How did one company improve internal communication and information sharing within a network of 94 departmental relays spread throughout France? To meet this challenge, Gîtes de France® turned to Talkspirit. Since its implementation in 2018, its enterprise social network has become essential for daily communication and collaboration.
How did the deployment go, and what are its users doing with it today? That’s what this article is about.
Created in 1955, the Fédération Nationale des Gîtes de France® is a reference in Europe in the field of accommodation in and by private individuals. Located throughout France, the Gîtes de France® relays promote and market the accommodation (vacation rentals, guest rooms, group rentals, children’s rentals, stopover rentals, campsites, and chalets) entrusted to them by their owners.
- 40,000 owners and 50,000 accommodations in France
- 520 employees
- 94 autonomous departmental branches
- 629 users on Talkspirit
Christine Cheret, in charge of internal communication at the Gîtes de France® Federation, talks about the deployment and benefits for users and internal communication.
A key issue: making internal communication and collaboration more fluid
“Before Talkspirit, we used a tool we developed in-house to relay information, but it had become obsolete,” explains Christine Cheret.
As a result, the association received little information from the field, making it difficult to share best practices and develop a comprehensive communication plan.
“So we looked for a tool that would allow us to:
- improve internal communication and collaboration within teams to encourage the free flow of information
- create a single document base for all departmental offices
- share feedback and best practices among agencies.”
Talkspirit, an agile tool on a human scale
“We benchmarked three different solutions, including Talkspirit,” recalls the internal communications manager.
Talkspirit quickly stood out from the competition because of its flexibility and scalability— but also because of the proximity of its teams.
“It was the platform that best met our expectations on all fronts—in terms of business model, data privacy, agility and customization. We really appreciated the fact that it’s made in France, on a human scale, and constantly evolving. We also found it more “family friendly” than the big American options on the market.”
Successful deployment and adoption
“On the advice of the Talkspirit team, we tested the tool with the directors of the departmental relays for six months. Then we deployed it to all employees, letting them discover the tool by themselves. Little by little, the tool became part of everyone’s habits.
To help employees get the hang of the tool, I created a Talkspirit user guide, which I then supplemented with other resources, including video tutorials and tips and tricks on how to use the various features.
As far as internal communication is concerned, we tried to distill the information as much as possible, i.e. not to communicate too much different information at the same time, so that the employee would not be drowned. Because it is well known: too much information kills information.
Today, the platform has really become part of our daily routine, and is indispensable for our daily work and exchanges,” adds Christine Cheret. Of the 629 users of the platform, more than 80% are active every month.
A multi-purpose tool that facilitates…
…cohesion and mutual aid
“We use Talkspirit a lot to share experiences and discuss issues with vacationers or customers who own accommodations,” Cheret says.
This allows employees to help each other and share best practices to address common issues, which also helps develop cohesion within the network.
…internal communication and information sharing
“We also use the drive and publications to make documents available to employees and to make internal announcements, for example about new hygiene rules related to the Covid crisis.
Rezo 2.0, the Gîtes de France® internal social network
Information is shared with the entire network in open groups organized by theme.
On our Talkspirit platform, which we have named Rezo 2.0, we have, for example, a group for the brand’s graphic charter, a group for reporting bugs on the website, and several other groups that are created at the request of employees. Everyone can thus quickly report information in the dedicated groups.
…exchanges and collaborative work
Since the Covid crisis, employees have been teleworking a lot. Therefore, the groups are also used to encourage remote exchanges and collaboration within and between relays.
“During the first lockdown, we encouraged employees to create intra-agency groups to facilitate exchanges and remote work within the relays,” explains Christine Cheret.
“We have also created multi-antenna regional working groups made up of staff, directors, and organization members on strategic topics to encourage participation and allow everyone to look ahead.“
“For some time now, we’ve been trying to animate the community by organizing one activity per month and promoting these on the home portal. On this page, I also share tips and tricks, interviews with employees or contests. For example, last December we launched a Christmas quiz on corporate culture which was very successful.
Employees can also benefit from a training offer by joining the Gîtes de France Academy group directly from the home portal.”
Since the implementation of Rezo 2.0, Gîtes de France® has identified two main benefits.
Greater employee involvement
On the user side, Talkspirit has encouraged initiatives and facilitated feedback from the field.
“A real freedom of speech has been established among employees. They now feel free to give their opinion, suggest improvements and exchange with their colleagues from other departments to seek solutions together. This was not the case before, everything was very compartmentalized. Today, they are all much more involved.”
Faster internal communication
“Internal communication is faster than before, because we can now go down and up in real time. With Talkspirit, we can have a global view of the network and reach more employees. It’s also easier for us to identify employees and promote them within the network.
For me, the platform meets all our expectations.
We realized that for it to work well, it is essential that internal communication be involved in:
- the animation of the network, by regularly proposing various activities;
- structuring of groups, regularly eliminating those that are inactive.”
Talkspirit’s eye on Gîtes de France
To meet its internal communication and collaboration challenges, Gîtes de France® has turned to a European platform on a human scale, corresponding more closely to its corporate culture than the solutions offered by the GAFAMs.
Since Talkspirit is the only collaborative tool used internally, users do not have to search for information in different places. All documents and events are centralized on the platform, allowing employees to stay on top of network news.
Since the Covid-19 crisis, Rezo 2.0 has also become a lever for cohesion and mutual aid. Thanks to the communities created on Talkspirit, employees can share their problems, support and help each other, whether they work remotely or on site.
With Talkspirit, Gîtes de France® can encourage interaction between employees, facilitate the flow of information and connect all members of the network, wherever they are.
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Author: Emmanuelle Abensur