In the A/E/C industry, most firms have a split of field employees and office personnel. The field personnel at Summit often refer to their truck as their office, and with that comes distractions and difficulties that office staff don’t have to deal with.
Between meeting client demands, dealing with weather conditions (currently extreme heat), navigating the potentially hazardous surroundings and much more, field personnel are up against a list of daily challenges that can make communication and connection difficult. On the flip side, you have the office team members or corporate office personnel working long hours to complete tasks like proposals, audits, and insurance compliance as well as finding new opportunities to support the organization in a completely different way from our field teams.
Each of these groups are working equally hard under circumstances that are unique to their environment, and creating a connection between the two can be a communication challenge. All challenges aside, one of the things that I love most about Summit and the A/E/C industry is the dynamic environment that we are a part of.
There will never be a one-size-fits-all approach to communication because of the diversity of the roles and responsibilities that make up our team. However, we recognized that we needed to find a way to keep our company connected.
Recently, we launched a company intranet to help build out our company community, connect our groups that spread out across the southeast, and provide our employees with an internal resource for important company information. Below is a list of ways that employees can use our intranet:
What excites me most about the intranet is building an online community for our employees. The more we grow the harder it is to stay connected. Giving our employees an opportunity to share what they are up to and what they’ve accomplished is a huge advantage of having a company intranet.
We started this project well before Coronavirus was an issue, and during this strange time where connection is difficult, I am so happy that employees now have a platform to share their voice.Bringing technology in-house isn’t hard but turning it into an engaging and vibrant space where everyone feels welcome and participates frequently is a challenge. At the end of the day it is going to take time for people to adjust to this new change, and like everything else this is not going to work for all of our employees. As always, we will have to adjust, adapt and be flexible with our team, but now more than ever I see the immense value in building our virtual company community.
How often do you use each of the following technologies at work? Percentage that use platforms at least weekly, by age.
It Encourages Collaboration and Connection Across Disciplines
It Promotes Transparent Communication
It Fosters Inclusion
It Encourages Innovation
As we continue to build this virtual space, it makes me think about what it means to build community. The definition of community is - a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals; and I would much rather see people I work with as a community and not just a group of co-workers. My hope is that through our virtual community (intranet) we can build strong connections between our office personnel and field personnel, break down communication barriers, and make our satellite offices feel connected and in the know. A company intranet will do nothing but strengthen our fellowship and help us reach our goals, and I’m excited to get the journey started!
Ginny Kirk Andrews
Ginny Kirk manages marketing and communications at Summit. She enjoys working with employees across the company to tell the Summit story, and strategizing innovative ways to tell that story. Her favorite part about working at Summit is that even after 3 years, she still feels like she learns something new everyday. Outside of work she enjoys spending as much time outside as possible, walking her dog and cooking.