How Subsea 7 are connecting and engaging with the ultimate hard to reach workforce.

Subsea 7 power up their employee communications to connect and engage with their Offshore crew that felt disconnected and excluded from the organisation.

Subsea 7 is a global leader in the delivery of offshore projects and services for the evolving energy industry. The company provides engineering and end-to-end project management of technical solutions to enable the delivery of complex projects in all water depths and challenging environments. 

Operating about 30 high tech specialist vessels, Subsea 7 has an impressive track record of more than 1000 completed projects and boasts a globally diverse group of experts with over 80 nationalities across 36 countries with a total of around 11,000 employees, around half of which are offshore staff. 

Offshore crew felt disconnected and excluded from lack of communication.

“left out” “not connected or included” “they often resorted to using social media to find out what was going on.”

Morag MacDonald, Communications Specialist, Subsea 7

An employee engagement survey in 2017 revealed that one of the biggest opportunities for improvement with the offshore teams was around communication. The mechanisms at that time relied heavily on cascading information via line management. This approach was not always effective as it lacked consistency in execution and timely delivery could not be assured. This was especially important when it came to issues such as safety alerts. 

Information that was received was very much “one size fits all” and not tailored to the specific needs of the offshore crews. Although the company had an intranet in place, the platform was deemed “uninspiring”, was e-learning focussed and “one-way” only. The decision was made to develop a mobile community app to allow offshore crew to stay connected and informed anytime, anywhere. 

The rotational lifestyle of offshore work means that crew can spend a significant amount of time at home or travelling. When not on a vessel, Morag Macdonald, Communications Specialist, commented that crew felt particularly “left out” and “not connected or included” and that “they often resorted to using social media to find out what was going on”. 

The best solution to meet the deadline

Subsea 7 prepared a specification for a communications tool and approached four potential suppliers. Thrive was chosen as the preferred vendor. It was felt Thrive’s “off the-shelf” yet flexible toolset would be the best option to deliver a solution tailored to Subsea 7 requirements in a rapid timescale.

The resultant app, 7OFFSHORE, was launched in October 2018 and is effectively a mobile intranet for offshore crew containing a mix of news, contacts, vacancies, policies and processes, safety updates, as well as learning and development resources, benefits, handbooks and so on. Social features such as “likes” and “comments” facilitate bi-directional communication. User groups have been created allowing for the targeting of relevant content for each person’s role.

According to Morag, crew found the app very easy to use and were appreciative of the company’s commitment to using technology and in demonstrating that they were acting as a result of the staff survey. Take up has reached an impressive current data 69% so far. 

“The new app is a great idea and I know from speaking to work mates they are really enjoying the updates and reports.”

Employee comment.

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