Connecting a globally dispersed and multilingual workforce

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Lincoln Electric shares strategies for seamlessly uniting 11,000 employees across 19 countries – and 13 languages.
LincolnElectric

As the world leader in arc welding and cutting, with a global network of manufacturing, distribution, sales, and technical support, Lincoln Electric is in the business of state-of-the-art solutions. So when it came time to upgrade from an intranet to an intelligent platform, they weren’t afraid to innovate.

In our latest webinar, Firstup Strategy Director Rey Bouknight spoke with Amanda Butler, VP of Investor Relations and Communications at Lincoln Electric, about how her “small but mighty” team led the roll-out of UpLinc, their custom-branded Firstup platform, in just 45 days from project kick-off to launch, transforming the way their globally dispersed and multilingual workforce communicates.

“[Before UpLinc] we had an intranet, but it narrowed the amount of stories we could tell, and the amount of communicators that could be engaged across our platform,” Amanda explained. 

“We knew we had a lot more stories to tell, and a lot more successes and recognition of our employees that we wanted to get across. We needed a better solution to help us do that.”

During their conversation, Rey and Amanda discussed the “secret sauce” behind Lincoln Electric’s company-wide adoption rate of 58%—impressive for such a large workforce of dispersed, largely deskless employees—and how enabling hundreds of ‘ambassador’ employees to take ownership on UpLinc has boosted company culture and broken down communication barriers.

Here’s just a teaser of the conversation:

Auto-translation: A powerful, inclusive tool

With an 11,000-strong workforce across 56 manufacturing plants in 19 countries, at least 13 languages are spoken among employees at Lincoln Electric.

“Before we were trapped in an English, Anglo communication system, which created a lot of intimidation for my colleagues for whom English might be their second, third, or fourth language,” explained Amanda. “Now our colleagues across the world are encouraged to publish in their home language, and everyone simply hits the ‘translate’ button to auto-translate into their native language.”

“This has opened the doors for storytelling from people who never would have before. How can you foster one company culture if all people aren’t able to share their stories? It’s a very inclusive tool.“

— Amanda Butler

Empowering employees

Crucial to the widespread adoption of the UpLinc platform, Amanda said, has been encouraging employees beyond the communications team to function as storytellers.

“That is one of the secrets to our success, the ‘secret sauce’ behind a very fast rollout, and the fast adoption rate—that we have employees all the way up to the leadership team who bolster the communication effort. This is only possible because of the ease of use of the platform.”

“Before UpLinc, only five people within our organization had the skills to upload a story. Now we have more than 350 content contributors or ambassadors who post on UpLinc. There is, of course, governance around that, but it has been a fantastic way to build camaraderie. Because of this platform, we’ve never been closer as a company, even though physically we’re separate.”

Are you ready to revolutionize how your company communicates? Be sure to watch the webinar to learn how Lincoln Electric has united its globally dispersed and diverse workforce with Firstup, a modern intranet solution that meets the needs of every worker, everywhere.

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Erin Van Der Meer

Erin Van Der Meer

Erin Van Der Meer is the Content Marketing Storyteller at Firstup, dedicated to telling customer stories that spark inspiration, action, and positive change. Prior to joining Firstup, Erin spent more than 10 years as a multi-platform journalist, writing for publications including The New York Times and The Daily Beast.

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