Piedmont Healthcare deploys Interact Software to connect over 18,300 dispersed employees and make a positive difference in patient care

By Alexandria Nelson

At the core of every medical research initiative lies two key components – patients and research professionals. Piedmont Healthcare, an integrated, not-for-profit healthcare system, made it their mission to connect healthcare professionals to their purpose – to make a positive difference in every life they touch.

Made up of seven hospitals, 19 urgent care centers, nearly 100 physician offices and 1,600 clinics, Piedmont challenged themselves to find an intranet platform that would deliver the unique destination their employees needed.

However, for their rapidly growing health system of more than 18,300 employees located throughout Atlanta and Georgia, difficulties arose due to poor remote access and a lack of team collaboration provided by their legacy intranet.

To unify their geographically dispersed workforce and keep pace with their growth and demand, Piedmont implemented intranet software from Interact to accomplish their four internal communication goals: engagement, accessibility, experience, and social.

A strategic initiative to improve employee communications

The process began as Piedmont turned to their staff to pinpoint the exact challenges their workers were facing. A series of surveys were executed to provide insight into what employees thought of the legacy intranet and what they needed to see from the new one. The dissatisfaction was evident with 76% of employees indicating that the legacy intranet provided poor search performance and 76% criticizing the poor remote access.

Feedback was abundant, with employees making suggestions such as:

“Put all the informational stuff on the intranet in an intuitive design and cut down on some of the emails!”

“Make the intranet a place where employees will want to go daily instead of sending more email.”

Polls revealed that 91% of staff desired a space for team collaboration and 79% wanted more social engagement with their peers.

With the plan to partner with Interact approved, a team of six individuals from the internal communications and information technology teams led the six-month implementation project.

It takes a village

Piedmont turned to their employees to decide on a name for their new and improved intranet.

It was decided that the name of their original intranet, “The Village”, aligned best with the company’s history, values, and purpose. Complete with a new logo, tagline, and positioning statement, The Village was reborn.


New homepage structure provides easy navigation

To provide direction to the project a team consisting of 85 members representing key shared services departments and Piedmont’s hospitals focused on the intranet architecture.

Design decisions were guided by the results of a user survey measuring employee intranet behavior and a usability study gauging what information employees looked for on the site.

The result was an incorporated use of colorful icons on the homepage that ensured ease of navigation and a new main menu structure organized by task and function instead of by department.

Piedmont’s user survey did more than show employee’s search results. It also identified the characteristics, intranet behaviors and needs of their four primary intranet user personas – Nurses, Physicians, Professionals and Remote Workers.

Each persona’s differences were documented, including their disparities in location, amount of time spent working remotely, department, and work goals/challenges. Then, they illustrated how the newly formed intranet could best assist the needs of each persona.

“These user insights guided design and content decisions, resulting in a custom homepage and modified navigation for our Physician Enterprise staff. With an acute focus on providing safe, quality care, one-click access to important clinical information and systems is essential for clinical and nursing staff, which is our largest employee population.” Kelli Newman – Director of Internal Communications, Piedmont Healthcare

New content and design creates satisfied staff

Piedmont’s team worked to develop an intranet design that would appeal to staff and improve overall employee experience.

Kelli shares that, “Content strategy work groups established an intranet governance model and council, developed measurable objectives aligned to project goals, managed content planning and migration for launch, and led content author selection and training, which included an online course on writing for the intranet.”

She adds, “Infrastructure work groups, which focused on technology and design, led intranet configuration and systems integration to ensure location-based content targeting and mobile access.” These adjustments cleaned up the content left by the legacy intranet and established a practical and compatible way for staff to stay connected.

A successful launch for engaged employees

With the legacy intranet being overhauled with Interact to now deliver on staff needs, Piedmont wanted to display their growth with a launch event. Their new intranet, The Village, launched in Mid-February 2017.

“We held 12 launch events between our six hospitals and three corporate locations. Events were staffed by 75 members of our employee volunteer group, the Piedmont Connectors, who served as intranet tour guides and ambassadors,” said Kelli Newman. The launch events were interactive and informative, allowing employees to inquire and learn about specific features of the new intranet, including how to create an intranet profile.


More than 1,400 employees attended the launch events that were held across the system. Interactive events included free, branded giveaways as well as games and contests featured on the intranet. Employees were encouraged to participate crossword puzzles and word searches that explained new features and helped employees to create their intranet profiles.

The launch campaign was more than just fun and games; Piedmont integrated a number of features created to educate their staff on the navigation and usage of their new intranet. They presented Ludwig, their online tour guide named after one of Piedmont’s founding physicians. During the launch, Ludwig conducted a virtual intranet tour that aided staff with navigation and assisted them in finding answers to common questions using their question bank. By the following three months, employees had completed 5,871 virtual tours with Ludwig.

Another helpful tool of Piedmont’s new intranet came in the form of an educational video aimed at instructing their staff on proper intranet behavior. Kelli reveals that, “A social media educational video was produced to teach employees about the dos and don’ts of responsible media use. We captured acknowledgment of completions by using the new mandatory read feature of the intranet.” Within the first few months, 83% of employees had watched the social media educational video.

The campaign was a success, with a total count of 5,560 unique visits on The Village on the day of launch.


Steady improvement for the future

Since deploying Interact, Piedmont determined the need to keep accurate measurements of how their expectations measured up to their achievements as a motivation to succeed.

 “The project team decided to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-based and Time-bound) goals that were aspirational as a way of holding the entire team accountable for the project’s success. A main driver of this decision is Piedmont’s growing healthcare system that requires employees to work collaboratively,” says Kelli.

Adoption, usage, collaboration and engagement objectives were set, and Piedmont weighed their results against their goals:

Goal:     80% of employees (10,800) use the intranet by March 31

Result: 13,987 unique visits and 1.0 million page views


Goal:    30% of the 80% read the mandatory social media page

Result: 49% completion


Goal:     All hospitals have a presence by June 30

Result: 100%


Goal:     By June 30, have 25% of departments and hospitals contributing content to the intranet

Result: 11 of 11 system departments and all hospitals are content contributors.

“Since the launch of our new intranet, there has been a significant increase in the number of employees who agree or strongly agree that they receive adequate communication about changes happening at Piedmont and the company’s future plans and directions.” Kelli Newman – Director of Internal Communications, Piedmont Healthcare


An award-winning intranet

The success seen during the launch phase of The Village saw Piedmont take the winning title at the Interact Excellence Awards for Best Intranet Launch, as well as securing recognition as a finalist in the 2017 Ragan Intranet Awards.

Piedmont has successfully furthered its goal to create a thriving digital community where all of their staff can connect, collaborate, and grow throughout their journey. 

To learn more about their story, watch their case study video here: https://www.interact-intranet.com/customers/piedmont-healthcare/



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Alexandria Nelson is a US Content Writer at Interact with a focus on content and communications. When she is not blogging about the do's, don'ts and how to's of a successful intranet, you will likely find her holed up with a fiction novel and a glass of wine.