Fitness Australia boosts workplace collaboration with Yammer

As the national health and fitness industry association, Fitness Australia has a vision: A Fitter, Healthier Australia, where the industry can engage more people in regular exercise and other services for better health and wellbeing.

Fitness Australia works closely with industry partners to boost service standards and build the professional capacity of the industry by:

  1. Improving service delivery and building community confidence in the industry
  2. Enabling effective workforce-planning and capacity-building
  3. Advocating on issues that arise in partners’ operational environment

Today, it represents the diverse interests of 28,000 registered exercise professionals, fitness providers and industry suppliers across the country, as well as supports them with a large range of resources and services. These include continuing education and professional development courses, community awareness campaigns and work-health promotion initiatives.

Enhancing countrywide operations for a healthier Australia
With 26 full-time employees working in eight locations around Australia—from north eastern Cairns to south western Perth—this means staff are located up to 2,000 kilometres apart, and across four time zones.

To support changing operational demands, Fitness Australia required a more sophisticated and immersive communications platform to enhance collaboration, share critical data, and facilitate access to technical support.

“We needed a communication channel that could enhance remote collaboration to keep pace with our growing countrywide operations,” said Lauretta Stace, CEO, Fitness Australia. “Apart from keeping our staff connected, we also wanted the ability to set up separate working groups within the organisation to make sharing relevant information easier, and help unite the organisation for more efficient work—as if there was zero distance between offices.”

Achieving improved information management and communications
In 2011, Fitness Australia decided to implement Yammer, an enterprise social network for communications that is popular amongst leading multinational corporations.

Yammer provides a highly secure and private network for internal communication, allowing for real-time communication to share information and get work done. Designed with a user-friendly and intuitive interface, employees were motivated to use the new solution, and required little or no training. Within a short span of time, employees were creating communities and sharing with each other the latest project updates. Stace said, “Yammer is a good fit with our organisational culture, and it has delivered great outcomes for us. Collaboration has become faster-paced and more open.”

Employees use Yammer to conduct brainstorm sessions, compile agendas for, and notes from meetings and collate information. The organisation has created public and private groups for differentiated access based on an individual employee’s role and information needs—giving the staff clear visibility into ongoing projects and upcoming events.

“Through its collaborative features, Yammer has made our organisation more flexible and responsive, enabling us to execute projects faster and with better results,” said Andrew McCallum, Strategic Projects & Partnerships Manager. “It also helps us overcome any departmental silos and facilitate greater cross-departmental collaboration.”

Fitness Australia went one step further to create networks that could include key external partners, enabling staff and partners to forge stronger and cost-effective communication links.

Enhanced productivity for greater impact
“Yammer allows us to have real-time two-way feedback on our work, so we’re able to respond to feedback more quickly. There’s a sense that communication is easier and collaboration is smoother, which helps us to focus on maximising the impact of our work,” said Angela Palogiannidis, Public Relations and Communications Officer, who noted that this has been instrumental for coordinating complicated projects such as nationwide campaigns. Staff are able to use Yammer the way they wouldn’t usually use email, for instance, to share links on information related to their work without feeling the need to spend the effort on explaining.

Fitness Australia prides itself on a friendly working environment, which employees refer to as its “#TeamCool Culture”, and they see Yammer as an essential tool for deepening relationships and cultivating happier workers.

“Yammer lets us share aspects of our lives and interact like on any other social media platform—we can even have online conversations with one another. It allows us to make genuine connections with each other as well as our key partners and cultivate a greater sense of trust in our environment. It makes me feel like I’m part of the team despite being miles away from anyone else,” concluded Palogiannidis.

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