Pizza Pilgrims’ award-winning Workplace from Meta launch
Since starting out as a van selling Neopolitan-style pizza on Berwick Street Market in London, Pizza Pilgrims has gained an enormous loyal customer base and now operates 14 locations in London and Oxford.
Communication had been a challenge at Pizza Pilgrims for a long time, particularly their difficulties communicating directly with their frontline workforce – none of whom have corporate email addresses, and many were dependent on WhatsApp groups for company information.
Early 2020 saw Pizza Pilgrims respond to Covid-19, and the national lockdown, with innovation. Their hugely successful “Pizza In the Post” DIY pizza kit delivery garnered the attention of national media and went viral on social media. At the same time, they were innovating within the team too – and the onset of the pandemic saw Pizza Pilgrims turn to Cocentric and Workplace from Meta to bring their people closer together.
Working with Cocentric Pizza Pilgrims were looking to:
- Rapidly launch Workplace within a six-week timeframe.
- Onboard teams ASAP to communicate the constantly-evolving business demands in response to Covid-19.
- Completely reframe company comms on Workplace, rather than WhatsApp.
- Strengthen the company culture and community throughout furlough.
- Retrain and redeploy teams to their restaurants post-lockdown.
The launch plan was ambitious and would have to be completed completely virtually. Absolutely vital to the plan was ensuring high adoption and engagement with their teams from the outset. Second was to plan a number of Workplace-exclusive events to drive the platform as the central point for company comms and where culture could thrive. Finally, they wanted to ensure seamless synchronisation of employee data between RotaReady, their HR system, and Workplace.
Pizza Pilgrims embarked on their launch plan in July 2020.
- All project management was completed remotely, on Workplace.
- A Comms Plan was developed to include the entire team – from The Pizzabase (HQ) to the frontline.
- Launch ideas and early workshops took place on Zoom with key teams.
- 30 Workplace Champions were chosen from the frontline team to promote the launch and the benefits to their teammates.
- Branded launch pack sent to the team in advance.
Workplace is now the core operational and engagement tool at Pizza Pilgrims. The whole company lives and breathes on the platform – and most of all, the fantastic Pizza Pilgrims culture has not only survived through the pandemic, but thrived thanks to Workplace.
The launch itself was a huge success – with 83% of the team on Workplace now, 89% of whom are active weekly. Founders Thom and Jamie James launched Workplace with a livestreamed “Slice News” broadcast, and now Slice News video updates from the two have become the norm within company comms.
On launch day, all email-less employees were able to use the Cocentric Activation Portal to seamlessly claim their Workplace accounts using just their date of birth and employee ID. Upon joining, they had access to Workplace Groups and communities pre-populated by restaurant or location, thanks to Connect by Cocentric and the RotaReady integration.
Team members also found themselves allocated to one of four Pizza Pilgrims Houses (Mozzarella, Basil, Flour, Tomato) in which competitions and contests had been arranged. Two popular groups have been ‘Happiness Days’ – a once in-person Pizza Pilgrims initiative that has turned virtual to celebrate what they get up to and what drives each team members happiness , and ‘Ideas Matter’, a place to share people’s thoughts and opinions on what would make Pizza Pilgrims better for everyone.
Since launch, numerous benefits have been seen. The complicated process of reopening their restaurants post-lockdown, and redeploying and training employees was achieved quickly and efficiently thanks to Workplace. Their Supplier Issues group has become a gamechanger for inter-restaurant comms, and at their pizzerias, all intra-restaurant comms takes place within groups for each location.
The L&D team have created a thriving ‘Training Hub’ where all things learning are discussed and teams are encouraged to share their own learning tips with their peers, there is an apprenticeship Workplace Multi-Company Group with their external training apprenticeship training partner to continue people’s personal development in the current environment and an informative ‘Wellness Hub’ that shares hints and tips to ensure team members are looking after themselves and each other.
Pizza Pilgrims won the 2020 Workplace from Meta Award for Small to Medium Business Excellence.
Recognising the contribution of Small to Medium Businesses, the award celebrates Pizza Pilgrims for their Workplace launch in six weeks during Covid. They have has become a better connected organisation, with Workplace the core operational and engagement tool – bringing the team together.
“As a company running pizzerias all across London and Oxford – the vast majority of our team are not based at a desk, and are across a number of locations. This means that many of them do not check email (who can blame them!) and that sporadic WhatsApp (and an Aladdin’s cave of obscure and defunct WhatsApp groups) reigned.
All in all, Workplace has been transformational for Pizza Pilgrims – and looking forward to finding new ways to use it to engage our teams.”– Thom Elliot, Co-Founder, Pizza Pilgrims
Meta Workplace has therefore been a revelation for us. We have a clear structure of groups that link to our HR system – so that if peoples location or role changes so does their “Workplace community”. We have seen engagement around company initiatives – and just the sharing of positive stories during lockdown – go through the roof. As founder – I also love that I can contact any member of the team direct for a “thank you” or a “well done” – which was impossible before.
Oh – and most important – you can turn Workplace on when you head off to Blackpool on Holiday, and not have all your work chat clogging up your WhatsApp.