How we helped Hostplus create a personal intranet

Hostplus is the industry superannuation fund for those working in hospitality, tourism, recreation and sports. Established back in 1987, the fund now has over $50billion under management and more than one million members, making it one of the largest superannuation funds in Australia.


Intranet, Digital Workplace, Design


SharePoint, Microsoft 365

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How we helped Hostplus create a personal intranet

The old intranet at Hostplus had outstayed its welcome.

When Hostplus came to Sope, they were labouring with an outdated intranet built on a legacy system that was suffering from lack of simplicity and deterioration over time. Consequently, employees had become reluctant to use it.  

As Group Executive Lewis Tassone admits, “It didn’t integrate well with the most recent advances we had made as an organisation with Microsoft O365 and our documents being in the cloud. That was the real game-changer for us. We needed something new that enabled collaboration.”

Their vision was to create an inspirational online collaboration space where all Hostplus employees could come together, where they could share ideas with each other, engage in vital discussions and find out everything there is to know about the organisation. This needed to be a place where their people wanted to be.

After putting the challenge to four or five potential vendors, they landed on Sope to work some magic. As Lewis says, “We went through a fairly thorough evaluation.”

“With industry super, particularly Hostplus, we care greatly about where our money goes and how it is spent, because everything we do is about ensuring the best returns for our members. The decision behind going with Sope was about factoring all of that in.”

Building intranets is Sope’s core business – it’s something they have years and years of experience in,” Lewis adds. “They have the right partnerships and relationships, and they could work in the direction we wanted to go. We wanted to build a SharePoint intranet solution ‘out of the box’. We didn’t want a tailored or bespoke solution that was time consuming and expensive to maintain.”

“Being able to bring an organisation’s information to life, and making it accessible, functional, easy to use and aesthetically pleasing were the things about Sope that really hit home for us. And they were local – that was a deciding factor too.”

Sope worked outside The Square to create one.

Before implementing any technical wizardry, Sope needed to be 100 percent across the Hostplus vision. This involved a deep-dive design workshop where all key project stakeholders gathered to establish the whos, whys, wheres, whats and whens.

As Lewis explains, “We told Sope that we wanted to ensure people would start their day at the home page of this new intranet – to create a sense of community at Hostplus where you could read the latest news and watch the latest videos, but also have the ability to get where you wanted to go in just one or two clicks.”

The outcomes of the design workshop were then put to paper and circulated between Sope and Hostplus until all parties were on the same page. From the design stage, Sope then set about building the ideal intranet and making their ambitions a reality.

“From the very beginning, Sope’s approach was accommodating and flexible,” continues Lewis. “They were prepared to work with us based on our specific security demands. For example, we needed a consultant on-site, as opposed to Sope working remotely and having access to our systems. They proactively engaged us and our internal project team at every step of the journey.”

Hostplus put out a vote to the organisation’s employees to find a name for this new intranet. They settled on a clever play on the Hostplus logo and the traditional Town Square concept – the central meeting point for a community where locals gather and dispense their news and knowledge – The Square.

A place where all Hostplus employees feel welcome

Now in full implementation, The Square has been fully embraced by the Hostplus workforce as an intelligent source of truth. In fact, the response has been so positive, it launched without a single negative comment.

“It’s a very personal intranet,” Lewis observes. “It talks to the individual, as well as being about the organisation. It has that added layer of accessibility – your recent documents, quick links that you can customise, being able to quickly find what you want to find – that didn’t exist previously.”

“What we’ve created now is trust. There’s a sense of trust in the organisation that if they go to look for a particular policy, for example, that it’s up-to-date and it’s reliable.”

One of the features introduced by The Square is the versatility of the environment, which means the different teams within Hostplus can drive themselves. This has resulted in strong buy-in from the business units across the organisation who have shown pride in the appearances and content of their pages.

By partnering with Sope, Hostplus has established more than an intranet, they have a digital workspace that is a place of function and user-optimised beauty.

As Lewis concludes, “That theme of community and ensuring there is a greater level of understanding and agency in what we all do, and what our key drivers are as a business and how we contribute to all of those things… I’d say they’re the most important changes that have happened as a result of The Square.”

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