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How Gildan is Connecting their 50,000-Person Organization with a Centralized Communication Hub

Brian C. McIlravey

July 18, 2019 · 4 min read

Key Results of Gildan’s Partnership with Igloo:

  • In-product translation to 3 languages in a matter of hours
  • Compliance training course completed in 1 month (previously 6 months)
  • 6 solutions deployed to address specific use cases
  • 94% of employees say they feel more informed

Clear and consistent communication is vital in all organizations, but especially in those with offices that span multiple countries. It’s the foundation for a cohesive culture and robust employee engagement. No matter where people work or what language they speak, they need quick and easy access to their colleagues and the latest company information.

Gildan, an international apparel manufacturer with over 50,000 employees, understands the critical importance of communication across its operations in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean Basin. With corporate head offices in Montreal, Canada, the company’s employees operate equally in English, French, and Spanish.

The leadership team started to see information siloes developing at Gildan’s different locations and knew it needed to consolidate internal communications. They envisioned a multilingual, sophisticated – yet intuitive and accessible – digital hub for news, resources, and events.

Challenges faced by international organizations

Large organizations with locations scattered across the globe unsurprisingly encounter a host of workplace challenges, including:

Physical distance

Many employees will never meet face to face, though their jobs may require frequent collaboration. It’s hard to establish successful working relationships without a strong personal or virtual connection.

Language barriers

It can be a struggle to keep everyone informed in their native language. Company news often goes stale during the long translation process.

Site-specific operations

When companies have far-flung geographic locations, they often develop unique ways of doing things. Eventually, one company can start to feel like several separate companies.

Lack of cohesion across company

A positive employee experience depends on people feeling that they’re part of the big picture. Cultivating a sense of belonging to one big company is difficult without consistent, frequent shared experiences.

5 ways a digital workplace platform bridges the distance

Before Gildan started searching for a platform to transform their outdated approach to internal communications, they relied on email and a disorganized intranet that few employees knew existed – let alone used. Instead of being a reliable source of up-to-date company happenings and employee accomplishments, it was a jumble of links and files.

Gildan’s leadership team had heard of Igloo’s digital workplace platform and opted to start with a free trial. Satisfied that it offered everything the company needed and more, they began an accelerated implementation process.

Looking to replace your intranet? Try Igloo for free.

They created a thriving digital workplace – GildanConnect – that has solved Gildan’s most pressing communication challenges while increasing employee engagement. They embarked on the project with five underlying objectives:

1. Create a single hub with multiple communication solutions

GildanConnect is not only appealing and accessible to users, but simple to manage. Unlike the bland, boring, and largely ignored old intranet, it’s a dynamic site that employees want to use every day. Corporate information appears in one place – in real time and in context.

Here are some of the digital workplace solutions they chose:

2. Build in translation

With Igloo’s translation features, Gildan has streamlined multilingual communication. Instead of using external services that took days to deliver, the whole translation process takes place within the platform. Now news is still news when it reaches employees in all three languages.

3. Make it social

Employees come together on GildanConnect to comment on corporate news, tag each other, and send congratulations. Without the benefit of a shared office, or even a shared country, the platform has become a meeting place and community-builder.

4. Encourage contributors

Igloo’s publishing tools ensure that GildanConnect is not a top-down communications vehicle, but an open and unrestricted platform where everyone can have a voice. There are always new contributors joining the conversation from all levels of the company.

5. Integrate with existing tools

GildanConnect was never meant to replace existing tools and systems that were working well for their defined purpose. Instead, it integrates with them, providing a single destination where employees can easily access everything they need.

The legal team, for example, was able to embed digital training software called Brainshark, into a GildanConnect so they could promote compliance training courses right within announcements. And it was a success. In just one month, more than 3,000 people had completed Gildan’s first Igloo-enabled compliance training.

The result: A united global workforce

With GildanConnect, employees can reliably find all the company news, events, policies, and more – in their language. And they have a place to socialize around work-related news and events. Not only that, the company now has a way to ensure its true entrepreneurial spirit comes across in the languages of all its people, regardless of where they live and work.

One year after the platform launched, a poll found 94% of respondents felt more informed about Gildan’s global news and operations because of GildanConnect. The number of active users continues to rise by the day, proof of the appetite for connection in the organization’s large, distributed workforce.

For additional insights and advice, read the full story of how Gildan worked with Igloo to build and launch their online destination.