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Connecting employees without an email address: a challenge Lyon Parc Auto took up

Lyon Parc Auto

How can we strengthen internal cohesion and the circulation of information within the company, when more than half of the employees do not have a professional email address? After an extensive market study, Lyon Parc Auto turned to Talkspirit. Their information system manager reviews the deployment of the tool and the benefits observed. 

Created in 1969, Lyon Parc Auto or LPA has been part of the Lyon landscape (France) for more than four decades. Its historical activity consists in managing the car parks of the Lyon metropolis (parking meters on the road, underground and overhead car parks). It has been diversifying for several years into car-sharing, with the services of Citiz (classic car-sharing) and Yea! (free floating), and the management of private parking with LPA&CO. Finally, in cooperation with the Lyon metropolitan area, it is developing a new activity around urban freight transport logistics, aimed at preventing large vehicles from entering city centres. 

Key figures :
+ 200 employees
+100 of them spread over parking lots
+ 34 parks in the Lyon metropolitan area 

Christophe Chevausset, Information System Manager and member of the R&D department, led the Talkspirit tool deployment project at LPA. He explains his initial needs and the different stages of the project. 

LPA, a multi-organizational company using heterogeneous tools

For several years, we had been identifying a problem related to our internal communication, both on the organizational and technical sides. Approximately one third of our employees work at our head office during normal working hours. But we also have 150 people working in the parks and other external departments, working staggered hours, rotating mornings, afternoons and nights before taking several days off. This organizational context makes internal communication much more complex. 

Another problem is that employees do not all use the same digital tools. At the headquarters, the corporate departments have a professional email address, but the park teams do not. To transmit information to the whole company, we used to juggle several tools: printed letters, use of the messaging system of our commercial management tool, which is not very well adapted to this type of use. 

For each piece of information we wanted to pass on, we had to use three or four different media, and despite this, we didn’t reach everyone! It was both too complicated and time-consuming. 

A long benchmark work to identify THE ideal solution

I was project manager to identify possible solutions to meet our needs, and I carried out a benchmark of the different solutions available on the market. The management was ready to give an email address to all employees to expand the possibilities, but I refused. Why did I refuse? Our email system is on Exchange: multiplying the number of email addresses meant multiplying the licensing costs, and the risks of bringing virus attachments into the company network, not to mention the complexity of the technical infrastructure to be put in place. 

We therefore needed a tool that would allow us to connect employees without needing an email address, something that most enterprise social network (ESN) tools do not allow… 

After much research and several unsuccessful attempts, we identified the Talkspirit solution. At LPA, where remote working was non-existent or exceptional, it was a real revolution. The HR department couldn’t agree more!

Read also: How does the enterprise social network (ESN) allow you to better integrate your “blue collar workers”?

Reactivity, adaptability, simplicity: the reasons for choosing Talkspirit

The main advantage of this ESN tool is that it allows you to connect people who do not have an email address, and to whom you do not wish to assign one: it therefore meets the first step of our requirements.

The second reason that quickly emerged was the responsiveness of the Talkspirit team to our requests and the flexibility of possible adaptations. Some changes were processed in barely a week, which is very commendable. The tool is at the service of our activity and adapts to our processes. This is its great strength compared to American solutions, which offer no person to turn to and no influence on the tool. With Talkspirit, we have an almost tailor-made tool with excellent responsiveness. And all this at a very competitive cost! 

Finally, we were conquered by the tool’s very simple ergonomics. We didn’t want to make our employees feel uncomfortable: there was no chance that they would have to follow training courses in order to handle an ESN. It had to be easy! The tool is very straightforward and user-friendly, even for people who are not used to digital tools. 

Read also: Collaborative tools: a new way of working

A progressive and cooperative implementation of Talkspirit

The Talkspirit team measured what internal brakes might linger, and gave me the tools to reassure and monitor the project. We proceeded step by step: a project group gradually expanded to 40 people first tested the tool, before suggesting it to the Management Committee. 

We then drafted an ESN charter, which was reviewed by our lawyers and the DPO. A dozen ambassadors began an internal information and education campaign. Finally, the containment and health crisis of Covid-19 coincided with the date already set for the deployment of the tool in the company. 

Fortunately, it had already started to be implemented, otherwise the company would have been paralyzed.  

A precious tool when faced with the confinement and a successful implementation

Thanks to the preliminary work carried out with Talkspirit, the implementation was done in a very organized way, it was impressive! Everyone was invited to join Talkspirit from the very first days of the confinement, and this new tool enabled us to get through the confinement with ease.

Out of more than 134 employees connected after a few days, only three encountered difficulties. This shows how intuitive the tool is. Many employees use it on mobile phones: it’s very easy-to-use, there are only four buttons. On PC, most started by launching it via their browser, but many have since discovered and adopted the desktop application.

Benefits seen with Talkspirit

Initially, some employees at Lyon Parc Auto were reluctant because they did not see the need for an ESN. However, already today, looking back, they do not hesitate to admit that they did not imagine it to be as effective, nor that it would provide such services. The confinement was beneficial for this: resistance to change was forced to drop.

Today, about Talkspirit’s benefits, there is nothing but positive news. The great strength of the tool is its simplicity of access and use: everyone can do it. We gain in fluidity: with asynchronous messaging, there is no more need to disturb a colleague by phone or to leave a message; we instead ask him the question in the chat and he answers when he is available. We can share schedules, documents addressed to everyone, relying on the flexibility and instantaneity of the tool. When we need to discuss a document, we open it in the tool and interact in real time: this is ideal in terms of speed and reactivity.  

People have also discovered the possibility of asking their questions via the community chat as well as the possibility of creating discussion groups on projects: it simplifies our organization and our functioning, everyone feels it. The main chat channel also helped to maintain social contact during the confinement, as people came by to say “Hello” and read the news before going back to work on their tasks. In a way, the implementation of this ESN frees up exchanges between employees.

After the crisis, the world will be different. Remote working will continue, and there will be a gap between employees who have to go on site and others. Our ESN tool at Lyon Parc Auto will accompany these changes, by structurally integrating it into our working methods in order to get the best out of it.  

Read also: How Talkspirit allowed the Bergamot Agency to reduce its internal emails by 95%?

The most important aspects to remember about Talkspirit?

It’s simple, intuitive to use and competitively priced. It’s also very user-friendly (emojis, GIF, SMS style…). On the customer support side, the reactivity of the team is very good, requests are processed quickly.

On a scale of zero to ten? I would give a score of 9 because there is always room for improvement, but we are already very satisfied! 

Talkspirit’s perspective on LPA matters

With Philippe Pinault, co-founder and CEO of Talkspirit:

 “When we met Lyon Parc Auto, they were using an American software, rather heavy and constraining, without necessarily optimized ergonomics. The management was aware of the importance of this type of tool to improve communication within the company, but had already understood that they needed a tool optimized in terms of interface and usability. 

Talkspirit provides them with a very intuitive and ergonomic “all-in-one” tool, which is very easy to use. This makes it possible to bring non-technical people into the corporate community, who are poorly equipped with digital tools. 

Other sectors employing employees who do not have professional email can benefit from it: construction and public works companies with people working on building sites or engineering structures, local authorities with people in charge of green spaces, canteens, municipal services, etc… 

We value the feedback from LPA: Talkspirit has been built and continues to improve in iteration with our clients, in a logic of co-construction. We are not just a supplier, but a partner who helps them to develop their work tool, in a win/win relationship.”

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Author: Clémentine Garnier

L'équipe talkspirit

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