Datagraphic’s client – a leading manufacturer in the aerospace sector, had an impending employee restructure of job roles and grades across departments in multiple companies within its Group. The client had to formally communicate this information to those affected and obtain each employee’s acceptance of the changes.
The HR team responsible for this task knew they had a defined time to communicate the changes to employees and the complex and sensitive nature of the work. Having an existing relationship with Datagraphic, as a trusted and secure provider of outbound and inbound employee communications, they approached us to support them with this project.
They needed a reliable partner capable of printing and mailing the outbound employee communication, but one who would also receive and process the physical and digital returning acceptance forms.
It was also vitally important the team had confidence their partner would deliver the services accurately and on time and free them from this time-consuming and resource-draining project. All these key success factors they knew would be achieved working with Datagraphic. So they engaged our outbound and inbound mail services to support this project over several weeks.
From a single client-supplied employee data file, individual outbound mailings were split into 14 letter templates based on the type, content, grading and response requirements, then split again between the UK and overseas recipients.
The initial outbound communication to 1,200 employees included the following:
• A formal letter – advising the employee that after consultation and review, a change to the future reward and grading policy had been agreed upon. The letter used variable data fields populated to confirm each employee’s grade, payment package, and commencement date.
• A reason for change letter and acceptance form (2 copies) – the letter detailing how the changes would impact the employee., and the form requesting the employee to sign and return one copy as acceptance of the change to their grade and remuneration package.
To encourage employees to respond quickly, the letter included an incentive in the form of a donation towards each employee’s charity of choice, provided they responded by a given date. A charity choice data capture field was added to the acceptance form, and the employee was asked to nominate their charity of choice.
• A Freepost reply envelope – a PO Box number for Datagraphic’s Inbound mail centre was included with the original letter as a further incentive for return. Requesting the employee to return directly to Datagraphic’s inbound mail centre also removed any processing delays from the critical timescales.
To maximise response rates, reduce postal costs and provide employees with a digital option to confirm their acceptance and charity nomination, the change letter included a URL, enabling employees to return their acceptance forms digitally. The client set-up a specific email address for returns within their IT infrastructure, which had automatic forwarding to a corresponding dedicated email address at Datagraphic. Datagraphic then received and processed these digital returns using the same processes as the paper returns.
The inbound mail response handling process, on receipt of each employee acceptance form, included Datagraphic’s team completing the following tasks:
• Opening and sorting each response envelope within an agreed timeframe
• Receiving all digital inbound responses to the dedicated email address
• Scanning each return to capture the employee’s response and their charity choice. Employee response data from the returns were digitised by our inbound team and supplied to the client with a full PDF of each scanned return, named and indexed for upload into the client’s employee management system.
• Validating the quality and matching each returned acceptance form against the original employee data from the outbound communication. This was achieved by using a unique recipient ID on all communications.
• Reporting returns to the client project team weekly via SFTP to give them an accurate live assessment of the ongoing project. This included figures on responses by type, charity choices, and critically confirming which employee returns were outstanding.
Several further project-specific follow-up mailings occurred after the initial outbound mailing and response handling. These varied in size – driven by the outcomes from the initial mailing – but included issuing more acceptance forms and again receiving and processing responses within our inbound team at Datagraphic. All subsequent outbound mailings were version controlled, managed as sub-projects, and reported accordingly.
For both outbound communications and inbound mail response handling, Datagraphic’s multichannel communications platform, Aceni provided the answer. As a result:
• The client could review employee acceptances and handle queries faster, thanks to Datagraphic’s team automating the employee response capture process.
• The client was confident each employee was communicated with promptly, within the project’s time constraints and that changes resulting from queries were acknowledged and acted upon without delay.
• The client had a documented audit trail of all outbound and inbound mail activity to support any future legal or compliance challenges.
• The client removed the risk of manual data entry errors and the time-consuming task of processing paper responses and instead had legally recognised PDF scanned copies of every employee acceptance form automatically digitised for upload into employee records.
• The client could accurately report and donate to chosen charities on employees’ behalf without additional internal resources.
• The client could give employees a digital response option, which significantly cut the client’s lead time from mail-out to response receipt and provided a 50% cost reduction compared to mailed returns.