Large or small, a more collaborative workplace is a more productive workplace, a tenet enterprise platform developer Igloo Software is more than familiar with and that the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba was happy to learn.

The College, which experienced a significant boost in workforce engagement and productivity after implementing the Igloo platform at its 35-person office last year, has been nominated in the Public Sector SME transformation category of ITWC’s Digital Transformation Awards, which are being held on June 14 in Toronto.

Though nominations for this year are now closed, we’ll be covering every nominee that we’ve received in ITBusiness.ca ahead of the big event.

“Prior to launching our Igloo intranet, we had a very basic internal webpage that served as a portal for documents and links,” College communications manager Kristin Hancock explains in her nomination form. “The page was relatively stagnant and there was no place for collaboration, document sharing or interaction of any kind.”

While the College communications team did their best to keep the page “fresh and creative,” Hancock says, without a graphic designer on staff their options were limited, and there were few attempts at collaboration, with the office’s various departments focusing on their own as they strove to meet deadlines.

“We knew we needed a new platform for employees to share information and work in a digital space and we knew this platform needed to be easy to build, implement, and use on a daily basis,” Hancock writes.

After selecting Igloo as its digital partner, the College began plotting its digital transformation, spending “a considerable amount of time” with Igloo employees to ensure a smooth, strategic transition.

“The buzz of launching a new intranet was planned very carefully to promote excitement and engagement,” Hancock writes. “Together with a team of ‘soft launchers’ we created a list of tasks that needed to be completed in order to test the functionality of the intranet, but also to help these employees become ambassadors.”

Building the ambassador program, she notes, made for a smoother transition, since the College was later able to launch the Igloo platform with digital champions in place who could help others that were new to the platform. Ambassadors were also carefully selected to include employees of multiple ages, from different departments, and with varying backgrounds in technology, which helped the College and Igloo’s ambassadors test their new strategy and identify areas for improvement.

Naturally, one ambassador was from the College’s leadership team, ensuring that all necessary information would be filtered through the c-suite, eventually ensuring awareness and engagement at every level of the organization.

The communications team also recognized that moving the College onto a collaborative digital platform would require a significant shift in mindset for both staff and leadership, and planned accordingly.

“We were venturing into unknown territory and every feature was new to us,” Hancock writes. “To engage employees we knew we needed to inject fun but also foster an environment of digital creativity. We are not an overly mobile workforce in our office and we wanted people to feel comfortable logging in every day and interacting with their peers on a screen.”

The team encouraged the College’s workforce to embrace the Igloo platform by showing how it could be used to connect for events. They also began running ongoing contests that encourage staff to post in Igloo instead of sending emails. They also make a point of congratulating staff members who post something creative, or try a new function for the first time.

Since implementing the platform at the end of 2016, the College has seen its investment pay off relatively quickly: Based on the industry standard of 15 per cent savings in productivity, its investment in Igloo paid off after just 7.5 days.

“The remaining 252.5 days are pure productivity savings, attributed to reducing the time spent on tasks such as managing email, duplicating work, or searching for information,” Hancock writes. “As we continue to explore the functionality of a digital workspace, we continue to find additional ways we can be more productive and collaborative with our co-workers.”

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