The Calgary Zoological Society is a charitable organization committed to excellence in animal stewardship and conservation leadership. Their nearly 300 employees care for over 800 animals and engage visitors in enjoyable and unique on-park experiences by connecting the community with nature, and inspiring actions which support conservation and sustainability. As Canada’s leader in wildlife conservation, their mission is to take and inspire action to sustain wildlife and wild places.
The Calgary Zoological Society wanted to simplify the way they managed their information and refine how they communicated updates out to their employees.
Staff reported it was time consuming to locate information internally. Employees had to search through large numbers of folders, files, and forms on their shared drives to find what they needed.
Emails were used to communicate updates and announcements to keep staff informed about events and activities around the zoo. They were better than in-person staff meetings which were time consuming to run and challenging to coordinate. Getting 300 staff in one room at once was just not feasible.
However, some staff felt overwhelmed with “spam” as email updates were sent out en masse to all staff. Other staff felt cut off and out-of-the-loop when out in the field working without access to email.
All employees had to scroll through large volumes of emails in their inboxes to locate the latest, pertinent news about the goings-on at the zoo. Knowledge siloes were built up in people’s inboxes with current and outdated information getting mixed in together.
Every minute spent searching for information or updates took away from providing top-quality customer service to their guests, which reached up to 10,000 visitors a day during the busy season.
The Zoo decided to implement an Intranet solution to organize their file storage systems and simplify their communication process to increase efficiency.
“An intranet is a private website for employees to easily access important company information and increase communication within an organization.”
The Zoo has never had an Intranet platform before. Employees were understandably hesitant to subscribe to the new way of thinking and working.
The Zoo brought in Regroove to plan, implement, and rollout the new technology solution. Microsoft Office 365 was selected for the project as it gave the Zoo access to SharePoint. This modern, web-based platform allows the Zoo to easily organize and access files from any device and publish communications to various audiences from one centralized place.
Regroove build an Intranet Portal to allow the Zoo to centrally manage their files and their corporate communications. This private, secure internal communications platform reflected the Zoo’s colourful and fun brand in its design and name, dubbed the “Zoogle”.
Zoogle is now the corporate information hub and central repository for the Zoo to store and for employees to locate and consume policies, procedures, operational forms, and other internal documents. Each Department has a site for their team to store and locate department-specific files.
The Communications Department now publish daily “Daily Wild” news posts through the Zoogle Intranet site. These broadcasts can be shared to a specific department, cross-departments, or as company-wide announcements when needed. These targeted communication updates can be shared quickly and significantly reduce the amount of time and effort required to write, approve, and publish posts.
The Zoo also took Regroove’s recommendation to implement the Microsoft Yammer app during the rollout. Employees use this social networking tool for secure, private instant message chats and threaded discussion posts communications within the organization. It is available to the Zoo as part of their Office 365 subscription at no additional cost.
Outcome and Benefits
The improvements to document management and internal communication have been felt throughout the organization.
Decentralizing communications with the help of Zoogle and Yammer has created corporately controlled and curated spaces to share information with the appropriate audience privately and securely. High-priority and time-sensitive information can be shared without concern that guests or the public will see catch wind of sensitive-in-nature messages.
Yammer became a popular culture building tool for the organization. Half of the staff started using the tool to communicate within the first two weeks it was made available to them.
Zoogle became an important and transformative space to house and locate corporate knowledge. The switch to a central knowledge repository format for storing files and communicating out loud has eliminated data siloes. The shift to using a variety of communication channels is making finding information quicker and better meets employee’s needs.
The volume of paperwork produced has dropped noticeably. Having knowledge accessible on all devices in a digital format has reduced the need to print documents.
Employees have noticed the reduction in the volume of internal emails sent out. Their inboxes have become less cluttered. It is easier to focus on performing their jobs instead of spending time looking for information.
They also report how easy it is to access and consume content while away from their desks. Employees can use a variety of devices (tablets and smartphones) when out on the grounds to communicate with colleagues and stay informed of what is going on in real time.
Staff report that they feel more knowledgeable and informed, and better able to deliver top-quality customer service to their visitors and faster support to the animals in their care.
This solution was build using:
- Microsoft Office 365
- Microsoft SharePoint
- Microsoft Yammer