly uptake figures of 96.2% and 88% respectively.

Preparing and pre-populating the platform proved vital to maximizing user engagement. When the system went live, users had already been added to predefined groups relevant to their line of work, with several posts published. So when an employee signs in to Workplace for the first time, instead of seeing a blank slate, they can immediately start commenting on, liking, and sharing content. Other success factors included securing strong buy-in from top management, identifying use cases, and raising user awareness.

Petzl will add temporary staff to the network in the coming weeks. “Despite some initial fears and concerns at senior management level, Tam-Tam has proved universally popular,” concludes Maître. “It’s taken internal communication to heights we could never have achieved with our previous tools and processes. Our next challenge is to help our people make the most of the system’s information- and knowledge-sharing capabilities.”