The importance of communication

6 countries are online: Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands.
Over 18,000 employees access Aconnect
"Afuture" Group section dedicated to sustainability
Video messages from the management on the Group's strategy and results
A file archive including procedures, manuals and services for the network 

Communications at Autogrill are developed using different tools, including Aconnect (the Group intranet), management roadshows on the sales network and the traditional newsletters and notice boards. In 2012 a new email system, Google Gmail, was adopted in Europe, that can be accessed from any device and offers a series of innovative and useful collaboration and sharing services which radically changed the way people work.

Aconnect is the Group’s web-based intranet portal.

Aconnect enabled the conversion and integration of traditional services and systems to web-based solutions that profoundly changed the style and effectiveness of its internal communication as well as some business processes.

The immediate availability of policies and continuously updated organization charts, organizational communications and news about the business make it a particularly effective working tool. Furthermore, Aconnect plays an important role in the process of integration of the company’s sectors of activity in different countries and working environments. Its implementation has contributed to remarkably reducing the distance between colleagues operating in the countries in which the Group operates, between functions, headquarters and the network, and enabling the sharing of best practices and the exchange of opinions and values.

Thanks to the launch of a weekly electronic newsletter (including a summary of news regarding the Group and local information), Aconnect provided the possibility of updating all European employees at the same time. To help people obtain information and increase the transparency of the relationship between the company and its employees, Aconnect offers a series of services that were not easily accessible in the past, like, for instance, online training, FAQ on human resources management, online badge and payroll (for the time being only available in Italy with remarkable savings in terms of paper), and a continuously updated welfare area. More in general, the dissemination of Aconnect progressively decreased the use of traditional house organs (including printed newsletters), thus reducing paper consumption and emissions associated with their distribution.

On Aconnect, column
      “our business,
our future, our role” 

An integral part of the action plan resulting from the analysis of the outcomes derived from the "Do you feel good" 2012 survey, the portal was enriched at the Group level with a section called "Our business, our future, our role", containing video interviews and messages from the management on the organization, strategy and business to help employees understand changes and better react to the current context.

In Italy, the column "We, Week by Week" was launched in January 2013 in the Italian section of Aconnect. In a moment in which the market requires speed, fast responses, ability to innovate and ongoing renewal, Aconnect enables the Company to remain in contact with all of its employees transparently and directly. Every week interviews, messages, and hints are uploaded in this space to keep getting better day by day, based on the priorities of the week.

An important example of leaner and more effective corporate communication is that of Autogrill Spain, which developed the profile of Internal Communication Ambassador in the stores. Over eighty collaborators operate in stores scattered throughout Spain, with superior skills in communications and the use of new technology.

They represent a precious contribution, ensuring that information and instructions circulated from the central offices are properly received. They stimulate the participation of all the collaborators, provide additional opportunities for professional development and, last but not least, ensure effective two-way communication, thus facilitating the dialogue between the stores and headquarters.

Also in Spain, in recent years, an initiative was launched involving the collaborators at headquarters, in order to promote a stimulating work environment and improve performance and engagement. The Imagination Desk is composed of a team of volunteers who submit proposals to the executive committee regarding initiatives that, when approved, are implemented by the same.

The issues on which the team concentrates are:

  • voluntary collaboration of employees with Non- Governmental Organizations; 
  • new look for employee break areas; 
  • group birthday parties in break areas for people born in a given month; search for discounts for employees and their families.

In the United States, HMSHost offers an intranet network that employees can access to write comments or report problems. HMSHost intranet also features a dedicated, always accessible page where employees can post ads or news about the Company. Moreover, many central departments have developed newsletters about their activities.

These newsletters are emailed to all collaborators and are also posted on the Company’s website.

Lastly, another integral part of the action plan resulting from the analysis of the outcomes derived from the "Do you feel good" 2012 survey, a project was also launched for the updating and communication of Autogrill's Mission, Vision and Values, to re-focus on the Group identity, especially in this moment of radical change. The communication plan and sharing project will be further pursued in 2014.