Connells Group Case Study

Engage brings together 7500 employees in one central location

The Mission

To develop a modern, user friendly, feature rich and scalable intranet for the whole organisation to access. Brand identity and group targeting (by delivering content dynamically based on a user’s groups and permissions) are essential requirements due to the autonomy of individual companies within the group.

The new site will improve both efficiency and engagement across the organisation and business processes by introducing applications such as e-learning to improve upon the current delivery of training material.

The Solution

Connells Group chose Engage as its preferred intranet to replace an existing file-system based site with basic functionality. The new intranet, named Connect, is feature rich, modern and user friendly.

Connect is used by Connells Group for delivering corporate news and information to the entire organisation. The ‘information store’ is new – Connect’s repository of information and documents for Connells Group. A fantastic Connells Group corporate video is updated regularly on Connect to ensure that everyone is kept up to date with latest news.

Each subsidiary within Connells Group has the opportunity for its own page within Connect.  This is important to the culture of the group as each subsidiary retains
its own identity, with their own brand and is able to manage their own content.

“We are taking full advantage of Engage’s group targeting tool which allows us to flag content as relevant to users based on their profiles. This ensures that employees see relevant content. As Engage is so user friendly, adding content is simple and each company is self-sufficient once their page has been created for them. This has really helped to increase engagement.”

– Sanjay Gohel, Development Programme Manager

An e-learning application that is used by the whole of Connells Group has been developed to manage  the yearly Fire, Health and Safety training course. Previously, the Fire, Health and Safety course was emailed to all employees, with training materials as attachments.  Employees had to read the email attachments, sign and pass back to their line manager who then sent a copy back to the Health and Safety department for acknowledgment. A manual process was in place to follow up with all staff to ensure that everyone had seen the information. This manual approach to the whole process was extremely time consuming.

“The e-learning application has simplified the whole process, making it easy to send out the course details electronically. Employees are now presented with the training material as videos, and then follow-up with ten questions online to complete the course. It is now really easy to see who has and hasn’t completed the course. We hope that other e-Learning courses will help other departments and group companies with their training needs.”

– continues Sanjay

Departments at Connells Group now have their own pages on Connect. There are separate pages for Group Legal Services, Health & Safety, Human Resources, Payroll, Conveyancing, IT, Lettings, Risk and Compliance, Recruitment, Marketing and Mortgage Services (who are moving away from a previous SharePoint intranet). Connect has helped these departments to save time by helping colleagues self-service information via the department pages. Information on Connect helps to reduce the number of telephone calls made to departments. The Connells Survey & Valuation pages on Connect is another area on the site that is heavily used and much improved. All surveyors, of which Connells Group has around three hundred, all continually review lender guidance notes when carrying out surveys. All of these documents are now held in one central location in Connect with document version control in place.

Quicklinks in Connect are widely used by staff. These are popular as the links are always present on Connect.

Document management is crucial; huge amounts of time have been saved now that documents and policies are all in one central location on Connect, with version control available to ensure that a document is present only once and not duplicated.

A phased approach was taken for the roll out of Connect across the organisation.  A period of six weeks was given to the contributors to get their information live on Connect. Thereafter we conducted many questionnaires in the wider company to gauge feedback from colleagues before launching Connect to head office buildings, (accounting for approximately 10% of Connells Group’s work force).

One month after head office launch, we went live with Connect for the entire company.

“The phased approach we took to launch worked really well for us. We invested a lot of time in making sure that our core content contributors were happy and comfortable with Connect before going live and initial feedback was fantastic. We spent time making final changes before the roll out and were confident that Connect would be well received from the start. Indeed, we saw an immediate increase in employee engagement.”

– Sanjay continues

The Result

The new intranet at Connells Group is a vast and dynamic site. It is packed full of relevant and up to date content. It is fresh and modern looking and is user friendly and intuitive. The whole group has been brought together in one central location. Much of the success of Connect can be attributed to ownership. The site is managed with passion for the success and continual development of Connect whilst ensuring maximum value for Connells Group is achieved.

“The new intranet at Connells Group is a vast and dynamic site packed full of relevant and up to date content. It is fresh and modern looking, user friendly and intuitive. The whole Group has been brought together in one central location whilst autonomy for subsidiaries remains. Much of the success of Connect can be attributed to ownership. The site is managed with a passion for the success and continual development of Connect, whilst ensuring maximum value for Connells Group is achieved.”

– concludes Sanjay

Overview 

Client: Connells
Employees: 7500
Location: UK
Industry: Estate Agency and Property Service

Client profile

Founded in 1936 and comprising of nearly 600 branches nationwide, industry-leading Connells Group is the most profitable UK estate agency network.  In addition to operating under the Connells brand, the Group trades under other well-known local names including Allen & Harris, Bagshaws Residential, Barnard Marcus, Brown & Merry, Fox & Sons, Jones & Chapman, Manners & Harrison, Roger Platt, Shipways, Swetenhams, William H Brown, Sharman Quinney, Burchell Edwards, Ashley Adams, Peter Alan, Rook Matthews Sayer, Paul Dubberley and Gascoigne Halman plus online estate agent Hatched.  As well as residential property sales and lettings, the Group has a comprehensive range of B2C and B2B services including new homes, mortgage services, conveyancing, EPCs, surveying, corporate lettings, asset management, land & planning, LPA receivers and auctions. Connells Group has won 64 industry awards in the last 12 years.

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