Louisville Future: Keeping a scattered workforce connected

Red e App customer, East & Westbrook Construction, was recently interviewed by Louisville Future, discussing the challenges they have been able to overcome with the use of Red e App. This post is a reprint of the full article. Content has been edited for clarity. 

Red e App is a mobile workforce performance company founded in 2011 that pioneered a workflow platform for businesses who need reliable communication for employees who don’t work at a desk. Red e App’s clients run the gamut from manufacturing to healthcare.

Louisville Future spoke with Jonathan Westbrook, President of East & Westbrook Construction about how Red e App’s tech has transformed its business processes.

What does East & Westbrook do?

Westbrook: We self-perform a lot of concrete and steelwork, as well as general construction. Because our field employees grew from around 60 to over 175 in a short amount of time, we had a lot of people with whom we needed to communicate. We needed to develop new programs. The majority of our employees don’t use email. They don’t work at a desk.

Red e App seemed like the perfect way for us to communicate key messages to our employees.

The platform is deeper than just a communication tool, right?

Westbrook: Yes. We have a Resources section where a lot of our company documents live, including our employee handbook, information about insurance and 401(k), etc. All of this is right at our employees’ fingertips as reference material. We can continue to add to that, depending on what we need.

The other thing we really leaned into was the Forms capability. Employees can submit a form if they have an issue or problem with something. They can snap a picture, tell us where it is, what it is, and the issue will get elevated to managers.

We also celebrate successes and good jobs company-wide extending much-deserved recognition and encouragement. It’s been invaluable from that standpoint for us.

Red e App is very customizable then?

Westbrook: We’ve done a couple of other things that are kind of unique. One of those is our scheduling system is tied into Red e App. So every day when the schedule is created, all of our employees are sorted into groups based on their assigned projects. It’s integrated with our scheduling program.

During COVID-19, Red e App was a great tool for communicating with our employees about all of the crazy changes that were happening so fast. We started by producing a video. I shot it on my phone and sent it out to all the employees—hey, here’s what’s going on, here’s what you need to do, etc. Now, 14 months later, it has become a weekly tradition that we send out a Friday video to all of our employees and let them know things that are going on.

We have over 225 employees spread out over multiple states. But at least this way management has a touchpoint with them through the app. It has really added to our connectivity as a company.

“Our participation rate is around 98%. Almost everyone is using it in our whole organization, and the frequency of use has continued to increase. That tells me that it’s working.”

Can you give us a specific example of where this app has worked best for you?

Westbrook: One of the things we used to do was do a Toolbox Talk on every job that concerned a safety topic. To make that happen, our Safety Managers would print off the topic and all of the information about it. They would put it in the physical mailboxes of our foremen, who would then come and pick it up. They would take it to the job site, pull the crew together, and then go over that safety topic.

Now we’re able to send that topic out as a PDF through the Red e App. We send it to all the foremen. We can view that they have opened it, when they opened it, and they are able to, right there from their phone without making a trip to the office or anything, deliver that training to the employees.

In addition, there are forms where they can fill out who participated, what the discussion was about, and then send that back to us. That alone is just a small example of where it’s made us more efficient. As we’ve grown and as our projects have become more geographically spread out, we had to come up with a solution that did not require folks to come into the office to pick up their safety topics.

We also have a Good Catch Program. It’s a form where if anyone makes a good catch–like “we were getting ready to use this piece of equipment and we noticed that the backup arm wasn’t working, so we tagged it out and contacted Maintenance for repair.” That’s a good catch. No one got hurt. We didn’t use equipment that was broken. We’re able to share those with our employees about things to look out for. The information gets copied to Safety, to Maintenance, to the Project Managers, and it’s a tool for us to measure the engagement of our employees.

Have you measured the results as far as how it affects the business’ bottom line?

Westbrook: What I can tell you is that we continue to use it more and more. Every few months we’re adding more functionality. We can measure how many messages we send and how many users have connected in our engagement. Our participation rate is around 98%. Almost everyone is using it in our whole organization, and the frequency of use has continued to increase. That tells me it’s working.

East and Westbrook has been a Red e App customer since January 2019. Read more about their Red e App experience in this case study.

Technology enables real change

Red e App isn’t here just to sell software to put a Band-Aid on your communication problems — we’re out to change the world for non-desk workers. We’ve spent years in the trenches with companies of all sizes and all levels of complexity, and we’d love to help you consider how to make real change in your organization.