Amatil reaps benefits of social workplace

Australian beverage bottler Coca-Cola Amatil may be over a century old, but it is taking a modern approach to internal communications across the business.

The company is using the power of social collaboration tool Workplace by Facebook to connect its 12,000-strong team across six countries and multiple businesses.

Workplace is still relatively new, having launched in October 2016, but is already a staple communication tool at major organizations including Walmart, Heineken, Campbells and Starbucks.

Speaking at Transform Sydney hosted by Workplace by Facebook on Tuesday, Liz McNamara, group director public affairs communications, sustainability at Amatil told attendees how the communication tool has helped connect its widely dispersed team.

“When I joined Coca-Cola Amatil in 2015, we had a traditional approach to internal communication,” McNamara said.

“We operated across six countries, and we were pretty siloed in how we operated across those countries, even in our head office in North Sydney, we were pretty siloed between the different businesses that were located in that office.”

“What we really wanted to do was approach internal communications in a way that brought everyone together. Our new managing director was really focused on creating a feeling of one Amatil across our organisation.”

The majority of Amatil’s workforce is on the move, either in manufacturing facilities, in trucks delivering products or out in the market selling to customers.

“Getting comms through to those people and developing our culture of one Amatil was really difficult. It was costly, it was time consuming and when you’ve got a pretty lean internal communications team, it was really hard to make sure we were getting that message through,”McNamara said.

Amatil met with Facebook to discuss implementing Workplace and 27 days later they launched the system.

Within 6 months, 80 per cent of the team with access to the platform were actively using it. This figure is now at 85 per cent, despite the business being told that 40 per cent activation would be a great outcome.

“Even the sceptics among us started to realise pretty quickly, the power of Workplace. Our people love it.”

McNamara said that leadership support was a driving force behind the success of the platform, with Amatil’s managing director Alison Watkins preferring “progress over perfection”.

She added that providing education but also allowing staff to self monitor worked well during implementation.

McNamara also touched on the innovation that Workplace is bringing to the business through Amatil’s virtual assistant AVA.

“We’re not a desk-bound organisation, even for our corporate teams more and more we’re looking for flexibility so things like Work Chat and AVA is really exciting for us,” McNamara said.

AVA can give employees access to their own workforce info such as a pay statement summary or find out company news directly within Workplace Chat.

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