How Starbucks persuaded its employees that they owned the new company intranet

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What You’ll Learn:: 

Starbucks' mission is "to inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time."

But that mission goes beyond the way Starbucks tries to make its customers feel. It's the way the brand wants its employees to feel, too.

To make employees — or partners, as Starbucks calls them — feel more connected to the company and each other, Starbucks built a new intranet, The Partner Hub. Now’s your chance to find out how they did it.

In this session, you will learn:

  • How to invite test groups and influencers to join the transformation
  • How to engage leaders and stakeholders from first to last
  • To build intranet awareness through branding
  • To create a sense of intranet ownership throughout the organization

Starbucks took the intranet from a website employees only used to book conference rooms to a hub where employees could connect, learn and work smarter.

"My key thing was The Partner Hub isn't just another portal," says Vida Killian, director of the partner digital experience for Starbucks. "It's different. It's a new way to work and a new way to connect with people."

Learn how to create an intranet people will use. Starbucks operates in 62 countries, and has more than 8,000 corporate (non-store) employees. Discover how to create a strategy and work with key stakeholders.

First, determine who you are building the site for. While 94 percent of Starbucks' 200,000 employees work in stores, Killian and her team decided to target those in the corporate offices first.

Learn how to define what you want your site to do. Killian's team wanted the intranet to be a hub where employees could get everything they needed to do their jobs.

Killian's team knew the site needed to be intuitive, able to work on all browsers, accessible from all devices (both personal and company), and optimized for mobile. Find out how the latte-slinging firm pulled it off.

Glean tips on how to identify your core team—the people who will create the intranet. This may be a combination of your communications and IT departments, or an outside agency.

Involve everyone at the company. At a company conference, Killian's team set up a digital booth where they told employees about the new intranet and asked employees to suggest names for it. The winner, in a staff-wide vote, was The Partner Hub.

Prepare the company leaders. Killian knew The Partner Hub would only be a success if Starbucks' leaders used it and encouraged other employees to do the same.

You’ll even hear about how Starbucks created pre-launch buzz. Booths? Backgrounds with cutouts? A viral video? Steal ideas from the espresso-makers.

Want your employees to love interaction and collaboration? Get buzzed about Starbucks. Start here.

October 2013

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Presenter bio: 

Vida Killian is director of the partner digital experience for Starbucks. After leading the Starbucks social media team, she now applies the same leading-edge digital strategy and innovation Starbucks creates for customers to an internal global audience. This includes transforming how people work through a new intranet while connecting partners to each other and to Starbucks through social media.