Biffa Brings Together Their Dispersed Workforce with Thrive.App

Here's how leading waste management company, Biffa, used their Thrive employee app, 'Biffa Beat', to digitally transform their communications strategy and improve engagement with its geographically dispersed workforce.

Operating for over 100 years, Biffa is one of the UK’s leading sustainable waste management companies. Providing household, industrial and commercial services to a vast range of UK industries, Biffa carry out essential operations every day to support the UK circular economy including collection, surplus redistribution, recycling, treatment, disposal and energy generation.

With over 10,000 employees and many without a desk or company email address, Biffa needed a way of connecting and communicating with their harder-to-reach teams to provide them with key company updates and encourage team engagement.

Check out our video to see how Biffa achieved employee engagement success with their Thrive employee app or read the full story below.

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The Challenge – Reaching & Connecting a Dispersed Workforce in a Sustainable Way

Biffa’s workforce is made up of over 10,000 employees, spread across three operating divisions and over 300 multiple facilities in the UK. The majority of employees did not have access to a company phone or email address, including those based away from the office operating the company’s frontline vehicles, which meant communicating directly with everyone was always a challenge.

In line with their sustainability goals, Biffa also wanted to reduce the need for printed communications.

"We had an increasing appetite to understand how our off-line employees were engaging with our communications and wanted a straightforward way of bringing together our employees and encouraging two-way conversation to keep everyone informed, connected and engaged. We also wanted to move with the times and adapt our communications to a modern standard that people are more used to dealing with in their personal lives, like social media.”

Helen Hawkins, Head of Communications at Biffa

Finding the Best Solution

Biffa decided they wanted to ‘pioneer’ a communication tool that would be able to enable conversations and produce efficient communications, while growing and tracking their levels of engagement with their employees.

They needed an employee engagement and communications partner who had a strong portfolio of satisfied clients and who would be able to deliver the same high-quality service to Biffa. As part of the procurement process, Biffa undertook an extensive research project to look for app developers who would be able to provide them with the employee comms platform they needed.

"Thrive.App stood out for us as the partner of choice over others because of their commitment to continuously developing their platform and to a schedule that worked for us, which was an important factor in our decision-making process. Three years on and it certainly seems like we made the right decision. Thrive.App’s help centre for building content was invaluable. And when you teamed that up with Thrive.App’s knowledge, customer service and some great examples of their past successes that they were able to share, it made us feel really confident in creating our app, successfully launching it, and reaching record uptake thereafter.”

Helen Hawkins, Head of Communications at Biffa

The Outcome – Digitally Transforming the Company Culture & Communications

The deployment of Biffa’s customised app, ‘Biffa Beat’, has had a huge impact on both company culture and staff engagement.

Improving Employee Communications

Over 50% of the workforce signed up to Biffa Beat within the first 9 months of launching, surpassing Biffa’s goal 3 months ahead of their expected 12-month timeframe. Their uptake has since increased to 70% of their 10,000 employees and at least 3,000 of the team are now logging on to Biffa Beat on a regular basis to communicate and engage with their colleagues.

Engagement has improved dramatically in the three years since rolling out the app, and Biffa have noted a consistently high engagement score of 59% year on year – 3% above the UK average of 56%!


Reducing Paper Trails & Postage Costs

The app has helped Biffa make progress in their sustainability goals, reducing the time and costs of manually posting out payslips by providing easy-to-access electronic payslips for all employees.

This includes team members who are deskless or who don’t have access to a Biffa email address, who now have much easier access to this feature thanks to Biffa Beat.

Reaching Everyone, Everywhere

Biffa Beat helps the company to keep the workforce updated on what’s happening in the business on a day-to-day basis, with latest news notifications and updates pushed out to all employees, keeping them informed regardless of where they are based or currently working.

This use of this feature has enabled Biffa to reduce the print run and frequency of their formerly quarterly newspaper, Biffa News, saving the business even more on time, costs and productivity.


Creating Connection with Fun Competitions

The app isn’t just used for corporate communications – Biffa has enjoyed great success in engaging employees and encouraging user-generated content with
fun competitions. These have included the Biffa Easter Bunny Egg Hunt, with virtual Easter Eggs containing letters planted across the app and staff encouraged to ‘hunt’ for the eggs to spell out the final word and win a prize. The letters could be found on various pieces of content across the app, giving Biffa the opportunity to increase engagement with content that they particularly wanted staff to see.

Other competitions and events have included their ‘5 Days of Christmas’ prize draw; a Jubilee Weekend competition; and an opportunity to win tickets to the Commonwealth Games; and a World Cup 2022 competition, to name just a few. 

Biffa has seen record engagement with these events – the 5 Days of Christmas prize draw alone had approximately 1,000 views per day, while the World Cup competition was their best performing competition of the year, with 150 entries!


Bridging the Gap Between Management & Staff

Biffa Beat has also been invaluable for sharing content and campaigns promoting culture change across the business. This included opening a channel of communication between employees and senior management, with the CEO regularly vlogging to share company goals and updates, keeping employees informed and feeling more connected with the business.

Push notifications have kept people updated in real-time and helped to drive both engagement and user-generated content.

"Biffa Beat was absolutely essential to us throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. Being able to quickly post updates with dynamic information was a real game changer for us, and the two-way communication of Beat has enabled us to hear our employees’ concerns and questions and address them quickly and efficiently. We love having the ability to send push notifications out to the team to highlight and celebrate some of our key news, all the while knowing that we’re able to reach everyone with our updates so that no-one is left in the dark. All in all, we’ve absolutely loved our employee app, and the team’s reaction to it has been very positive. When we were first considering how to use our app and getting it ready for implementation, we made sure our content structure was based around what mattered most to our end users, rather than basing it solely on what we wanted to deliver. Combining that with the ability for our colleagues to in turn share their own user generated content – the most popular feature by far – and our app has been a huge success so far!"

Helen Hawkins, Head of Communications at Biffa

Want to Learn More?

If your organisation is similar to Biffa and you want to improve your internal communications, talk with a member of our team today to learn more about the Thrive employee app. We're working with many organisations across the UK, Ireland and beyond, to improve both daily operations and communications, as well as employee retention. Book a discovery call today.

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