The family-run theme park had been looking at how it communicated with its 640 staff for some time. Employees work across 11 different departments from the more obvious catering, retail and park operations to engineering, grounds and gardens and livestock; the park, originally a country park and bird gardens, first opened in 1983 and still boasts impressive themed gardens with exotic birds and animals, which were a feature of the original estate.
With most staff not desk-based, easy and effective communication was a challenge and Paultons Park explored a range of methods to appeal to its diverse workforce with no particular joy, until two years ago, when the company partnered with smartphone-driven workforce management platform, OurPeople.
Traditionally the park had communicated with staff through email, notice boards, screens in staff rooms and its extranet, but as Vann explains: “OurPeople has improved the way we engage with staff. It’s given us a more immediate means of communication, particularly as the app is phone-based and the majority of our staff aren’t sat at a desk with constant access to a computer.
“As a seasonal business, only 120 of the 640 staff are permanent team members, but they all perform extremely diverse roles and work different patterns. Most don’t have access to IT as part of their role. In fact, less than 10 per cent of our overall staff have their own email account, which was proving a challenge when trying to find a communication method that would engage everyone. We needed something that would work easily on the go.
“OurPeople grabbed our attention because it’s more than just a messenger app. We’re able to post files, such as rotas or policies and procedures, as well as being able to message staff in small groups or individually and send broadcasts to larger groups of staff, such as internal vacancies, events and surveys.
“The fact we can send targeted messages to specific staff is a real bonus. We can make sure people only receive relevant content rather than bombarding them with messages that don’t apply to their role.”
Staff at Paultons Park are truly engaging with the App, with an impressive 83 per cent on average of broadcasts ‘seen’. Since January 2019, Paultons has sent 158 ‘cards’ to staff, such as team briefing notes, schedules, cover requests, special offers and job vacancies, which have received almost 17,000 swipes from staff that have engaged with them. The 115 files Paultons Park has been uploaded have been downloaded more than 10,500 times.
“OurPeople has been extremely helpful when it comes to bad weather too,” continues Vann. “As the OurPeople console is web-based we can log in to the app from outside the office and send messages before people start work and hopefully before they even leave for work. In these situations it also helps us to be clear about who we would like at work, if possible, and who isn’t required, by being able to send targeted messages.”