How Boeing elevated their digital employee experience

Boeing Blog
Picture of Nicole Alvino
Nicole Alvino

In our latest webinar, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Randy Liss, the communicator charged with overseeing the strategy and operations of Boeing’s workforce communications platform, Boeing News Now (BNN), powered by FirstUp. BNN is the main vehicle for news and information for the entire workforce. 

We discussed the concept of the digital employee experience and what this looks like for large organizations like Boeing. We know that organizations are more complex now than ever before. Many are tasked with reaching and engaging with multi-generational, global, remote workforces, which can result in inefficient ecosystems for the business and oftentimes a poor employee experience. In fact, research shows that in general, employees are frustrated with their existing digital employee experience, with 80% of frontline workers feeling less aligned and productive.

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As the largest aerospace company in the world, with over 145,000+ employees across 150 countries, Boeing understood that it would be no small feat to transform their digital employee experience

Watch the recording of the webinar here

How they built this

Boeing’s first introduction to Firstup was in 2015, when the chief communications officer at the time was set on truly reaching the frontline—the people working in plants, building planes, helping to drive their culture. Before Firstup, Boeing employees relied on a homebuilt intranet homepage that frontline employees could access only through shared workstations, as well as a weekly newsletter from a separate platform. Overall, this resulted in disparate systems for employees to access, difficulties training publishers across platforms, and scattered analytics. 

“To say it was disconnected is not even doing it justice,” says Randy Liss, Boeing Communications, managing these processes at the time. “The engagement wasn’t where we wanted it…we needed to be able to communicate with folks in their own language, and our intranet was running the course of its life. We knew we needed to transform.”

After initially focusing heavily on mobile, Randy’s team shifted toward a more multi-channel digital employee experience. The Boeing team began to strategize how they might optimize their partnership with Firstup by taking advantage of channels beyond just mobile, like email, desktop, and BNN information displayed across other systems employees spend time on. Ensuring that employees were receiving the targeted news and information that was relevant to them, on channels that were convenient for them to access. 


What’s working now 

In any given month, about 70% of the workforce visit Boeing News Now across desktop, email, and mobile—demonstrating Boeing’s success at bringing employees relevant news and information on the channels they prefer, rather than forcing them to come to one place.

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The entire organization has taken to BNN as their vessel for the digital employee experience, with different departments such as HR and business transformation units owning their channels’ strategy and content. BNN also includes several targeted, local channels, focused on sites in the U.S. as well as country specific channels, like Australia and China. This approach ensures that the organization shares relevant news to each employee, without the need to spam out every piece of information to the entire workforce. 

This personalized approach is paying off, with skyrocketing employee feedback and engagement. BNN allows a level of transparency that Boeing was unable to achieve in the past, with employee comments helping to elevate the story and drive the company culture. 

“We saw an employee had commented on our annual incentives post with the idea that part of their bonus might go to the folks working on the frontline everyday, wearing masks,” Randy recalls. “We saw over 200 responses to that comment alone. It’s really heartwarming and makes our large company feel like a tight-knit community.” 

The other critical piece to Boeing’s success was that they finally had a single place to manage their workforce communications. Randy emphasizes: “Firstup calls this concept mission control, but I like to call it uber efficiency. It’s all in one place, where you can plan your content, publish your content, analyze your content.” 

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Having one place to publish and manage your workforce communications also ensures that the organization is receiving powerful, unified metrics, that as Randy says, are “helping change the conversation around performance of content, helping people set goals, and really focusing on what we want to accomplish with our strategy.” 

Where they’re going 

As they move forward with their modern digital employee experience, Boeing will be looking to continue their targeted approach, with rollouts of new channels across the globe, building off the success of channels like Australia and China. 

They’ll also renew their focus on frontline employees with mobile access – exploring how they can leverage the power of Assistant and sync to their other enterprise systems. As Boeing ties the digital employee experience together, Randy’s goal is to make BNN “a place where our employees can come to check the news that they need to know, but also submit their timesheet, see how many vacation days they have, all within the BNN platform.”

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FirstUp Assistant—Providing utility and access to your enterprise systems

What was Randy’s advice for any organization looking to achieve new levels of their digital employee experience? “Make sure that you have high goals. Don’t limit yourself and your abilities as communicators. Engage your stakeholders early. This platform can really help drive the business forward.” 

The sky’s the limit with Boeing, and we’re thrilled with our partnership to date and what’s to come.

Watch the full webinar here

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