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Dorel Juvenile intranet screenshot - homepage

Winner of My Beautiful Intranet 2014, Dorel Juvenile, makes top safety-rated car seats for children. Employees rally around a compelling mission, which the company’s social intranet helps to amplify. See a live tour of this intranet on October 7th.

Letter from Dorel Juvenile customer:

“We purchased the CabrioFix car seat prior to having our daughter who was born on 30th July 2013. We were recommended the car seat by the stockist (Babyland, Norwich).

I then [also] purchased from Amazon, the FamilyFix Isofix car seat base as I had had issues with my joints during pregnancy and it was recommended for ease lifting the baby in and out of our vehicle.

I am now writing to [say] what two incredible & essential items these are and how I cannot recommend them highly enough!!

Friday night we were traveling from Norfolk to see relatives in Cheshire when we were struck by a car at approx 90mph on the M56. The car struck the side where our 12wk old daughter was sat & I was sat in the front (near side) so took the full impact. We were dragged across the road into the crash barriers and spun across the road again into the oncoming fast lane traffic.

I dreaded opening the door post accident but, thanks to your amazing product, my daughter Ruby was safe & sound, and smiled at me as I grabbed her easily from the car base and ran to safety.

Thank you so much for making such an incredible product. It saved her life and this was seconded by the police and paramedics on the scene.

I have purchased both a new seat and base following the accident to travel back home as I will only ever trust your brand for life now!!!”

Dorel customer story 1 - social intranet screenshot with picture

Children matter, intranets don’t

I’m a parent and my worst nightmare is my daughters getting hurt badly. If you’re a parent, you likely share a similar fear. Every time I read the sentence above that starts “I dreaded opening the door…” I break out in a cold sweat.

Thankfully Ruby came out fine, due to the infant car seat that saved her life.

In the big scheme of things, what matters most is our family, our friends, the people we love. We want to take care of them and make this world a better place for them, along with all the children and families out there.

The intranet? Peanuts compared to what really matters. As I write this, I can’t wait to see my girls when they get home and squeeze them tight.

Social intranets, meaning and connection

At DWG we research, write and speak about how to measure social intranets (known alternately as “enterprise social networks (ESN)”, “social business”, “internal social media”, etc.) and how to demonstrate value, among other things.

But the big secret is this: in the right corporate environment and context, a social intranet’s value is too broad and deep to measure. A social intranet can turn the dry and impersonal online ecosystem of a company into a rich, vibrant community space. A social intranet makes employees’ online experience of work more human, more connected, more meaningful. HR people call it “employee engagement”, but it really comes down to making work a fundamentally positive and humanistic environment.

And social intranets tend to thrive most where there is an organizational mission that really matters to the people who work there. At organizations where culture aligns with a meaningful mission, a social intranet becomes the online glue that bonds people together and to the company. But that, my friends, is hard to measure.

Connecting to each other and the mission at Dorel Juvenile

Dorel Juvenile Europe won the My Beautiful Intranet 2014 competition (why Dorel Juvenile won). The company offers a number of popular child safety brands, including top-rated car seats from Maxi-Cosi.

Dorel Juvenile intranet screenshot - homepage

According to Marlou Kessles, Corporate Communications Consultant at Dorel Juvenile Europe, people at the company feel strongly about the mission. Many are parents and all believe in the company’s motto of “Care for precious life”.

For Dorel, the move to a social intranet, which launched in May 2013, was obviously a good choice. The company’s culture seemed to align with the idea, executives supported the project, and a powerful corporate mission provided a strong focal point.

Social intranets and cultural fit

While “social” seems to be the de facto direction for any new intranet these days, the issue of cultural fit still carries a lot of weight. Fortunately for Dorel Juvenile, the cultural stars aligned.

According to Marlou, “The company leadership has been supportive. I did lots of presentations to the management team and they were very supportive. We have an open and informal company culture and the social intranet fits in with our values.”

Importantly, the Corporate Communications department felt strongly about the need as well. Marlou told me that “social media tools offered opportunities for many-to-many communications and transparency. We wanted to bring in social media tools internally. Corporate Communications leadership wanted a social intranet to fit a very dynamic company that had lots of new brands recently acquired. We wanted to engage those people with one platform, one social site.”

Social intranet for sharing customer stories

Dorel customer story 2 - social intranet screenshot

One very specific way in which Dorel Juvenile has used its social intranet to connect people to each other and the mission is by sharing customer stories, such as the ones at the start of this article. Dorel Juvenile’s social intranet helps people connect directly to the company mission and to their customers.

A social intranet makes the sharing of these stories more informal and organic. Of course, the Corporate Communications department can write and publish similar stories on a traditional intranet but those stories can lose some of their power through being too polished and manufactured. On a social intranet, people can easily connect with the author, make comments and share the story – and it all feels more authentic.

Social intranet for recognition

Dorel Juvenile also uses its social intranet for employee recognition. Plenty of research has shown that employee recognition can go a long way towards creating a positive work environment.

Social intranets provide an excellent opportunity for open recognition, from the top as well as from any colleague.

Marlou offered two stories illustrating how the Dorel Juvenile intranet has been used for employee recognition. First, she recounted: “We had a big ERP (enterprise resource planning) go-live last week. The ICT director posted on In-Touch (which is the name of Dorel Juvenile’s social intranet): ‘Congrats to the team, nice work, happy to see it go live.’”

Similarly, Dorel Juvenile recently won an award for its 2way Family car seat base. This innovation works with both infant and toddler car seats, in response to EU legislation that has raised the size of children required to sit in rear-facing car seats. The CEO turned to the intranet to publicly and personally congratulate the product team, demonstrating both leadership in use of the platform and the company’s recognition culture. .

Having a social intranet like Dorel Juvenile’s makes this recognition very easy to give out in the open, contributing to what ultimately matters: a culture of giving thanks and acknowledging people’s efforts.

Powerful missions and cultures drive strong social intranets

Yes, social intranets can be used to streamline team collaboration, foster innovation, improve business processes and drive revenue. But their basic acceptance into a company may rely as much on corporate culture as intranet strategy.

One thing is clear: if your company has a mission that people are excited about and an open culture, then a social intranet has the potential to strengthen and amplify everything good about what you do.

I mean, how cool must a company be to come up with a concept like this:

This fun stroller prototype is produced by Quinny, one of the brands that Dorel Juvenile owns.


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About the author

Ephraim Freed, Communications Manager for the Digital Workplace Group (DWG)Ephraim Freed is a communicator and self-proclaimed “intranet nerd”.

Ephraim works at Riot Games now, but previously worked at DWG overseeing marketing, facilitating in-person & online member events and hosting our monthly webinar, Digital Workplace Live.

Prior to that, as a writer and professional services consultant for social intranet software company, ThoughtFarmer and managed internal communications and launched a social intranet at Oxfam America.

In his spare time Ephraim raises his two baby girls, goes trail running and plays many sports with great mediocrity.

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