With more than 45,000 employees serving 7 million members and clients, the Desjardins Group is North America’s largest federation of credit unions.
For years, Desjardins’ Vice-Présidence Accès D (VPAD) team knew that their organization was in need of a digital transformation to help them attract employees, improve staff collaboration and optimize day-to-day business operations. The organization set out on a journey to identify how and when they could successfully incorporate technology into their work environment to create a connected space conducive to collaboration, both amongst employees and between the employees and their workspace.
As the VPAD team continued to grow, the organization knew that a move was on the horizon. After having selected the Montreal Olympic Stadium tower as their new home, they decided the pending move was the perfect opportunity to kickstart their digital transformation.
Desjardins’ VPAD’s move to Olympic Stadium would require relocating approximately 1,200 employees from a former site and bringing hundreds of new hires along to a new building spanning seven floors with no assigned seating. With two thirds of the new office being comprised of call center staff and one third corporate staff, the company was committed to delivering a solution that spoke to the needs of both audiences while maintaining adherence to the company’s overall objective - to create a smart and connected workplace.
From the onset, Desjardins’ VPAD team recognized that in order for their efforts to be successful, it was imperative to have buy-in from all parties, including employees. They felt strongly that their employees needed to be active participants in shaping the move and creation of the company’s new employee app.
To kickstart a digital transformation to help attract employees and optimize day-to-day business operations
To create a connected workplace optimized for productivity
To create an environment that breaks down silos and encourages staff collaboration
With these objectives in mind, the VPAD team compiled a list of 55 app features they suspected would resonate with their employees. This list included features such as building automation (smart lighting, climate control, etc.), hot desking, geolocation features (friend finder) and space utilization visibility (desk occupancy detection). This list served as a starting point to solicit employee engagement and input through a series of focus groups. These efforts whittled the 55 features down to 23 and eventually to the twelve that would make up the new employee app, Espace 4141.
Desjardins’ VPAD team wanted everybody to share in the experience and feel like a part of the decision process by treating their employees like key project stakeholders. Furthering their collaborative approach, they created an experiential lab mimicking their new office space to test out different configurations and allow employees to aid in the selection of furnishings such as office chairs.
Engaging staff from the beginning helped to build excitement, secure technology adoption and started the cultural shift required for their digital transformation initiatives. It also helped project leaders identify the top app features that would both meet VPAD’s primary goals and speak to their employees’ needs. A common thread to all of the implemented app features was centered around the need for increased visibility and real-time location information.
Desjardins’ VPAD team partnered with Logient, an enterprise software engineering company that specializes in mobile application development and consulting, to build their new employee app which would incorporate indoor mapping, positioning and real-time location technology.
Technology and information architecture considerations were at the forefront throughout their vendor evaluation and selection process as Desjardins’ VPAD team and Logient sought out platforms that were open and agnostic for interoperability.
After a successful pilot in the Desjardins VPAD lab, Inpixon, reelyActive and a third-party indoor positioning provider were selected to turn their concept into a reality. Due to the technology-agnostic architecture of the selected vendors, Logient, the system integrator who was responsible for building the app, was able to easily and quickly build a powerful employee mobile application for Desjardins’ VPAD team.
A digital transformation is not just technology, it’s a culture change. It’s easy to invest in and implement technology, but when it comes to wide-scale adoption of new technologies, a fundamental culture shift is required."
Serge Bendahan, Senior Business Strategy Advisor | Desjardins
The new Desjardins VPAD employee app, available for both iOS and Android, launched in tandem with the move to their new office space. In less than six weeks of being in their new space, the company had achieved approximately 40% user adoption for the new employee app, and it continues to grow as staff settle into their new workspace. The overall user experience of the application plays a key role in the app’s success and can translate to greater data reliability and accuracy. Coupled with improved occupancy thresholds, the new Desjardins VPAD employee app drives ROI for the organization in the form of minimizing financial investment in physical real estate, regardless of headcount growth.
With impressive initial user adoption rates, Desjardins’ VPAD team knows that they must continue to innovate and develop new features to maintain users and the engagement of their employee app over time. One advantage of working with technology platforms is the ability to adapt and evolve over time. The VPAD team has a clear vision for how this project will continue to evolve in the future.
Looking to the near future, there are three main use cases to start with: indoor wayfinding for visitors and employees; integrated meeting room reservations; and third-party integrations with key systems for facilities management. At every turn, Desjardins’ VPAD team is looking to create meaningful change through their digital transformation process, aiming to remove friction and unnecessary technical processes, to make their app and employee experience seamless, efficient, and optimized to enable growth.