A new way to connect and engage
Vernon is a city in the interior of British Columbia, Canada with a population of just over 40,000. Their municipal office (City of Vernon) has 11 locations and employs over 370 people in a broad range of roles from office employees to maintenance personnel. In addition to their employees, the City also has hundreds of external contributors including police officers and committee members.
With such a decentralized environment, the City of Vernon was facing two key struggles: unifying its workforce & systems, and retaining the very best employees. Finding a way to connect and engage employees became a priority for the City of Vernon, and they were on the hunt for the right tool to make it happen—enter Jostle’s employee success platform.
They love Jostle for its ability to clarify the overall organization structure and facilitate internal communication. After launching the tool to all employees, the impact was felt immediately. The workforce was more connected and social, and employees were enabled with the materials they needed to get work done. With monthly participation rates of 79%, the Jostle platform is key to the City of Vernon’s organizational success.
Prior to launching the Jostle platform, the City of Vernon was facing two key challenges that many complex organizations face:
- With 11 locations and employees in a wide range of roles, they were struggling to make the organization feel like a single, connected, and energized workplace.
- Attracting and retaining the very best employees. Patti Bridal, Director of Corporate Services, set a goal to become the employer of choice in their region.
Previous attempts at engaging employees included a company e-newsletter, but because over one-third of employees didn’t have a company email address, it was only reinforcing the silos it was intended to bridge. Employees without email addresses, like public work crews, would receive the e-newsletter as a printout along with their paystub, at which point the information was often outdated.
Key company information was also available in the organization’s Sharepoint and through fileshares. Unfortunately, both Sharepoint and the fileshare had become cluttered with outdated content and navigation was broken. They needed a better way.
Finding a solution
With the goal to become the regional employer of choice in mind, Patti began searching for a tool that would connect every employee at the City of Vernon and help bring their culture to life. The City of Vernon had a wonderful culture, but it wasn’t engaging every employee at the organization equally.
Patti first learned of the Jostle platform in the spring of 2011 at a Local Government Management Association (LGMA) conference and was immediately impressed by the simplicity of the platform’s interface and people-centric approach.
Jostle’s employee success platform is securely accessible from any device/location and works to engage, enablem and celebrate employees. It provides an effective tool for getting key communications out in real-time, bridging organizational silos, and showcasing an organization’s culture. Patti evaluated numerous competitors; none came close to competing with Jostle.
“The Jostle platform had the unique ability to clarify our overall organization and help us with internal communication.”
Director, Corporate Services
Jostle has helped employees get to know the staff they wouldn’t have otherwise interacted with which has helped immensely with employee onboarding.
“It’s amazing how connected people are now,” said Patti. “The people-driven content is by far the most important element of Jostle. I’ve seen employees find new running partners, join new sports teams, and start fishing clubs.”
Relaying critical information
Jostle played a critical role in disseminating information to employees during a recent forest fire. The City of Vernon wanted to keep staff in the loop as much as possible. They used News in Jostle to push out important alerts. “Keeping staff informed on important issues and events of the city, makes them feel a part of the big team. We want them to feel that we value them enough to keep them informed,” explained Patti.
Committees have become much easier to understand thanks to Teams. From council members to the social committee, it’s easy to see who is doing what. And thanks to Badges, volunteers, who are external contributors, are immediately identifiable.
Profiles have also helped the City move towards phasing out unnecessary paper documents, like phone lists. Unlike traditional phone lists that require constant updating and printing, Jostle is always up to date and puts a face to the person you may be calling.
“We’ve had multiple inquiries from other cities in BC and beyond.”
Director, Corporate Services
High levels of participation
To increase employee participation in the Jostle platform, Patti and her team ran an internal contest that would teach employees how to use the new tool. Employees were given a set of tasks to complete on the platform, which included updating their own profile and locating specific staff members.
The contest was well received and the winner recieved two lift passes for a local ski hill. However, the real success of Vernon’s onboarding was evident in their high participation numbers.
Amplifying culture & making a difference
The City of Vernon is now reaping the benefits of a strong culture which they know will go a long way in their efforts in becoming a more desirable employer.
“The sociability between colleagues is leading to increased knowledge sharing that will not only help employees individually but will also benefit our entire organization,” said Patti. “Research clearly shows a direct correlation between employee engagement and culture and overall organizational success.”
The City of Vernon is just one of many of Jostle’s municipal customers and Patti couldn’t be more proud. “We’ve had multiple inquiries from other cities in BC and beyond. They all are extremely interested to see the impact that the Jostle platform is making here in Vernon.”
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