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.
In 2018 after a communications audit, the company discovered that even though they were a global business, it didn’t feel that way and very little knowledge sharing or idea sharing was happening across the business. Dave Lawrence, Internal Communications Senior Manager at Dawn, said it was starting to impact the company’s broader operations, and this was something they needed to solve.
“The company’s rich family history is a huge part of Dawn’s culture and why customers still buy from us today. We needed a way to ensure this family-like culture was practiced throughout our business – a way to share information and communicate as a business globally,” says Dave.
When Dave discovered Workplace from Meta, he knew it could help accomplish Dawn’s communication goals.
“[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.
After deciding to roll out Workplace, Dawn partnered with employee experience experts Enablo to facilitate a Blueprint and Launch strategy. Enablo helped Dawn create the business case for change and plan, build, and deploy Workplace in just under two months, boasting a 75% adoption rate.
“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.
Workplace Creates a Global Impact
Thanks to Workplace, the entire Dawn Foods company is on one platform, with over 4000+ employees talking and sharing using features like groups, live videos, and media for the first time. One key feature that has been particularly effective is the language translation feature, helping with communication across multiple countries in North America, LATAM, Europe and AMEAP.
“In our European 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 does with translation built in,” says Dave.
The team who has taken Workplace and run with it the most, however, is the Dawn Commercial Team. Often out on the road, they are a 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 and has been doing so successfully for over three years.
“I think Workplace brought us closer because now we can keep in touch easily with everybody in the World of Dawn,” says Alexandre Deschamps, Artisanal Sales & Account Manager in France.
Amplifying Employee Connection and Diversity
Dawn has seen a big transformation in cultural activities since Workplace. Since the company rolled out its diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy, they have seen a spike in activities, sharing stories, webinars, and more. Coupled with Enablo’s profile frame bot, holiday bot, and Acronym bot, automation has also added elements of creativity and individual expression to the platform.
One of the most extensive and successful campaigns the company has run on Workplace was Dawn’s 100th anniversary. Originally planned as a significant global in-person event, the pandemic meant it could no longer go ahead. The communications team was grateful they had Workplace to celebrate it online. It had such great success, now every year Dawn hosts at least one big event where the whole company connects on Workplace.
“Now we finally get to celebrate all our team members and see the diversity around the company globally,” says Dave Lawrence, Internal Communications Senior Manager, Dawn Foods.
What’s 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 by focusing on rolling out Workplace to all of their frontline and turning their attending to maximising Knowledge Library as their central source of communication.
“Launching Workplace to our frontline workers 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.
“Our leaders team 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
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. Book a chat with us today to find out more!