Reaching frontline employees through positive and compelling content

AGCO Frontline
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Recently, PRWeek held its second Corporate and Public Affairs Summit, which featured leading experts discussing how to tackle some of the biggest challenges comms and PR teams face in their role today. Managing the delivery of effective ESG communications, maintaining reputation, and winning stakeholder trust continue to be the key challenges facing this profession. The successful event left attendees equipped with the tools they need to get ahead of the curve, with confident communications planning and effective execution.

This year Firstup was involved in the PRWeek event with Rupert Coghlan, Principal Solutions Consultant EMEA hosting the event alongside Rick Gutteridge, Founder and Managing Director, Smoking Gun.

Early in the event, Rupert was joined by Philippa Weare, Internal Communication and Culture Manager, Grain & Protein at AGCO Corporation for a fireside chat on ‘Walking the Talk’ and how reaching frontline employees through positive and compelling content can enhance engagement and culture. Below is a recap into what was discussed and just some of the advice given. Watch the full conversation on-demand.

Effective communications 

Philipa believes “having an inclusive platform that is designed with your end-user in mind is really important and giving employees a voice within a company is equally important. Just a simple thank you for recognition goes a long way, especially during these very troubling times.” Philippa Weare went on to explain how at AGCO it’s about having some fun and ‘spreading the joy’ among their employees. She notes there is a balance to doing this but she felt it was about getting the balance right. Here are some insights and ideas as to how to do this:

  • Use gamification as an engagement tool 
  • Add lots of different icons and surprises for employees
  • Have podcasts available on online internal platforms to help achieve greater engagement with employees
  • Introduce a recognition program  – so when an employee is given an award, for example, it is posted on a channel by their manager where everyone can see it and comment on it. 
  • Show employees how interactive they can be, not only with their colleagues but also with their management.  This will give them a greater sense of inclusion and recognition. 

One of the most important gifts that can be given to employees right now is time and AGCO supports this by looking at ways they can give time back to their employees, and promoting it through the organization.

“Great Resignation movement is, of course, a huge factor for us at the moment, but we have a compelling new pilot management program that has just been developed and lots of other exciting stuff in the pipeline that works towards the goal of lowering attrition rates.”

— Philippa Weare, AGCO Corporation

Digital transformation 

Phillipa feels that engagement comes down to analytics. She says, “It’s easy to look at the front end and see where the ‘comments’ and ‘likes’ are coming from but it’s also about actually going into the backend and seeing what is really working and what new and exciting things can be done to stop people getting tired and bored. AGCO has for example focused on virtual events and trying to be more interactive and is constantly trying out new strategic ideas to help engage the entire workforce.”

AGCO has a team based in the USA and in the UK but they took the strategic decision to consolidate the number of channels they had because they were constantly battling to get their voice heard and they needed something that would be inclusive and that would enable the company to really connect with frontline workers for the first time. AGCO has approximately 4,000 employees, out of those 1,500 are office-based and 2,500 are factory-based, so the company has to find strategies to try and be able to communicate with everyone across the entire organization, which is why they looked to Firstup for help.

“The first thing we did was come up with a collective name for the whole organization, which is ‘Our Field’, a brilliant analogy given their business is where we develop ideas and watch them grow. We started with office worker participation and are now currently at approximately 70%, which is fantastic news! AGCO has recently started on factory worker engagement, but they are looking at another tactic and strategy around it that will drive this.”

— Philippa Weare, AGCO Corporation

Firstup analytics has enabled AGCO to see what sort of content is landing where and when, but more importantly, what the engagement levels are. AGCO has the ability to have all the information they need along with what they call ‘target equipment’ and they now have lots of different tactics that they can use to drive engagement moving forward.

Meaningful content 

Giving user-generated content is a big thing. It’s that ability to actually present information down to compelling content. People are generally nosy by nature, Philippa commented “to be a good communicator, one has to be nosy and want to know everything and anything that is going on and what it’s all about”. AGCO has recently been trialing podcasts from their senior leaders and they have found that employees WANT to know what they are doing and want to know what the podcasts are all about? They have found that the Firstup platform actually does let employees know that their voice IS being heard.

The AGCO CEO is on the platform and he is looking particularly at content that is celebrating the achievements of employees, which is so important. But alongside this AGCO look at the holy grail of their work model, which is their employees. So looking at the local information which gives such an interesting status; for example company social board, the canteen menu for the week, shift patterns, as well as celebrating achievements of employees. 

The culture of AGCO, as Philipa explained a few times, is massively important and they run regular fireside chats with CEOs in Grain and Protein to ensure that any issues are discussed and employees are involved. Philipa said, “it’s about giving communications back to employees and about inviting them to contribute with what they want to share”. 

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