CVGT Australia opened its doors in Bendigo, Victoria, in 1983 with a purpose of connecting more people with meaningful work. Constant growth has seen this not-for-profit employment services provider expand to 128 locations across three states, working tirelessly in the communities to help people thrive and succeed.
Intranet, Digital Workplace, Design, Forms
SharePoint, Sproket, Microsoft 365, Power Automate, Power Apps
When you’re spread across many different locations, engaging and communicating effectively with staff is a pretty big challenge. Being such a large organisation with a key focus on digital transformation as part of its strategic plan means the intranet plays a vital role in achieving objectives.
After a series of internal reviews, CVGT Australia realised its existing intranet – while reliable and "as honest as the day is long" – could no longer do what was required. “We had an existing intranet,” says Penny FitzGerald, executive assistant at CVGT, and intranet project manager. “It wasn’t ‘broken’ or anything like that but it certainly wasn’t fulfilling the need we identified in the organisation.
"We worked out that we needed a tool that was going to engage our workforce, particularly because we’re such a geographically diverse organisation. We also needed a go-to place where people would be able to get one source of truth on all of the information they needed, and a tool that we could communicate better with them through.”
CVGT Australia’s intranet project team embarked on an exhaustive procurement process to find the right company to provide them with a more functional and supportive platform. In this instance, the job of finding the right people to build the new intranet lay with someone who freely admitted to “not [being] an IT person”. This could have been a potential recipe for disaster in some organisations but, as Penny explains, the ability to collaborate effectively with someone not from IT was going to play a major role in deciding who would be their partner.
While CVGT Australia felt the principles and values that drive Sope were closely aligned to theirs, it was the ability to communicate in a straightforward and easy-to-understand manner that tipped the scales in Sope's favour.
“I’m the executive assistant to the managing director," says Penny. "I knew what the end result needed to look like but I had no idea how I was going to get there. I needed somebody to speak layman’s language and take me on that journey. I was super enthusiastic, and it ended up being awesome fun the whole way through. Sope were able to translate what it was that they could do for us to terms I could understand.
"I’d gone through a whole process of engaging with the business and having meetings to try and work out what people wanted if they could have the intranet of their dreams, and then Sope were able to take me on that process. They knew where they needed to get to, and they knew how to engage with me and my team to get there.”
Importantly, bridging the communication and knowledge gap didn’t come at the expense of an effective user experience (UX).
“When it came to the public-facing side of [our Intranet], we really wanted to get staff engaged. So, it had to be simple to navigate, simple to use, and everything easily found. Sope fully understood [our objective] in terms of being able to deliver but also in suggesting some functionality improvements they thought we might need along the way.”
The project resulted in 'The Hub' – or 'Trevor', as Penny keenly emphasises – an intranet that has been warmly welcomed by the wider CVGT Australia team, particularly the branch finder function.
“We’ve got 128 branches and some of the staff are full-time, some are part-time and others are outreach, so there are all these different nuances to branches,” Penny says. “You can’t have just one spreadsheet with ‘here’s a list of all the locations’, so we wanted to have this feature in the intranet that enabled people to search for a branch and find out those little nuances of information they needed.
“The branch finder has really enabled us to connect 400 people more closely together – to know who is working where, what they are doing, what their roles are. Seeing that connection is fantastic. SOPE built that for us, and we’re thrilled to bits."
The creation of The Hub has also given CVGT Australia the opportunity to better present information from an executive level to the organisation.
“There’s a whole thing about governance on there. You can learn about who the board members are, the leadership team have a little blurb that they’ve written themselves to help people learn about who the MD is, who the COO is, so there’s those benefits,” says Penny. “If you’re a new person coming into the organisation, you’ve got one location where you can find a whole host of information that was previously buried in training modules.”
The journey of creating The Hub has been overwhelmingly positive for CVGT Australia “It opened the eyes and the doors to potential tech solutions. It’s been great to see the staff engaged and using other tech, as well,” says Penny.
“We realise that we’re at the first stage of our intranet journey. So yes, we’ve got Trevor – or The Hub – at the moment but now we can see what we can do. We’re never going to be ‘done’ with developing The Hub. We now know all of the other things that it could potentially do, and we’re excited to explore those.”
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