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Dawn Foods

How a 100-year-old family business keeps their history and culture alive with Workplace

Dawn Foods was originally founded as a neighborhood bakery in Jackson, Michigan, by Eugene Worden and Gover Lutz. They chose the name “Dawn” because of the time of day bakers do their work. When the duo landed their famous donut mix in 1920, it became so popular they formed the Dawn Donut Company, the nation’s first industrial bakery mix company. 

100 years later, Dawn Foods creates much more than donuts. Now with more than 4,000 products and 4,000 passionate people, they’ve come a long way from a small family-owned bakery.

From family business to global company

A global company operating across 105 countries, a strong part of Dawn Foods’ vision is to share knowledge and encourage the asking of questions. But, without an effective way to communicate with their people, bringing this vision to life has been difficult.   

“Our rich family history is a huge part of our culture and why our customers buy from us,” says Dave Lawrence, Dawn Food’s Internal Communications Manager. 

“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. 

“We’re a global company, but very locally focused. It’s always been difficult for teams outside of our Home Office in Michigan to get the information they need. Our internal communication style leans towards hoarding knowledge inside teams and departments and this was something we really needed to resolve, and fast,” Dave says. 

Dawn Foods needed a tool to:

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Bring to life their family-like culture
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Help them communicate as a global organization
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Facilitate knowledge sharing across the company rather than knowledge hoarding
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Share files and collaborate

Bringing Dawn's vision to life on Workplace

Dawn Foods needed the ability to share rich media, video, and photos to convey their messages. They also needed a tool that would be adopted quickly and easily by their diverse, global workforce. 

In their search for a solution, it wasn’t long before Workplace became a clear favorite. 

“Its capabilities aligned with our need to encourage collaboration, share knowledge through rich media, and bring our vision to life through our communications,” Dave explains.

After making the decision to roll out Workplace, Dawn Foods partnered with Enablo to facilitate a Workplace Blueprint and was live on Workplace two months later.

“The Enablo team took the time to understand the business and our unique needs. They worked closely with our IT team to ensure our identity provider, Microsoft Azure Active Directory, was seamlessly integrated so team members could easily activate their Workplace account,” Dave says. 

“Because Workplace is so familiar, our people around the world adopted the platform really quickly. Almost overnight, learning was easier, knowledge sharing was instant and success stories and recognition were being posted on the platform.”

“Workplace has been transformative for our culture,” says Dave.

“People have told me they had no idea what was going on in the company before and it was hard to identify the company mission. We can actually point to things now within the platform as a representation of our culture and values.”

“We’re very thankful to have had Workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic too,” Dave adds. 

“Many of our office-based teams have been working from home, and Workplace has allowed them to connect and share in new, fun ways. We’re able to stay in touch an celebrate our milestones digitally.”

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“Because Workplace is so similar to Facebook and therefore so familiar, our people around the world adopted the platform really quickly. Almost overnight, learning was easier, knowledge sharing was instant and success stories and recognition were being posted on the platform. Workplace has been transformative for our culture.”

Dave Lawrence

Internal Communications Manager, Dawn Foods.

What's next for Dawn and Workplace?

When it comes to bringing their organization together on Workplace, Dawn Foods have only just started their journey. 

“Bringing training and onboarding into the platform is a priority this year, as well as using it for crowdsourcing innovation and ideas from across our entire workforce,” says Dave. 

“We’re looking to extend the platform to our frontline workers, as well as adding a number of Enablo’s apps, like their Recognition Bot, to automate some of our employee experience.” 

People have told me they had no idea what was going on in the company before and it was hard to identify the company mission. We can actually point to things now within the platform as a representation of our culture and values.”

– Dave Lawrence
Internal Communications Manager, Dawn Foods.

For a free consultation about how Workplace could transform your organization’s culture, please get in touch

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