Employee Communication ~ 8 min

A Redesigned Digital Workplace for the 10,000 Employees of the Pierre Fabre Groupe

In order to contribute to the digital transformation of the Group, the communication teams chose to rethink Pierre Fabre’s internal communication tools.

Today, with thousands of internal news updates, employee contributions from the field, surveys and inspiring content pieces from the web, Blue Voice has become the “one stop shop” for information, perfectly integrated with the other Microsoft tools of the Pierre Fabre Digital Workplace.

pierre fabre success story

Pierre Fabre is a French pharmaceutical anddermo-cosmetic group created in 1962 and based in Castres, in the south of France.

Around the world, the group employs nearly 10,000 people in 43 subsidiaries, marketing medicines, family health products, and dermo-cosmetics. In 2021, the group had sales of €2.5 billion in 116 countries.

In recent years, like many companies in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics sectors, the Pierre Fabre Group has faced numerous challenges, which led it to undertake a profound transformation of its organization, starting with a new program in 2019.

pierre fabre success story

Objectives: to gain agility in the face of competitors and quickly return to profitable growth. And among the axes of this transformation, in addition to a refocused portfolio, the acceleration of patient orientation through digital tools was a priority.

To contribute to this digital transformation effort, the communication teams chose to rethink the Pierre Fabre Group’s internal communication strategy and tool kit. Anne de Warren, Director of Corporate Communications for the Pierre Fabre Group recalls,

We wanted to transform internal communication to make it better throughout the group.

More specifically, the Group wanted to develop a new approach to communication: more extensive, more inclusive, faster.

Uneven communication tools

Previously, there had been significant disparity in Pierre Fabre’s communication. Many people in the organization received little or no information. In concrete terms,

factory operators, logistics teams, medical sales representatives on the road and sometimes even an international subsidiary received unequal information from the Group,

says Stéphane Puyou, ComTech Manager for Pierre Fabre.

It wasn’t the same information, it wasn’t the same media, it wasn’t the same time frame. Sometimes, employees even found out about the Group’s news on external channels (mainly the Group’s social networks).

Internally, the existing tools offered limited agility and attractiveness:

  • A magazine published only 4 times a year
  • Paper publications dedicated to certain populations
  • Digital terminals on a handful of production sites
  • Different formats for each of these media – often long files, as demanding in their production as in their consultation

It was to confront these three fundamental communication challenges—digitalization, inclusiveness, and frequency—that the Pierre Fabre Group set out to find a modern, complete, and integrated communication tool for all of its employees.

For Stéphane Puyou, the new tool needed to complement the existing Microsoft digital workplace resources already offered to employees, namely Yammer “community” spaces and Teams project conversations.

When the new initiative was launched in 2020, Sociabble was a solution already known to the Pierre Fabre Group. Indeed, since 2018, Pierre Fabre had been using Sociabble in an Employee Advocacy capacity.

And while the scope and the number of existing users was much smaller than what the new internal communication project was aiming for, an awareness of the platform was already in place.

A mobile application, automatic translation, communication targeting, engagement functionalities—with its extended functional scope, Sociabble allows us tomove toward more innovative internal communication practices.

Stéphane Puyou ComTech manager Pierre Fabre

pierre fabre success story

The choice of accessibility, openness, and commitment

Beyond the functional potential, Sociabble’s technological innovations and robustness also convinced the Pierre Fabre IT Direction.

Following a rigorous selection process, Sociabble was chosen as the digital internal communication solution for all 10,000 employees worldwide. For Anne de Warren and Stéphane Puyou, there are four fundamental characteristics of Sociabble that were decisive in the selection:

Translation capabilities

Sociabble offers an integrated translation engine. It allows communication teams to create editable versions in all of the company’s spoken languages. Also, this feature helps users, who can get an automatic translation of all foreign language content with a single click.

Mobile first

Sociabble is a platform designed and accessible as a social application. All employees—with or without an email address—can consult the company’s content on their mobile phone or tablet, which is a major advantage for workers in factories, or medical visitors.

Engagement features

In an internal communication context, the possibilities of interaction inspired by social networks (liking, commenting, etc.) are decisive for the performance of messages, the dynamics of the company, and even the acceleration of business.

Targeting and personalization capabilities

In a group with multiple sectors and locations, communications to employees can quickly become overwhelming. By giving administrators and users alike the choice of topics that actually interest them, and of notification and solicitation methods, Sociabble reinforces the relevance and targeting of corporate information.

pierre fabre success story

Communication transformed in the first few weeks

In 2021, accompanied by Sociabble, the Pierre Fabre Group launched Blue Voice, its digital internal communication platform.

With the help of top management and a hundred or so “ambassador” users of the new platform in all countries, the communication and IT teams were able to offer immediate access to all employees.

In addition to the choice of relying on a diverse group of first-time users, Anne de Warren remembers the importance of launch-related communication. From the start, the choice was to highlight the benefits of the new communication platform:

It wasn’t so much about talking about the transformation, as about the actual real changes for employees.

For Stéphane Puyou, the structure and content offered from the beginning were in line with this:

“From the start, we chose to create channels offering information on all topics – HR, business lines, subsidaries, sites and not just corporate information, coming down from headquarters.”

In just a few weeks, Blue Voice radically changed the Pierre Fabre Group’s internal communication: more visual, more interactive, and more in line with users’ practices on their social networks. Instead of long files or articles that are not adapted to their needs, employees now find shorter publications, sequenced in series, and in episodes, over time. They also discover a much more local communication stream, reflecting news that’s close to them.

Organized into campaigns, Blue Voice’s content is now subject to extremely precise planning and performance monitoring in real-time, thanks to the countless analytic tools offered by Sociabble.

pierre fabre success story

Uninterrupted communication during a major cyber-attack

On March 31, 2021, despite a highly secure IT system, the Pierre Fabre Group suffered a cyber-attack with a ransom demand. As a precautionary measure and in accordance with its protocols, the company’s IT system was immediately put on standby to prevent the virus from spreading.

Due to the nature of Sociabble’s “Software as a Service,” Blue Voice, which had only just been deployed in the Group, was neither affected by the attack nor interrupted.

And it was on Blue Voice in fact, in a dedicated channel, that numerous announcements were made to employees: guidelines and best IT practices in infographics, and a Q&A accessible to all.

While many internal resources were still difficult to access, the situation in the weeks following the cyber-attack helped Blue Voice gain recognition and momentum.

Thanks to the consultation data accessible in real-time, the Communication Direction was able to check each day the state of knowledge and awareness among employees regarding instructions and updates.

pierre fabre success story

Enthusiastic usersand contributors

Finally, Blue Voice was an opportunity to streamline and improve the efficiency of content production:

For the internal and external communication teams, there are now many connections and simplifications, from the identification of topics, contacts and resources, to production,Anne de Warren

In addition, Blue Voice has contributed to a decentralization of content creation, with more autonomous contributors creating fresh content on a platform that is much easier to administer.

For administrators, the novelty and simplicity of Blue Voice generates a lot of energy and enthusiasm.Anne de Warren

Today, with thousands of internal news items, contributions from employees, surveys and inspiring content from the Group’s social Network, Blue Voice has become the go-to place for information. It is now the single point of entry for both corporate and local communications (site, plant, BU, department, etc).

Thanks to the relevance of its content, its targeting, its ability to aggregate numerous existing resources (both internal and external), and its native integration with Microsoft, the Pierre Fabre Group has chosen to make Blue Voice the default communication platform for all employees. From now on, each individual will find the information that matters most to them, in a single unified space, accessible from their mobile devices.

In the language of their choice, they can consult and engage with the Group’s news, as well as with the content published by their colleagues around the world. The success of this initiative has been clear: in 2021, 100% of registered users were active on the platform.

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