Luxury cruise line Virgin Voyages – an entity of the Virgin Group – is redefining what a luxury cruise ship means, combining premium elements from refinement on land with the freedom and simplicity of life on the ocean.
In 2019, they embarked upon the search for a communications tool that would connect their entire 4,000-strong workforce, bringing together a crew from 80+ nationalities to support them in fulfilling the common purpose of providing a unique and exceptional customer experience.
Workplace from Meta (formerly Facebook) allowed them to do just that. And partnering with Enablo ensured a truly engaging employee experience was front and center at all times.
weekly active employees
daily active employees
messages sent via Workplace Chat
Workplace ensures a seamless and engaging employee experience
A blueprint of the ideal employee experience was created, which considered group structure and mapping, knowledge library implementation, and language translation capabilities. From there, a bespoke launch process ensured the adoption was smooth and engaging across the board.
Before implementing Workplace, WhatsApp had been an effective way to communicate with employees, as frontline crew members in such a dynamic, fast-paced industry thrive on instant mobile-first communication.
Bringing messaging in-house as a specific frontline entry point for ship crew made sense, particularly for desk-less and email-less employees. It also unlocked incredible opportunities for engagement and communication via the Workplace chat app. From day one, frontline teams interacted with one another while onboard the vessel to drive momentum and efficiency within their departments. A perfect example of this would be the housekeeping crew snapping a photo and requesting support from bar staff to replenish glassware. Significantly, all crew members had the option to translate text to their native language as needed seamlessly.
Bringing communications in-house
Between May 2021 and May 2022 alone, a staggering 18.6 million messages were sent via Workplace Chat as crew and teams collaborated on their mobile devices to get work done.
The dynamic nature of the cruise industry can pose its challenges in terms of accurate, up-to-date people management, with crew naturally onboarding and disembarking vessels frequently. Therefore, it was crucial to ensure that Workplace extracted real-time data to reflect crew movement between ships, contracts, and roles. To ensure this accuracy, Workplace integrates with two Virgin Voyages HRIS platforms – Workday, which takes care of the land-based crew, and a custom industry-specific marine tool focusing on the seagoing crew. Both platforms feed live updates daily.
Onshore, Virgin Voyages uses Workplace to enhance the employee experience for all, enabling better comms from shore to ship for transparent, real-time communication. The platform gives corporate leaders a channel to communicate with their frontline crew at sea, sending engaging video and written posts, and vice versa, with staff engaging back to HQ in Florida.
Looking ahead to 2022, Virgin Voyages and Enablo are collaborating on a custom chatbot designed to further enhance the group-based onboarding experience and building on the solid foundation created as a result of a successful partnership.
“Virgin Voyages undertook a Blueprint process with Enablo prior to their Workplace implementation. This ensured they launched with clear objectives and vision from day one, which set them up for success from the get-go.
It’s been an incredible partnership; their engagement stats speak for themselves and we can’t wait to see what 2022 brings as they expand.”
Nick Sandercock, Experience Manager, Enablo
A year in, Workplace fosters cross-functional communication and the one-of-a-kind culture that Virgin Voyages embodies. With its two-way communication, personalized news feed, and universal search, Virgin Voyages can support faster responsiveness, agility, and the sharing of ideas – which are the essential ingredients to ensure the organization delivers to its mission of providing rockstar service to everyone they welcome aboard. Start your journey with us today.