Seeking greater engagement with its workforce, company adds FUEL to the fire

Southern Company Gas’s far-flung workforce needed a better communication tool for employees. The team came up with a mobile app on a tight deadline—and now has won an award in the ‘Virtual Employee Engagement’ category of Ragan’s 2021 Employee Communications Awards.

Southern Company's intranet guidance

With more than 4,400 employees across multiple lines of business in Georgia, Illinois, Virginia, Tennessee and Texas, communication at Southern Company Gas has traditionally been through leader communication or emails.

Looking to innovate how it engaged with employees, the corporate communications team administered an employee communications survey to better understand employees’ preferences for receiving internal company news and information.

The corporate communications team deployed an internally developed mobile app in 2019. Though accepted by employees, the app was not robust enough to respond to employee feedback and promote two-way dialogue.

The company decided to launch FUEL, an employee communications platform designed to reach every employee, no matter their role, location or access to technology.

With a 120-day timeframe from concept to launch, the team spent more than 3,000 hours from planning to rollout. While several challenges were faced, including emails getting caught in spam folders and integrating with company network sign-on—allowing employees the option to access FUEL from company-issued or personal devices—these did not hinder the rollout.

From October 2019 to July 2020, employee engagement increased five percent since a previous employee survey, as indicated in a pulse survey completed in June 2020.

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