How Zwift Built a Connected and Inclusive Digital Workplace

By Hani Khan
How to create an internal communication plan

Zwift is a training app that brings fitness indoors and has its roots in gaming. Their app connects wirelessly to bike trainers or a run pod, connecting your shoe, creating a real-time ride or run experience. Mary Lowe, Senior Manager of Internal Communications, joined Simpplr at Cohesion conference in 2021 and spoke about how internal communication can aid in building workplace collaboration and cross-organizational efficiencies. It also encourages inclusivity. At Zwift, it is not only about disparate employees. It’s also about global customers that engage in their technology.

In the last two years, the issues of distributed workforces created by the COVID-19 pandemic have been difficult for companies and employees to deal with. Mary believes that communications connect people to the “vision, the mission and the overall work that’s taking place.” For Zwift, Mary stated that communication is vital in that it “helps people feel that they’re a part of the story that they belong.”

Centralize for Better Alignment, Awareness, and Inclusion

Zwift’s strengths and abilities are tested by the global nature of the company, both from an employee and customer perspective. Though they had physical offices pre-pandemic, remote reality tested their ability to bring multiple voices together. There were also time zones, messages to consider, aligning people, and keeping everyone on the same page while respecting boundaries.

Another difficulty was the amount of growth Zwift went through in the last several years. During the pandemic alone, their organization doubled in size, and their hiring rate continues to be at 30%. And Zwift is still hiring. In terms of onboarding, all the new hires are placed with teams they’ve never met in person.

This type of work environment poses many issues to solve. The largest was that Zwift needed to create a centralized resource space, and a single source of truth. Zwift didn’t have a space where everyone could refer to the same information and know it was up-to-date. With multiple versions, no one knew what was authentic without taking valuable time and effort from other people’s responsibilities.

The amount of information was overwhelming, and the same people had to repeatedly answer questions, resources, and documents. However, there was a small shared folder system that did exist. It was missing information, and most of what existed significantly focused on one central geographic area—U.S. headquarters. This limitation meant one group was supported, and others were left out, feeling unsupported. It was not an experience of inclusivity.

The lack of a centralized source of truth left employees using tools, such as Slack or email. Without a cohesive means of communication, opportunities were missed to celebrate collective wins, recognize the efforts of individual contributors, and inspire employees. Motivating and creating a happy, inclusive digital workplace leads to better retention. After all, who doesn’t want to work in a place they love?

Creating a New Inclusive Workplace

Zwift knew they needed a centralized platform with accessible information, and authentic resources. It had to promote self-service and engage employees beyond functional needs. They needed a system that supports culture, play, innovation, and inclusivity. Most of all, it had to be scalable, and easily managed. With Zwift’s growth, they required an internal comms system that met its growing communications strategy, and allowed for connectedness and autonomy. Enter Simpplr.

“Simpplr would allow us to not rely on our inboxes for information, but would encourage people to take ownership of their own experience and to sense that information was available to them.” Links could be established to a centralized hub. Employees could take that opportunity to search for information they wanted and needed. Also, the data would be categorized and archived. Zwift wanted to ensure that there wasn’t a feeling that employees “weren’t going to miss out on this one-time offering,” Mary said. 

Lastly, Zwift needed an inspiring space; an inclusive digital workplace. People choose where they work. Zwift wants employees to choose them, and be proud and excited of their work. Zwift also wants them motivated by their team. It all plays a role in being open, choosing to stay somewhere you are accepted for who you are, and what you contribute. 

Next Steps-Centralizing Content Creation

The company recognized that this transition was a chance at a reset. So, they developed a three-step process to ensure an ordered system of communication.

  1. Created Rules and Guidelines: Anyone can be a content creator, however governance was in place over the resource with the ability to add more information and team sites in a future phase.
  2. Defined what Zwift wanted to highlight and tackle first: There were several challenges Zwift had to overcome. They interviewed various teams to identify needs, especially their high-touch teams. They reviewed versions of process documents, resources, and assets. 
  3. Identified gaps to ensure inclusivity: Verification of all resources and what processes were utilized to accomplish led to the identification of gaps. They saw the gaps as opportunities and to include more people.The platform needed to be a space for everyone to understand, assist people, and bring people together by supporting their global workforce. Ultimately, “The Hub” was for employees to access information when they needed it and access was key to alignment across their business. 

Launch Phase and Results

Zwift launched “The Hub” and are now over six months into their engagement. They are pretty pleased.  The organization knew the platform would be a successful starting point because “it would both answer the questions and drum up excitement about our work and the impact of our work.” So, they were intentional about keeping content centralized, creating a quality experience across their sites. The Hub allows Zwift’s employees to educate themselves, provide a self-service, align their messaging, celebrate wins, and provide a space to pause when work is overwhelming. And they did it all in 90 days.

Watch the on-demand presentation

For more information on Zwift’s success in creating an inclusive digital workplace, watch the full presentation here

If you are looking for alignment, creating a positive experience for employees, and a space for cohesive content, look to Simpplr. It can serve as a central source of truth, and seerve global company virtual headquarters. Want to engage your employees with today’s best intranet solution? Schedule a demo today.

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