Like many electric cooperatives across the nation, Sam Houston Electric Cooperative serves its 53,000 members from more than one office. With 160 employees divided among three offices, there’s no doubt it can be a challenge to disseminate information quickly and effectively.
“Even with email, employee meetings, an employee intranet and printed newsletter, we felt we needed to go a step further with our internal communications,” said Keith Stapleton, Sam Houston Electric Cooperative chief communications officer.
Stapleton said that the initial concept of a video messaging system was born out of the Co-op’s communications team, which is comprised of representatives from each department and office.
“The idea was to place monitors in high-traffic areas throughout our three offices,” Stapleton said. “We sought out technology that would allow us to push different types of multimedia content to each monitor instantaneously.”
The communications team knew there was a pool of information that needed to be available to employees more often and at a central location, including announcements, project statuses, weather updates and one of the most popular pieces of information, employee birthdays.
Because Sam Houston EC has a reputation for weathering their fair share of storms, the communications team was excited about the capabilities of the system during major outage restoration. Each monitor has the capability of broadcasting live weather forecasts or a live stream of a statement from the Co-op’s CEO. Thankfully, the system has instead been helpful in recent months tracking the progress and location of the Co-op’s system-wide meter upgrade project.
Utilizing the Co-op’s network, members of the communications department update the system daily and primarily push out information to the monitors in the form of a slideshow, including text, photos and infographics.
“It’s a challenge to push new content each day,” said Rachel Frey, Sam Houston Electric Cooperative communications specialist. “But it keeps our employees engaged.”
“We know it’s being read, because they [employees] let us know if there’s a mistake,” Stapleton joked.
The next step, Stapleton said, will be to install software on computers so that the content on the monitors can be accessed from every employee’s desktop.