Dawn Foods

Workplace Reunites, Global Family Business

United States | Food | 4000+

The Importance of Protecting Culture

Enablo and Workplace from Meta

Few companies today can boast 100 years of success as a family-owned business, but Dawn Foods has defied the odds. Initially founded in 1920 in Jackson, Michigan, the neighborhood bakery had a winning donut mix that eventually led to the ‘Dawn Donut Company’ – the nation’s first industrial bakery mix company.

A century on, Dawn creates more than just donuts. They operate in 3 regions globally with over 4000+ employees, producing high-quality bakery ingredients and products. They serve everyone from the small corner store bakery to retail grocery giants and aim to support customers with innovation, decorating ideas, product knowledge, and technical support.

Today, family is still at the heart of how Dawn thinks, treats its customers, and treats each other. But keeping their culture alive has become more challenging as the company grows.

Workplace Results

In 2018 after a communications audit, the company discovered that even though they were a global business, it didn’t feel that way. Dawn’s natural internal communications style was to keep knowledge inside teams and departments, and as a result, very little knowledge sharing or idea sharing was happening across the business. This was starting to impact the company’s broader operations.

When Dave discovered Workplace from Meta, he knew it was the company’s way forward.

“[Workplace’s] capabilities were aligned with our need to encourage collaboration, share knowledge through rich media, and bring our vision to life through our communications,” he said.

To ensure the new technology was embedded in the business correctly from day one, Dawn partnered with Enablo to facilitate a Blueprint and launch strategy. This helped them get the platform up and running with the right expertise quickly, going live on Workplace in just under two months.

“The Enablo team took the time to understand the business and our unique needs. They did it quickly and successfully, in just under two months, educating and holding our hand along the way,” says Dave.

Creating an Impact Globally

The company first launched Workplace in 2019 to 1600 senior leaders and full-time staff with a 75% adoption rate. The key to success was ensuring senior leaders and HR teams understood and loved the platform from the beginning so they could reiterate its value to the wider business. Now, thanks to Workplace, the entire Dawn Foods company is on one platform, talking and sharing using features like groups, live videos, and media for the first time.

The Dawn Foods Commercial Team in particular took to the platform straight away. Often out on the road, they are considered the window for what is happening in the business. Each day they visit their customers in-store, take photos and videos and feed them to the company for crowdsourcing, visibility, and product ideas. The Technical sales team also uses it to solve customer issues on the run.

“I think Workplace brought us closer together because now we can keep in touch easily with everybody in the World of Dawn,” says Alexandre Deschamps, Artisanal Sales & Account Manager in France.

The language translation feature has also helped streamline communications and break down barriers across multiple continents and countries.

“In our Europe offices, we work with a half dozen different languages. I can go into any group and understand what is going on. It is amazing what Workplace has done for us with translation built in,” says Dave.

Bringing culture to the forefront

Dawn has seen a big transformation in cultural activities since Workplace. Since the company rolled out its diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy, there has been a spike in activities like sharing stories, campaigns, and webinars. Coupled with Enablo’s profile frame bot, holiday bot, and Acronym bot, automation has also added additional elements of creativity and individual expression to the platform. Now Dawn Foods can celebrate team members and see the diversity of their company, globally.

One of the most extensive and successful campaigns the company has run to date on Workplace was the Dawn 100 year anniversary. Originally planned as a global in-person event, the celebration shifted to Workplace because of the pandemic.

“Every day on Workplace, we had a special activity to celebrate the company’s birthday. The imagery and videos of families and children baking from home and sending in the anniversary hashtag exceeded our expectations. Now, every year, we have one big event where the whole company gets on Workplace and does something special,” says Dave.

“Our leaders thought it was important. The Dawn family thought it was important. The Board of Directors thought it was important. We are all equally passionate about connecting everyone on one global platform, and that is why Workplace has been so successful.”

Dave Lawrence, Internal Communications Senior Manager, Dawn Foods

Giving the Frontline a Seat at the Table

The impact Workplace is having on Dawn continues to grow. Hitting a snag in 2020 with COVID delays, the company started its frontline rollout in June 2022. Dave says once complete, Knowledge Library will become a key focus of the business – moving everyone off local bulletin boards in offices to having immediate access to company information, staff discounts, and their mission and values.

“Launching Workplace to our frontline team is an exciting step as we continue to elevate Team Dawn and further engage with and connect Team Members from across the business,” says John Schmitz, President of Dawn’s North America region.

“The frontline team is a vital part of our business. It is our priority to give them a voice and a seat at the table like the rest of us,” says Dave.

What is next for Dawn Foods?

Looking ahead, the biggest challenge Dawn faces today is hybrid work and adapting to the idea that not everyone will be working from an office anymore. Their focus will be to ‘Elevate Team Dawn’ and bring their family culture back to life.

“I feel fortunate we have Workplace. If we were trying to make this shift online without it, it would be much harder, but we have the platform to help us bridge the gap. No matter what, we have a global water cooler to come back to, to figure it out together.”

Dave Lawrence, Internal Communications Senior Manager, Dawn Foods

Interested in Dawn Food’s Story?

Enablo is a platinum Workplace from Meta partner that works predominantly in Australia and the United States. We are highly trained in the implementation, onboarding, and embedment of the Workplace platform in small, medium and large enterprise organizations.

If you are a global company struggling with employee disconnect, retention, connection and culture, contact us today.

We will help you build a business case for your new technology as well as help you launch Workplace smoothly and successfully into your organization in 6-12 weeks. Enablo ensures you are supported every step of your Workplace journey, and ensures your teams, employees, and leaders feel as confident as we do on the platform.