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Engaging a Global Workforce

With three hotel brands and 45,000+ employees at properties worldwide, FRHI Hotels & Resorts ( has a storied history. In 2014, a strategic focus on internal digital communications and its link to employee engagement was still new to the company. In identifying the communication challenges the business was facing, we realized there was a lack of effective internal communication across our many hotels, time zones, cultures and languages, plus a lack of strong community culture.

Before introducing a digital communication and employee engagement initiative, it is important to set measurable goals in order to help crystalize implementation plans. At FRHI a newly formed internal communications team established a vision of efficient, two-way communication based on achieving three goals: increase awareness of the FRHI brand; facilitate employee communication; and reach employees with inactive email accounts. Achieving these goals would also mean eliminating departmental silos and increasing workplace collaboration.

In April 2014 we introduced FRHI Talk, an online and mobile social network that is open for all employees to join. The content posted ranges from employee achievements, celebrations, hotel events, guest stories, community initiatives, questions and feedback. Our company needed a platform that would be fun, easy to use, and that would get the attention of even our busiest employees; those that work in front of a computer and those who are consistently on the go in our hotels. FRHI Talk became our digital communications solution to implement effective internal communications and engage with both these groups.   

Investing in employee adoption
Some of the things we did to help roll out FRHI Talk included: use of single sign-on, an integrated “Social Stream” on our intranet, introduction of a mobile app and promoting senior leader buy-in.
We have collected several metrics since our April 2014 launch and the results of FRHI Talk have exceeded our expectations. There are five areas that have been significantly affected: adoption, engagement, behavioral shifts, time/cost savings and internal communications satisfaction. As one of our goals was to facilitate employee communication, this last point on internal communications satisfaction was extremely important: in 2014, 86 percent of FRHI employees said that they are satisfied with the information about what is going on within FRHI.
Michelle Crosby, executive VP and chief human resources officer sums up the results by saying that FRHI Talk has taken off. “It’s very exciting to be able to go on every single day and get a glimpse of our organization around the world,” she describes. “Seeing pictures, reading stories and getting a sense of what’s happening out there in all of our destinations is truly gratifying. FRHI Talk is a way for us to connect with each other as people and share and celebrate some of the interesting things that our properties are doing both within their hotels and within their communities. Needless to say, this is an online community that has been growing, and I think will continue to exceed our expectations moving forward.”

Remember that as your business evolves so do your employees. It is important to set new goals, iterate, evaluate and always ask for feedback. For example, on FRHI Talk our next priorities will be improving the user experience while continuing to drive more employees to adopt the platform. This can only be done with continued feedback and insights gathered from our analytics. Large, global and multi-branded organizations face a unique set of challenges. For us, the use of FRHI Talk as an internal communications platform has met those needs.

Alexandra Zeifman, Internal Communications Project Manager, FRHI Hotels & Resorts

What was your first job?
In retail at a sports apparel store.   

Who inspires you?
Sheryl Sandberg – after reading Lean In I felt extremely motivated.

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy live music, CrossFit, biking, running and drinking good wine with friends.

What technologies excite you?
I have to admit I love Apple products. I am always checking out new apps on my phone, especially new and exciting fitness apps.

Sage Advice:
In business and in life: treat others as you would like to be treated.

What is one other job that you would like to try?
Interior decorator

What is one goal that you would like to achieve in your life?
Two goals: run a marathon and take my mother on an unlimited shopping spree in NYC.

Alexandra Zeifman is the Internal Communications Projects Manager at FRHI Hotels & Resorts. Zeifman will be co-presenting a general conference seminar at Digital Signage Expo 2016 ( entitled, “How to Connect and Engage a Global Work Force Using Digital Communications,” on March 16 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

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