Customer Story

Creating connections and belonging through times of change

One of the U.K.’s leading independent housebuilders and timber systems manufacturers, Stewart Milne implemented an integrated email and mobile communications platform to build a sense of inclusion among its employees who were distributed across a network of offices, factories and housing developments.

Creating connections and belonging through times of change

About the company

One of the U.K.’s leading independent housebuilders and timber systems manufacturers, Stewart Milne implemented an integrated email and mobile communications platform to build a sense of inclusion among its employees who were distributed across a network of offices, factories and housing developments.





Nº of Employees


The challenge: Communicating how and when the employees needed

Stewart Milne Group is one of the U.K.'s award-winning independent housebuilders and leading timber systems providers. With more than 800 employees spread across offices, factories and housing developments, the Internal Communications department needed a streamlined method for disseminating information across all the sites. This was especially important during the period of change and uncertainty brought about by the pandemic.

While employees had access to a SharePoint Intranet site, they often struggled to access it, making it difficult to share information related to their training, HR and leadership messages. Employees on sites and factory floors had limited access to company email to get updates. As a result, there was a sense among staff that they didn’t feel like they were part of the business as they did not know what, how or why any changes were occurring. A more integrated platform for employee communications with multiple channels and the ability to create two-way engagement was needed to drive greater clarity and a sense of inclusion.

We decided to do a staged approach where we first implemented Poppulo Email and then brought in the Poppulo Mobile app. The goal was to reach all of our employees on the channel of their choice and provide them with the information they needed in a quick and consistent manner. Since 50% of our employees are non-desk-based, we required a communications platform that would effectively handle multiple communication channels simultaneously, and we found that in Poppulo.

— Kirsty Morrison, internal communications manager, Stewart Milne

The solution: Building out communication channels for engagement and Inclusion

With the ultimate goal of boosting employee engagement across the company and promoting a sense of belonging, Morrison began with email communications as the first step. She used SMS messages to reach the non-desk-based employees to inform them of an email update, but results were not measurable and it was a costly option.

We implemented the Poppulo Mobile app to best reach our workers on factory floors and sites and already have a third of workforce using it. It has become key to communicating with employees who weren’t in the office or who were on furlough to ensure they were aware of all changes in real-time.

— Kirsty Morrison, internal communications manager, Stewart Milne

In launching the Poppulo Mobile app, Morrison opted for a methodical approach. “We had a select group of Director and Senior Managers and representatives from all levels of the organization work with us to understand the type of content that resonated, discuss new ideas and act as ambassadors with their teams to get others engaged or demonstrate how to interact with the content,” said Morrison.

The Poppulo Mobile app serves as an information hub for employees. Quick link sections to learning and development, connected with the payslip and benefits programs worked best.

“Workers who are on a job site or traveling to meet with a client or at home can just grab their phone and know the resource is there,” said Morrison.

As the mobile content tends to be short, snappy and with lots of emojis and visual content, it drove higher engagement. The people side of the content has been the highest engaging thus far, whether through human interest posts on the history of the company, sharing of employee photos or for events such as Apprentice Day. Morrison also built out video content with the Executive Chairman, CEO and Senior Leadership teams on the positive side of 2020 and the company’s direction following the pandemic, which drove insightful engagements on the app.

This approach was highly successful in driving clear communications during the company’s internal restructuring. Using the Poppulo platform, employees were surveyed to understand how they were feeling throughout this time. From this feedback, Morrison worked with managers and leadership to address uncertainties through email and mobile communications to allay employee concerns.

“This was not something we had done before. We were able to get real-time thoughts and feelings, connect employees with Senior Leadership, share the 5-year growth plan and how it impacted employee’s learning and development plans and more. We eliminated any guesswork and put the effort into the content that the employees needed to address their fears,” said Morrison.

The results: Simplifying communications creates sense of belonging

In building out its integrated communications approach, Stewart Milne saw success in reaching and engaging with its employees including:

  • Savings from removing the SMS outreach feature, where they were charged per text message
  • Engagement with one-third of the employees, and growing every day, using the Poppulo Mobile app, with a goal of reaching as many employees as possible in the coming year
  • Using video as the most engaging content with longer viewing times by employees

Top takeaways for enterprise communicators

  1. Multiple communication channels offer employees the ability to receive a wide range of information, from HR items to culture posts, on the platform of their choice and choose how to engage with that content.
  2. Data-driven analytics helps Stewart Milne know which content is favourable, such as the email promoting the Poppulo Mobile app launch, which remains one of the most highly read emails to date.
  3. Enterprise agility and adaptability ensured that during times of change, whether it was a pandemic or restructuring, the IC team was able to partner with HR and the Executive team to respond quickly and give employees a clear sense of belonging.

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Efficient employee communications starts with Poppulo. Request a demo today!

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