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Case study: Weight Watchers

Supplier: Professional Advantage
22 August, 2012

Weight Watchers is the most successful weight-loss organisation in Australia and New Zealand.

For almost fifty years the company's focus on education and support has proven to be a winning recipe with consumers seeking a healthier body weight.

Aware of the importance of easy, accessible communication with clients, Weight Watchers provides support across a range of channels including telephone, online, face-to-face meetings and retail centres. It also offers tailored corporate health solutions, and maintains publishing and food licensing businesses.

Communication among geographically dispersed staff

Within Australia and New Zealand, Weight Watchers has approximately 140 corporate staff while out in the field it employs almost 700 weight-loss consultants and 1,500 support staff. For some years a global intranet has been one of the company's key tools for keeping all staff in touch with the latest company news and information.

A local initiative however, identified a number of opportunities to improve internal communications processes for corporate employees.

Declan Coady, Weight Watchers' Director for HR and Training explains: "We have around 80 staff in an office in Broadway [Sydney] and another 60 or so spread out across Australia and New Zealand.

"We found there was little focus on communications for corporate employees, and much of what did exist was fragmented and inconsistent. There were lots of bits of paper floating around and a large volume of emails being sent out but there was no one source to turn to for information or updates."

A corporate staff engagement survey confirmed the problem.

"Communications were identified in the survey as something that needed to be worked on," he said.

"People wanted to have a better view of what the executive team was up to. We offer lots of career opportunities for staff but they were saying they didn't know when vacancies were coming up."

At around the same time, management was also looking for a way to centralise access to policy and procedure documents. In line with compliance requirements for all U.S. listed companies, Weight Watchers had to ensure fast, easy access to current policies and procedures.

As Declan points out: "This was a problem when we had paper files on peoples' desks as you could never be sure what version they were looking at."

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