Communicating with Front-line Staff
Improving communications with 5,000+ drivers and front-line staff in the transportation industry
Over 60 years of operations, Pacific Western Transportation (PWT) has grown to become Canada’s largest privately-owned people transportation company. Each day, its 14 regional subsidiaries transport thousands of students, commuters, travellers and workforce in five Canadian provinces and territories. However, this scale and diversity of operations posed a communication challenge for the company: drivers and other frontline staff, who make up the majority of PWT’s 5,000+ employees, work remotely and had limited opportunity to interact with the parent organization.
“PWT is a large company with many subsidiaries, and in the past, our employees may not have been completely aware of its reach and involvement in a multitude of communities across Canada,” explains Amaira Hansen, Interim Communications Director at PWT.
Suspecting that the traditional communication channels were not effective at keeping everyone well-informed, Amaira’s team set out to reimagine its internal communication strategy to better reach ALL employees, regardless of where they were located.
Establishing a Communications Centre of Excellence at PWT was the first step to standardizing internal and external communications across the entire organization. But to be successful, PWT needed the right channel to get the message across to its front-line staff. “We looked for a mobile application that is simple and easy to use for all of our employees,” says Amaira. Sparrow’s familiar, newsfeed-style communication platform was a great fit.
To increase the overall awareness of the PWT brand amongst staff, the team focused their efforts on integrated communication. “We wanted to maintain consistent branding, so white-labelling the application was a must,” says Amaira. “Sparrow was the only platform that gave us this ability,” she adds.
Sparrow, renamed as “PWT InTouch”, was launched in April 2018. The platform helps keep the entire staff up-to-date on company-wide news, safety and maintenance programs, and career opportunities. Additionally, it allows the communications team to strengthen the sense of community within the PWT group by shining a spotlight at local initiatives and exemplary leadership at the subsidiary companies. “Since using Sparrow, we have seen an increase in overall inter-company awareness and engagement,” adds Amaira.
PWT’s reimagined communication strategy has garnered the attention of the bus transit industry. Six months after rolling out the application to its frontline staff, PWT was recognized nationally by the Canadian Urban Transit Association for excellence in marketing and communications.