For 80% of United Rentals’ 15,000 employees, work happens on the road. As the world’s largest equipment rental company and a Fortune 500 organization, the leadership team wanted to increase engagement by creating innovative, two-way communication with their 12,000 daily road warriors. Over six months, Workplace by Facebook became the hub for sharing daily “wins” to create greater visibility between leaders and their employees — and its culture-enhancing effects were felt in a variety of unanticipated, positive ways.
Employees working “on the road” and away from a computer
Regional Champions trained to support local initiatives on Workplace
United Rentals branches with 100% employee participation in the voluntary Compassion Fund
- Historically, communicating local experiences or specialized knowledge across United Rentals was challenging. Scaling the adoption of operational excellence and standardizing the in-store customer experience across 900 stores required giving all employees a voice at the same time.
- Safety is a core pillar of United Rentals. Promoting adoption of a mobile-first platform needed to be integrated into the safety practices of drivers and technicians.
- Each region of the US had a highly local, competitive culture. Deploying Workplace meant finding meaningful topics for each region to discuss, while tapping into the competitive spirit at the same time.
“Safety is about people, not statistics. We promote ‘active caring’ at United Rentals, and that, in turn, strengthens our safety culture. When people are seeing, sharing, and liking pictures of ‘why’ they work safe (family, children, and pets), they are reinforcing and building value for the most important part of our business — whether they realize it or not.”
Cheryl Wisenbaker, Director of Regional Safety
What We Did
In partnership with Talk Social to Me, United Rentals provided Workplace-related training to more than 200 region-specific champions (Branch Managers, HR leaders, and social-media-savvy individuals) whose roles already involved coordination and dissemination of company information. For drivers on the road moving equipment, access to branch office workstations was provided before they headed out on their routes. Right away, messages were no longer coming only from leaders; they were now coming from employees across the country; employees began to see and hear authentic peer voices. This strengthened collective trust, created connection unbound by geography, and built a “sense of family” for all employees.
Five months after implementing Workplace, 68% of employees had adopted the platform regularly. One of the most critical use cases was sharing the corporate safety values; now, any driver or operator can offer a safety tip or ask a question about safe practices — enhancing employees’ pride in their work. Field technicians often refer to Workplace as their “Help Book,” for good practices in the field.
Workplace has also enhanced participation in the United Rentals Compassion Fund, an employee-funded grant program that offers financial assistance to employees in crisis. In 2018, Workplace was used to heighten awareness of this program through employee-generated videos, photos, and creative content with the hashtag #StrutURCompassion. In just three months, 36% of United Rentals’ branches boasted 100% employee participation in the fund — more than double the previous record of 17.6% during a nine-month period.
Finally, the competitive spirit amongst regions at United Rentals has proven to be a sustaining cultural force. The #backbone field engagement campaign challenged employees to share moments of pride, wins, or best practices on Workplace during long days on the road. Using open Workplace groups, regional contests to promote the #backbone campaign led to viral, ongoing campaigns inspired by others — even months after the original contest had concluded.