How Airtel is using Workplace to connect frontline staff and work faster

by Mike Sharkey

Workplace leaders: Our regular Q&A with the industry leaders using Workplace to transform how their organisations work.

We meet the business leaders who are helping shape the future of work. We ask them to tell us about their Workplace launch. We share examples of how the platform is helping them find new ways of working. And we gain real-life insights into the Workplace experience…

This week we meet Vani Venkatesh, CEO of Retail at Bharti Airtel Limited, a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 17 countries across Asia and Africa. They now rank as the number 1 telecom operator in India and the number 3 global mobile operator by subscriber base.

Airtel has rolled out Workplace in its Retail business across India covering almost 10,000 people. This includes approximately 6,000 franchisees who don't have access to a business email address.

Airtel now uses Workplace to help manage its widely distributed retail operations and have found exciting new ways to work. People go live and broadcast morning 'huddles' every day across all of their stores. Teams share daily stories of customer delight via their Pan India Group. And they use Workplace to share live role plays that train and develop their distributed store staff on new products and services.

Here's how Vani and her team started their Workplace journey.

Why did you choose Workplace?

Workplace helps organisations join people together wherever they are and wherever they work. And it was this mobile-first approach to connectivity that made Workplace the natural choice for Airtel. "We needed an easy outreach channel to reach out to 1,000s of team members across India servicing our customers. In an industry as dynamic as ours, time is of the essence in getting everyone functioning uniformly!"

Another consideration was how easily the Airtel teams could adopt the new platform and integrate it into their daily lives. Adoption was quick and painless because Workplace is a set of familiar tools that people already use, know and love. As Vani says, "Facebook is tried and tested by all at a personal level – so, it's almost an intuitive transition."

How did the launch go?

Airtel used Workplace live to announce the launch of Workplace. Over 1,000 employees across the country watched the announcement live and another 2,000 people caught up with the broadcast when Airtel later posted it on various Workplace groups.

Using a mobile-first platform to connect people without email has helped Airtel join everyone together for the first time

The result was really positive. As well as making a splash on launch day, the approach also helped Airtel use Workplace live broadcast as part of the regular drumbeat of daily work.

"It was really cool! We now do similar sessions whenever we have all our Circle Heads together in one place. It connects the team really well, seeing all their leaders in one place sharing the same vision."

How has it changed the way you work?

Using a mobile-first platform to connect people without email has helped Airtel join everyone together for the first time. And tools such as Workplace Chat help employees to talk to each other in new ways. Staff can choose video or voice chat and share heavy files which mean that their conversations are quicker and smarter. As Vani, says, "It's given a voice to the last person on the ground. It permits them to share their successes via rich and heavy media files."

And the result? Airtel is an organisation that is now, "more connected, faster and agile" than it was before.

How can we make Workplace better?

Vani and her team suggest that there are opportunities to make Workplace integrations even stronger. This would make onboarding new users easier and help support the exciting Workplace initiatives that Airtel are developing. Like hosting team contests with active, running leaderboards. And R&R programmes that use Workplace to help award badges and rewards to team members.

These are interesting plans and great suggestions. We say it a lot, but we get really excited by examples of how using Workplace is changing the way our customers work. We love to hear suggestions about how we can improve and make Workplace better. And we'll let you know about new integrations and product developments right here on the blog.

With thanks to Vani Venkatesh, CEO, Retail, Airtel Limited

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