Verhage is a Dutch quick-service franchise formula that has been around for more than 50 years. Verhage now has 42 branches, with more than 650 employees spread over the head office, their wholesaler, and the various restaurants.
We interviewed Kevin ter Maten, head of marketing at Verhage, to learn how using an Employee Experience Platform helps them connect, train, and engage all their employees.
What Employee Experience challenges were you facing before using Oneteam?
Before using Oneteam, we still sent physical newsletters to our various stakeholders, without having the possibility of interacting with them. We had no idea if anyone read it or if it was well-received. We once ran a test and added a note on page 4 of the newsletter saying that they would get a free box of fries if they responded. What do you think? We received just 2 responses from the 40 entrepreneurs. That says enough.
Furthermore, the resources we used were fragmented. For example, we had a Facebook group, our newsletter, Mailchimp for internal use, an A3 handout for the wholesaler, e-mail, and Whatsapp. In short, we used too many different channels and had virtually no interaction within the organization. In addition, we were printing masses of paper while sustainability is an increasingly important pillar within our organization.
How was this affecting your business?
The lack of interaction meant that we had no idea what impact our communication had. For example, if we launched a campaign or a new product, we did not know how the organization responded.
“What do the entrepreneurs actually think of the new product? Is something unclear about a campaign? Do the entrepreneurs themselves have any good ideas that they want to share? " We were left with many questions.
As a result, we started looking for a platform with which we could improve our communication and interaction with all employees. We also wanted to digitize our Verhage Academy for onboarding and training.
Why did you choose Oneteam?
Oneteam was the only solution that met our wishes and that enables internal communication, onboarding, and e-learning . It was important to us that this was all available on one platform. Besides a communication tool, we see Oneteam as a fundamental part of our academy.
How easy was it to implement Oneteam?
The implementation of Oneteam went very quickly, and although it might sound a bit weird, the COVID pandemic played an important role in this. When the pandemic started, we had to move quickly and communicate a lot. With Oneteam we were able to communicate in real-time with everyone in the organization, making it essential that everyone used the platform intensively. The use of Oneteam has now become so established that all our entrepreneurs are actively involved in the platform.
Who uses Oneteam within your organization?
Anyone involved with Verhage. First of all, we use the platform for internal communication at the office. In addition, all of our 650 employees use the platform, spread across the wholesaler, the franchise entrepreneurs, and of course our entire frontline workforce.
Do you see any improvements in employee engagement?
The difference is huge. We now have a professional environment in which we can communicate instantly with the franchise entrepreneurs, the wholesaler, and also among ourselves at our HQ. Where we previously had virtually no interaction, we now receive valuable feedback from across the organization. The frontline employees, who we normally could not involve in our day-to-day business, now also get a voice with Oneteam. We see that this leads to greater engagement and employee loyalty.
What other results have you seen so far?
With our physical newsletter, we had no idea if and by whom it was read and how it was received. Now we can see exactly who is reading the messages and we regularly receive dozens of responses, virtual high-fives, and valuable feedback from all over the organization. 100% of our franchise entrepreneurs use the platform on a daily basis and we also see that there are days where more than 70% of all employees are active on the platform. These insights underline the importance of the platform for our organization.
How does Oneteam contribute to the overall objectives of your organization?
This step forward ensures that our employees are better informed, become more engaged, and always stay up-to-date on the latest innovations. Previously the engagement was mainly at the location level, whereas this is now the case throughout the organization. Due to the higher involvement, we are already seeing that employee loyalty is increasing and turnover is decreasing.
We strive to train our frontline employees to become franchise entrepreneurs themselves through our Verhage Academy. Thanks to Oneteam, we can involve our frontline workforce in the organization from day 1 and help them become successful in their career.