Retail is a highly competitive industry where organizations need a way to stand out. Clearly defining your brand and position in the market is critical, in addition to creating a customer experience that breeds customer loyalty and drives sales.
Freedom was founded in 1981 with a vision to help all Australians create a home that they love coming home to. With 46 locations in Australia and ten stores in New Zealand, they are proud to employ over 900 people. Freedom’s CEO Blaine Callard embarked on a large-scale transformation program to stay ahead in the highly competitive furniture industry and turned to Workplace from Meta as the communication platform to bring the Freedom team on the journey.
To drive this transformation forward, Freedom needed to achieve strategic alignment across the entire company. And this would be difficult in a fragmented industry like retail, with people across multiple distributed sites.
adoption across Freedom in the first week after launch
active in the first week
to roll out Workplace
More than just a communication platform
Since the launch, Blaine says one of his favorite moments on Workplace was when he was able to help a colleague use Workplace for crowdsourcing product development feedback, receiving 40 pieces of feedback within the space of an hour.
“Workplace is more than a communication tool. We’re using it to drive our business forward. We can use it to receive direct feedback from our frontline who deal directly with our customers day-in-day-out and who, in many cases, are our customers. This feedback on product development and market research in real-time is invaluable,” Blaine says.
Freedom’s General Manager People & Transformation Natalia and the team created a ‘Fresh Eyes’ group on Workplace to drive innovation. This group is a place where they ask all new starters to the business what’s working, where there’s room for improvements, and why Freedom was their employer of choice. So far, a number of new ideas and changes have been implemented off the back of these raw insights, and the team is excited for the new ideas to come.
The group is a testament to the level of trust that the Freedom leadership team has in their frontline team members and immediately gives newcomers a voice in shaping the change agenda at Freedom.
Workplace for driving culture and connection
Launching during the COVID-19 pandemic, Freedom has been able to leverage Workplace to communicate through store closures and lockdowns and to drive connection during a time when many felt isolated.
During lockdowns in South Australia, Freedom wanted leaders in its Support Office to check in on employees in South Australia one-on-one and regularly and needed a way of facilitating these connections. Knowing that Enablo had expertise in solving these challenges through building automated experiences on Workplace, Freedom asked for their help.
“The ability to bring our distributed workforce together for an event and use Workplace to create engagement and two-way dialogue is incredibly powerful. It was a really exciting experience for everyone and the feedback we got from our people was that they felt like we were all together in the room,” says Natalia.
After the event, the content was shared directly from the event group on Workplace out to all employees across Freedom.
“It was incredibly impactful to be able to share the content directly after the event, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. In past years, this information has been cascaded via store managers – some do this in more engaging ways than others and, in many cases, people miss out on the information – for example if they have their day off when the store manager gives the update. By sharing the content directly on Workplace, everyone has a consistent experience and can engage with the content when it suits them,” says Natalia.
“We use [Workplace] to receive direct feedback from our frontline who deal directly with our customers day-in-day out…This feedback on product development and market research in real-time is invaluable.”
Blaine Callard. CEO, Freedom
Looking to the future
While Freedom has achieved a significant turnaround over the past eighteen months, constant reinvention is the key to meeting consumer needs and maintaining their position in the market. Workplace is a critical part of their strategy.
Already well on their way, Blaine, Natalia, and the team at Freedom are making plans for Workplace to be their one-stop-shop for employees.
Keen to connect your frontline and drive change like Freedom? Take a look at our COVID support page or drop us a line, we’re on standby ready to help!