As you'd imagine, staff at Dick Smith have a real passion for technology. They not only want to keep customers up-to-date with the latest innovations and gadgets — they want to use them too! This is key to our culture and as our company evolves we want to ensure that our highly mobile, tech savvy workforce have the flexibility to work in ways which suit them.
With more than 4,500 staff in 323 stores across Australia and New Zealand, we have a lot of people to communicate with. It’s always been hard for us to keep in touch with casual staff who make up a significant portion of our workforce, as they don’t have corporate issued devices or email accounts. And even with our permanent staff, our IT team has grappled with managing the rise of personal mobile devices at work. We have also been looking for ways to improve collaboration because, until now, communication in stores has been a hierarchical one-way process through the manager.  

When we looked for solutions to these challenges, we decided on Google because it was a great cultural fit, as well as being intuitive, easy to maintain and packed with features.One of the best things about everyone having a Google account is that all our staff will now have IT identities so we can communicate with them and they can be involved. And as many of our staff already use Gmail as their personal email, the training time is really minimal.
The sharing and collaboration features built into Google Apps and Google Docs in particular are a real plus too. Now it doesn't matter if our teams are in Sydney or Wellington, they'll be able to share and collaborate on documents in real-time, faster and more easily than ever before.
Building community and fostering a collaborative culture is another significant benefit of going Google. We’re looking forward to using Google forms to get staff feedback and comments via regular staff engagement surveys and the integration of YouTube videos means that when our CEO has an important announcement we can record this for all our staff to review at a time that suits them. This is a great way to overcome some of the logistical challenges of having a casual workforce working across different time zones.
We’re excited about extending this approach to our interaction with suppliers and partners and will use Google Hangouts to reduce the time and cost of travel so our people can get on with running our business.

Guest post by Linda Venables, Director of IT, Dick Smith