Creating “One Bouvet” across multiple locations

“Throughout 17 offices, two countries, and several regions, Slack is helping us be one Bouvet.”

Henriette HøyerDirector of Communications, Bouvet

Bouvet is a leading Scandinavian consultancy offering services in IT and digital communications, including technology and enterprise management. It supports private and public sector clients with digitalization and technological development, relying on a team of more than 2,000 employees scattered throughout 17 Norwegian and Swedish locations.

However, with clients and employees spread out over various regions, the company wanted to preserve and grow its culture. As a value-based organization, Bouvet needed one source of communication and information that would support its shared goals and vision.

“My priority was to have one platform where we all could collaborate, talk to each other, and share information,” says Henriette Høyer, Director of Communications at Bouvet. With Slack, Bouvet can connect its people, collaborate, and even create social links between employees in different regions.

“Slack is an important tool for our culture of sharing and for each employee to express their opinion. We have a flat structure and everyone talks to each other on the same level.”

Henriette HøyerDirector of Communications, Bouvet

Knitting one culture together

Building ‘one culture’ is crucial to Bouvet and improved communications play a huge role in achieving this goal. In fact, almost 1,600 active Slack channels are a testament to the fact that employees use them for social reasons as well as work. “There is even a knitting channel with knitting meetups,” comments Høyer. “We have the whole spectrum. It was really important to me that people could just thrive, start channels, and do whatever they needed, because that’s the social glue between our employees.”

Høyer uses this personal activity as an example of how people from different offices and regions can build and maintain relationships on Slack which develops into closer collaboration and original new ideas and projects. “It’s great that they actually talk to each other and are social in the same tool that we use to have job discussions,” she comments.

With Slack, people can more easily talk to each other across regions and countries, as it’s simpler for them to find each other. A designer in one office might have worked alone before, but now they have access to other designers throughout the company and can talk to them as much as their coworkers in their own office.

“Our ambition is to be a credible consultancy with the most satisfied employees and the most satisfied clients,” says Høyer. “This means we put employees first. With Slack everyone has the opportunity to share and talk to each other, and we’ve started seeing all these groups collaborate in new ways. Throughout 17 offices, two countries, and several regions, Slack is helping us be one Bouvet.”

Communication and collaboration across two countries

Interestingly, this story began after a technical server glitch prevented internal communications for a short time and many employees chose to adopt Slack as a fail-safe measure. “The decision was made to use Slack throughout the company then, and I saw how we could connect it to the intranet and build an ecosystem for information and collaboration,” says Høyer.

Høyer wanted the intranet to become the hub for finding information, be it related to employees’ jobs, finding specific colleagues, or simply asking questions. With this foundation of information, Slack channels provided a platform for interaction with the intranet. “Slack is our communication and collaboration tool, but despite all the active channels, employees are only required to follow five,” stresses Høyer.

These five main channels provide everyone with information about the company, local news, and IT updates, while offering them a chance to reach out for support. The company has also connected Slack to CMS, SharePoint, and HR platforms to create an even more closely linked environment. “Everything is pinged back to Slack,” comments Høyer. “When we post an article to our intranet, an automatic notification is sent to the related channel. It’s quite cool.”

This ecosystem played a big role when the pandemic hit and the culture of collaboration allowed for building teams across regions, finding the best people to serve clients remotely, and leaning on Slack Connect to communicate with them. It also resulted in more opportunities for the business that’s no longer tied to local talent.

Speeding up IT processes

The company IT is using Slack to improve its workflow, while a crowdsourcing channel allows employees to ask IT questions and get answers from colleagues before deciding to create a ticket. What’s more, one of the five main company channels is dedicated to IT and security. This is where announcements and new information are shared about policy changes, maintenance, security updates, and vulnerabilities people need to be aware of, making sure everyone in the company is up to date.

Jira, GitHub, and Coda integrations and Slack bots help streamline everyday tasks while user-built custom apps speed up processes. All these apps are user-focused and so easy to create that they are being built in large numbers by employees across the company. In fact, Bouvet even designed an approval process to manage the numbers.

Workflows also help resolve issues faster and more efficiently. For example, the team created an IT support workflow for situations when a high-priority question comes up or a ticket takes longer than it should. It gives employees a chance to create a “push” that is sent into the IT channel as a more urgent matter. Another workflow, created for the Jira integration, speaks to Bouvet’s focus on security. When people log a security incident, it pings a specific channel with several people dedicated just to this issue.

However, even for IT, the main benefits of Slack match the ones named by Høyer. “I think it’s simply collaboration,” says Basic. “And Slack also makes it easier to communicate information to people. We know if they’ve received updates.”

Innovation and play

Høyer plans to keep building on Slack and encourages the use of Canvas and Clips. But, in the meantime, the platform allows Bouvet to create a closer community that fosters relationships, communicates better, and collaborates more closely. It can be innovative and playful while enabling business growth. In fact, a group of designers and developers within the company created a game on the Intranet where people guess an employee’s name from their photo. They often recognize each other from Slack, even if they don’t work in the same office or area, and the game is an example of the drive of employees themselves to create a more connected environment.

Overall, one of the main points of pride for Bouvet is that employees are always informed and responsive, which means that news isn’t just shared but also discussed. There is always a conversation happening between employees and the company, as opposed to information being fed to people who aren’t engaging with it. Høyer and her team are also proud of the ability to “take the temperature” of the organization. It’s easier to know what people are concerned with, what makes them interested and engaged, and what worries them. A bigger organizational picture emerges thanks to Slack.

“We have very high employee satisfaction within Bouvet,” concludes Høyer. “We let people speak their minds and do things on their own. I think the freedom part of our values is really important within Slack. And I think that Slack, playing a big role in our internal strategy, is a part of that satisfaction.”