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Communicating with the entire workforce, from the c-suite to the manufacturing floor

When Rich’s first began their digital workplace transformation project,the goal was to enable better communication with the entire workforce.

A static SharePoint intranet was not enough to deliver the type of experience the organization wanted for their associates.

To ensure that the right teams were able to get the right information to each of the distinct audiences in the company, Rich’s needed a modern intranet that was always on, and that was available from any location and on any device.

Robin Melancon, the director of the Associate Digital Experience group and Jill Davison, the vice president of Business Process, teamed up to build a task force with cross-functional representation to tackle the problem. Together with Akumina, they built Enrich Cafe, which is a one-stop-shop for all of the tools their users need.

Everything was migrated to Office 365, and the Rich’s associates are making use of Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, and Power Apps to author (and co-author) communications for the entire organization.

Rich Products Corporation is a family-owned company with a global reach. The Rich’s team is 11,000+ associates strong, operating in more than 100 countries worldwide with a vast portfolio of innovative food products spanning from icing and cakes to seafood and pizza, and more.

A single visit to the Rich’s web site is enough to show the value the organization places on serving families, associates, customers, and communities. Rich’s partnered with Akumina because they wanted to better help each of their associates do their job faster and better every day. They knew they needed a robust platform to deliver the kind of experience they wanted. So the HR and IT teams at Rich’s partnered with Akumina to build their engaging, mobile-first, modern intranet that would be available to all associates from any location, on any device, at any time.


“"If you talk about the “plant of the future,” there’s going to be a need for technology to get into the hands of those who traditionally didn’t have access to it. We’re thinking about how we share information with those associates, pull them into the world of what’s really happening at Rich’s, and create a better experience for them.”"

Robin Melancon | Director, Digital Associate Experience, Rich's Products Corporation

Q&A with Rich Products Corporation

Robin Melancon, director, digital associate experience

The main challenge we wanted to address at Rich’s was around communication. We started with a static SharePoint site that was cumbersome to update, and we couldn’t deliver targeted messaging to specific audiences. We set out to build a role based portal to facilitate communications needs. The communications team wanted to be more efficient and effective; to do podcasts and videos, and share information more dynamically than the existing static way. They also wanted analytics on what people were reading, what they weren’t reading, and what they should be reading. We have a variety of associate types at Rich’s, from traditional knowledge workers to frontline staff on the manufacturing floor. Each audience has a specific set of communication needs. And we wanted to build a more dynamic communication system for everyone.

While we started by focusing more on communications, the more we learned from our associates the more my HR counterpart, Jill, and I both realized that we could go a step further and provide a real game changer for the organization. So we set out to build a portal that was all about dynamic communications, and we thought about the best way to pull in and streamline those tools that people use to do their jobs every day. We wanted to create what we call a “one stop shop,” a digital hub where everything lives and that serves as the jumping point to your day. We really felt we could make it easier for people do their jobs, and boost productivity gains with this solution. So that’s our “north star,” and we’re working toward that every day.

That’s a great question. One of the first or second digital workplace conferences that we went to, when we were going to sessions, we’d hear people say, “You should be teaming up with HR.” And Jill Davison and I would high five and, “We’ve already done this, we’re ahead of this. We’re on it.” So, I get to lead the team from the IS and technology side of the house, and Jill leads from the HR side. On the team we have several sponsors within the business and within IS, and we all work together to develop objectives and create a 2-5 year plan so we can make sure to deploy tools that are of real value.


Ultimately, we rolled out Enrich Café, which is our digital employee hub. So when I log in each morning, I go to my portal and I can see that I have three meetings today, I have six emails I have to get to, an expense form I have to fill out, a time sheet I need to submit, and there’s some Teams notifications. Before we launched, we migrated everything over to the cloud. So we are able to connect with all the M365 tools (Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, Power Apps) and deliver our messaging from anywhere.

The culture at Rich’s is family first, people first. So having a work/life balance has always been very important to us. A while back, we implemented a more flexible remote work program so our associates could work from home a few days a week. So we’ve got several employees at any given time working outside of the office, whether it’s someone working from home or a sales rep who’s at a customer site. But we’re also a manufacturing company, so we also have plant workers who don’t necessarily have a need for technology to do their job. So to better communicate with all of our employees, we need to make sure that the solutions we implement are accessible from mobile devices, and that’s at the forefront of a lot of our current plans.

Our ultimate goal is that one stop shop so that when people change roles or are new, you’re onboarding people, it’s a much more seamless environment. So we haven’t even tipped the iceberg yet on what we want to do. We are first working to create the right environment for our communications platform and information sharing, and now moving the needle on that one stop shop, that hub environment.