Michelle Ghandour

AVP Corporate Affairs, Canadian Tire Company

SuperNova Award Category:

The Company: 

Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC) is a family of businesses that includes a retail segment, financial services division and CT REIT. Our retail business is led by Canadian Tire; founded in 1922, it provides Canadians with Living, Playing, Fixing, Auto and Seasonal products designed for life in Canada. PartSource and Gas+ are key parts of the Canadian Tire network. The retail segment also includes Mark's, a leading source for casual and industrial wear, and FGL Sports (Sport Chek, Hockey Experts, Sports Experts, National Sports, Intersport, Pro Hockey Life and Atmosphere), which offers the best active wear brands. The nearly 1,700 retail and gasoline outlets are supported and strengthened by our Financial Services division and the tens of thousands of people employed across the Company.

The Problem: 

With five distinct business lines in locations across Canada, we needed a way to build a more connected workforce – one that would connect employees on a single platform, facilitate collaboration across our family of companies, and break down geographic and departmental barriers. Within each business line, we had separate intranets and instant messaging platforms for communication, but no single connection point for all employees. There was a clear need for a streamlined platform that would elevate internal communications, engage our employees, and provide opportunities for idea-sharing across the CTC family. A previous attempt to get organization-wide alignment on a single company-wide intranet had not moved ahead, as business lines couldn’t come to an agreement on a platform. At the same time, existing intranets were in dire need of upgrades and infrastructure improvement to better reflect the brand, and there was a strong desire to introduce enterprise social media. 

The Solution: 

We reached out to Facebook at Work after hearing about the pilot opportunity.  After an initial conversation, it became clear this platform could fulfill our needs. We were especially interested in a social platform that would replace multiple intranets and an instant messaging tool while cutting down on email traffic to support the changing needs of our employees. This was especially important to us, as our vision of being among the world’s most innovative retailers required tapping into great people and offering great products. The fact that many of our employees were already familiar with the Facebook platform, so it would require very little training, was also a fact in Facebook at Work’s favour. We knew that our employees would be excited to use a modern, innovative platform, and our leaders would support the resulting productivity improvement and strengthened collaboration. 

The Results: 
We implemented the platform quickly, enrolling 2,500 workers within the first 24 hours and saw immediate results, as the platform navigation is similar to Facebook. There’s no training or adjustment period required, so our employees were able to start connecting and collaborating immediately. 
Using Facebook at Work has helped us reach target audiences directly, strengthen brand engagement, and consolidate the news sections of four separate news-sharing platforms into one. Two examples to illustrate how Facebook at Work has changed our company:
• A financial services call center rep was having trouble completing a function online for a customer, so she posted a question on Facebook at Work. Within two hours, a VP from our retail division’s Digital team responded with useful insight. Before, this might have taken weeks to resolve – now, we can immediately address issues, saving our customers and our employees valuable time. 
• Our employees have quickly embraced the Groups function, and have formed groups based around customer interests – pets, kitchen, fishing, hockey, etc; Recognizing the business value of having a self-identified audience of category-specific customers, we’re using these groups to get instant feedback on current and potential products. This gives us a direct line to customer interests, ultimately ensuring we best serve our customers. 
• News sections of four separate intranet sites have been decommissioned, in favour of sharing news on Facebook at Work – eliminating the need for multiple posts on the same topic, and reducing the time collectively spent by the 15-member Employee Communications team to post content to intranets by approximately 50-75%.
• Content is reaching more than twice as many employees, based on the fact that weekly active use of Facebook at Work is approximately 50% of total registered users (3,500 employees, out of 6,700 registered users), while the most-read news items on intranets previously netted no more than 1,500 views.
• Employee contesting is a major contributor to employee engagement and brand ambassador building across CTC. Since launching Facebook at Work, CTC has opened contests to all five lines of business simultaneously – something previously not possible. The YOY results show an exponential increase in engagement: the annual Father’s Day contest, for example, received 130 entries in 2015 and generated 876 entries in 2016.
• Team collaboration on Facebook at Work has replaced team meetings in some cases. For instance, Facebook at Work has enabled the 15-member, five-location Employee Communications team to eliminate a weekly editorial meeting that will save us 780 hours per year.
The Technology: 

Facebook at Work.

Disruptive Factor: 
We anticipated that Facebook at Work would disrupt the way we communicate, though it’s also affected us in ways we didn’t expect – but it has all been welcome. As at 94-year-old company, it’s essential that CTC remains innovative to stay relevant, with both our products and our people. Facebook at Work platform is breaking down barriers by connecting teams across the country to increase agility and engagement, and gives our brightest minds a platform to share ideas and inspiration with colleagues. 
Facebook at Work has become our primary method of broad communication to – and with – employees, across all levels. While we knew this would be a draw for our younger employees, it’s resonated across the company: our CEO is a top influencer on the platform, sharing everyday insights on strategically important topics; our CTO is an active contributor, posting thought-provoking content and participating in conversation; and the COO of SportChek is on Facebook at Work daily, keeping a pulse on the business. As people shift to mobile, Facebook at Work is a logical next step for our organization as we reach employees where they are.
Shining Moment: 

One thing we’ve heard repeatedly on our Facebook at Work roadshow across the business is how proud (and surprised!) employees are that our 94-year-old company would embrace this social platform. Employees are proud to be among Facebook at Work’s first 300 pilot users. As one employee posted: “In the same week that my wife's company ‘bans’ Facebook usage during work hours, we encourage its usage to increase collaboration across departments and corporate banners! Exciting to say the least.”

About Canadian Tire Company

Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited, (TSX:CTC.A) (TSX:CTC) or "CTC," is a family of businesses that includes a retail segment, a financial services division and CT REIT. Our retail business is led by Canadian Tire, which was founded in 1922 and provides Canadians with products for life in Canada across its Living, Playing, Fixing, Automotive and Seasonal categories.