Client
Sector
Timeframe
Services

Often referred to as the ‘original recycler’ Darling Ingredients collects and repurposes millions of metric tons of inedible materials annually. Meat by-products from animal-based diets are processed to reclaim valuable and essential bio-nutrients, fats, oils, proteins, meals and more that are used daily in personal, commercial, and industrial products. Darling’s natural and sustainable ingredients are marketed internationally to the pharmaceutical, food, animal feed, pet food, biofuel, fertilizer, sports nutrition and cosmetic industries. Through the efforts of their diverse producers, Darling Ingredients is known for quality, safety, biosecurity and integrity in the wide array of industries it serves.

'We knew it was going to be challenging to put in place a new communications platform. At the same time, we also realised this was the ideal opportunity to choose something with true added value: a social intranet.'

Tom Doomen

Director Corporate Communications at Darling Ingredients

A geographically diverse company with many separate company cultures, Darling Ingredients producers worldwide have one shared goal: to create sustainable food, feed and fuel ingredient solutions. But, cultural diversity and geographic spread make communicating extremely challenging. No wonder that Tom Doomen, Director Corporate Communications at Darling Ingredients and his team found themselves scratching their heads. How to truly connect with 10.000+ Darling employees the world over?

Tom had his misgivings about SharePoint. This tool, to his mind, was too much of a one-way, top-down communication channel. But, it was in place. Launching any new internal communication platform, he knew, would entail a costly and time-consuming effort. So, he and his team started working on ways to get more out of the existing system. Narrowcasting on the shop floor was Step 1.

And that resulted in what Tom now recalls as being ‘the perfect storm’. Narrowcasting wasn’t doing the trick. On top of that, there were security issues. Oh yes, and SharePoint was only being used by office staff. All in all, it was clear it wasn’t delivering what was needed. Step 2 was never taken. Instead, the search was on for a suitable activation tool. A tool that would enable the easy sharing of know-how and company values and to connect colleagues to inspire each other. From the bottom up.

'Going from a one-way-traffic intranet to a social one is, of course, a major about turn. Yes, there was some scepticism as to if the company really wanted to have in place a platform where, basically, everyone can have their say. Were we unleashing Pandora’s box?'

Tom Doomen

Director Corporate Communications at Darling Ingredients

‘At the same time, we were adamant to put in place a tool that would enable easy communication throughout the company. That would allow us to speak a single Darling language and share stories and know-how of universal interest. At the same time, it would  also enable employees to discuss what is important to their working life at their own, local and personal level,’ Tom explains.

Tom and his team chose Dynamic Signal as real time platform to engage employees. The big question they faced, however, was the how. In the realization that, you usually get just one chance for a first impression, getting it right the 1st time round, they knew, was key to success.

‘We’re a small team and we realised we needed extra manpower to get things done the way we intended. We also needed the know-how and experience to help us set up a smart content structure, as well as a global editorial board for online and offline stakeholder communication. In other words: someone who could help engaging our workforce with the company and connecting colleagues from around the globe. Right from Day 1.’ By chance, Jorg Basten (who knows everything about the ‘how’) happened to see Tom’s post on LinkedIn. Things took off from there!

'Jorg and, later, Marijke Vreugdenhil from Tech to Market provided us with the know-how we needed to iron out inevitable hiccups and make the platform fit-for-use for Darling employees.'

Tom Doomen

Director Corporate Communications at Darling Ingredients

When taking on this assignment, we were all too well aware that our biggest challenge would be to not only get people on board, but to create the traction that is needed to maintain true engagement in the long term.  Yes, as company, you might have a new Ferrari standing on your drive, but you need to make sure people know how to drive it. So, we started by spreading the evangelism amongst 80+ Darling Connect community managers. We onboarded and trained them through live online webinars and Q&As, short videos, FAQs and more. Not to mention, we fine-tuned the platform as collaborative effort with these newly recruited content managers.

'But, their real added value has been in truly embedding Darling Connect in our organisation and getting our people on board - right from the very launch - to use it actively. To achieve this they, for instance, set up a successful onboarding and training programme for what we call our community managers. The launch of the platform wouldn’t have got off to such a flying start without it.'

Tom Doomen

Director Corporate Communications at Darling Ingredients

And there was more on our to-do list: setting up a content calendar (and making sure things get published according to plan) and creating the launch programme for the Darling Connect platform. Including virtual assistants, videos, posters and mugs. Last but not least, we drew up an engagement programme – that included virtual, fun challenges – to persuade even the most sceptical employees to register. Yes, we went to great lengths to create traction. And it paid off! These are some of the initial and proud results that we achieved for Darling Connect.

Insights

1

You need C-level buy to make it happen

2

Opt for a first time right approach when launching

3

Team up with ambassadors to help you find and create content

4

Format your content for efficiency and consistency reasons

Statistics

75%

onboarding rate in week 1

80+

community managers trained worldwide

4K+

active users

priceless

connected employees (during a pandemic)

So far, we’re happy and proud to say, Darling Connect offers what people might expect from such a platform. But we’re not there yet. Why? Because the ‘new kid on the block’ effect is likely to wear out sooner than later. People are busy: they will start taking a more critical look at what the platform has to offer. In fact, we know that if we (and Darling) want it to grow into something that stands the test of time (let’s say the next 5 years). We’ll have to offer employees more value for their effort. We’ll need to step up our content game. And we’ll be doing so by continuously improving the user experience, analyse user behaviour, and test and optimize the platform. So that it becomes the go-to tool for engaging with fellow workers the world over.

One major challenge remains: 60% of employees are non-office (without a company e-mail address). Yet, the signin to Darling Connect requires a user to have a company e-mail. Which means if we want it to become a truly inclusive platform, we’ll need to get this group on board as well. And do so soon. The first step in doing so, we will be by having a pilot with a few hundred non-office colleagues and go from there. Last, but not least, despite the major impacts of the corona pandemic on us all, it has had a beneficial impact on the success of Darling Connect. With employees worldwide having to deal and cope with working from home, many have readily embraced this tool as an easy and convenient way to stay in touch with colleagues and with the company!

Learn more about the project and our workflow. Feel free to contact:

Us

Marijke Vreugdenhil
Marketer

Our client

Tom Doomen
Darling Ingredients

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