Winner – Water Leisure Operator of the Year
Serco Leisure, which manages over 50 leisure facilities across the UK, began using OurPeople in September 2018 at its centres in Maidstone and Birmingham. Following a three-month trial, it was so impressed with the simple, effective tool that it rolled-out the use of the App to its entire leisure business.
Kate McKnight, Head of Aquatics at Serco Leisure, says: “Initially, we were searching for a GDPR compliant messaging platform to keep management in touch with teams. Using WhatsApp was becoming untenable, with groups being set up for different parts of the business; and people who no longer work for Serco remaining as group members.
“We researched business communication tools and OurPeople stood out, delivering on GDPR compliance and much more. It offered Serco Leisure the perfect solution for all our internal communications needs.”
Predominantly, Serco Leisure is using the App for engaging remote teams, keeping them up to date on news within the business as a whole and at specific sites. It is also proving valuable as a means of covering shifts at short notice to ensure that classes run smoothly when instructors are ill.
Kate adds: “With the OurPeople platform, we use ‘cards’ to deliver messages to all staff or specific departments, simply and quickly. Previously, we had a laborious task posting on several WhatsApp groups.
“Crucially, our managers control who can access each card and they are notified when their communications have been read. This gives us the confidence to know important messages have been sent securely and received by the relevant people.
“At the moment, we are mostly creating simple text cards for a range of uses, like broadcasting a need for shift cover, announcing an employee of the month or giving a heads-up on a quality assurance visit. As we continue using the App, we will explore using cards to include surveys, training videos or event invitations.”
The staff at Serco Leisure have given their thumbs-up to the new communication tool, which solves the problem of ‘ping fatigue’. Using WhatsApp for both business and pleasure can be confusing and it’s hard to distinguish ‘relevant for me’ messages among the deluge of banter that is widely distributed.
Kate says: “Our staff love OurPeople, as it is made specifically for business and they know they only receive information that is relevant to them. They are more engaged with the content sent to them and respond promptly where necessary.
“Class instructors particularly love the ease with which they are notified when staff cover is needed, and can accept extra shifts.”
Serco Leisure has found that using OurPeople has achieved its primary goal of bringing GDPR compliance to all communications. It has also had a positive effect on employee wellbeing by making each member feel involved in company and site-wide news.
Kate explains: “Using OurPeople has solved our data security concerns by replacing WhatsApp with a communications tool specifically designed for business use. Our internal communications are now GDPR compliant and we have eliminated the risk of penalties.
“We are also delighted with the way the App is bringing Serco Leisure’s frontline workforce together. It is helping us to create a stronger community, where part-time and freelance staff feel included and informed. We believe this has a knock-on effect, motivating staff to provide an excellent service to customers at our leisure facilities.
“Our colleagues in the wider Serco group have been alerted to the potential of OurPeople to vastly improve internal communications. We have begun discussions with Serco Environmental Services to see if OurPeople could achieve similar success in its teams.”
Kate McKnight - Head of Aquatics