Phillips 66

 | Case Study

Harnessing the power of machine learning

Growing engagement with intelligent content delivery

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How it started

When 'right now' isn't always right

For Phillips 66, a diversified energy manufacturing and logistics company headquartered in Houston, Texas, with 12 oil refineries and other facilities around the world, employees working across many different time zones and shift patterns meant that a company-wide communication sent at 3pm in Houston would, for many, arrive at an inconvenient hour, only to get lost in a sea of digital noise.

Since 2018, when Phillips 66 launched MyRoute, its custom-branded Firstup intelligent communication platform, the company had been reaching its 12,000-strong workforce in a more targeted, personalized way. But, the data showed, there was still more work to do to ensure each employee received company communications at a time they were most likely to be engaged.

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Where they landed

Fueling change with Engagement Boost

Phillips 66 utilized Engagement Boost, a feature of Firstup Orchestration that uses machine learning to enable intelligent content delivery. Rather than blasting a message to every employee at the same time, Engagement Boost intelligently serves notifications to each user based on a personalized formula that factors in their preferred format, as well as the time of the day or week they are most engaged.

For example, if an employee is already set to receive a number of updates on Monday, but none on Tuesday, Engagement Boost will hold fire on any non-critical updates until Tuesday, when the employee is more likely to open and engage with the message.

Phillips 66 saw impressive results after turning on the Engagement Boost function – engagement rates at some of their facilities doubled.

In a recent interview, Laurie Madden, Senior Advisor, Corporate Communications at Phillips 66 explained, “Our initial thinking was, ‘we need to send an email on Tuesday at 3 pm to everyone’. But when asked ‘why?’, I couldn’t come up with a good answer. It made me step back and re-evaluate my thought process around how we send communications. Is there a smarter way to share these?”

While some messages are critical or timely, many are not – “right now” isn’t always right. To avoid digital fatigue among employees, and increase engagement, it is crucial that internal communicators and HR leaders understand the difference.


Phillips 66

Phillips 66 manufactures, transports, and markets products that drive the global economy. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, with 12,200 employees spread across more than 12 oil refineries and other facilities around the globe, the diversified energy company’s portfolio includes Midstream, Chemicals, Refining, and Marketing and Specialties businesses. Phillips 66’s diverse and dispersed workforce is committed to safely and reliably providing energy and improving lives while pursuing a lower-carbon future.
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