Q&A with Ginni Lisk of SaaS manufacturer ScreenCloud

Ginni Lisk is the VP of People Strategy for SaaS company ScreenCloud. Lisk discusses connecting the back office to the manufacturing floor

Hi Ginni, please introduce yourself and your role.

“My name is Ginni Lisk and I’m currently the VP of People Strategy for ScreenCloud – a SaaS company that powers digital signage for more than 8,500 organisations across manufacturing, healthcare, education, and more. 

“Fueled by a passion for digital transformation and its impact on the future of work, my current focus is to coach ScreenCloud’s various departments on driving exciting outcomes and impact-focused conversations within our company’s HR & Internal Communications customer segment, and identify new opportunities for employee communication, engagement research and development.”

  

What led you to ScreenCloud?

“A bit of serendipity, really. For years, I worked for or consulted high-growth companies on elevating company leadership, building high-performing teams and achieving business outcomes through the lens of scalable and sustainable People practices. ScreenCloud was actually one of the clients I consulted at my last firm. After getting to know the team, I fell in love with the company’s mission and overarching promise to HR, communications, IT professionals and the desk-bound and deskless employees they support. Usually, I would end a consultancy appointment by hiring a full time People person to take that client’s People roadmap forward, but I couldn’t bring myself to hand this one over! I decided to come on board full time to help drive ScreenCloud initiatives both internally and externally across key industries. 

“The reality is that globally, HR is undergoing a widespread transformation and is moving away from operating as a reactionary service-center to adding strategic and commercial value as a proactive, core driver of overall company success.  I wanted to be immersed in an organization that is directly enabling this transition.” 

 

How does your work involve the manufacturing industry?

“In order to answer that, we have to look at a couple of things first. 

“While the manufacturing industry has evolved over the years – adopting emerging technologies and digital transformation strategies that increase efficiency and productivity – there are still a few things that remain particularly challenging when it comes to employee engagement. 

“The first is related to siloed data sets and the lack of tools that help analyse important info in real time. From scrawling chalk numbers on manufacturing floors to complex Excel spreadsheets, the ability to quickly monitor production, or to collect, and analyze data to make informed decisions in any given moment is fairly limited today. In addition, even in situations where technology is helping, it’s generally oriented towards the head office environment; many organisations currently don’t deploy ways for deskless employees to actually visualise crucial company information.   

“The second is around internal communications. Most still rely on word of mouth or board notices to distribute information to the ‘end user’ (their predominantly deskless and therefore “digitally detached”) talent, and the information is often inconsistent, inaccurate, or out-of-date as a result. In turn, deskless employees frequently feel uniformed, undervalued, and unproductive, with employers left unable to reach them in positively impactful ways – whether through data, insights, or engaging content that would improve their day-to-day experiences. 

“ScreenCloud’s digital signage solutions address both hurdles. We work with major brands to connect the back office to the manufacturing floor by combining powerful business intelligence software tools, dashboards, digital signage, and we connect teams through curated communication environments that enable organisations to keep their workers safe, informed, productive and engaged. 

“Democratising access to internal communications (to ensure that these comms actually inform, connect and enhance the reality of work, particularly for the 2.7bn deskless workers in the world) is ScreenCloud’s fundamental mission - and there is huge potential for transformation within the manufacturing industry.”

How does ScreenCloud connect the back office to the manufacturing floor and what does this do?

We’ve spent the past several years building and developing what we call ScreenCloud Dashboards – one of the most secure, scalable and affordable options on the market to date. It integrates with business intelligence (BI) tools like Tableau, Microsoft Power BI, Salesforce, and others already monitoring and optimizing for quick and effective operational decisions, and visualises real-time, complex data stored within them in digestible formats on screens in just minutes. 

“This can include manufacturing snapshot dashboards for instance that would give a birds’-eye view of entire operations, production KPI dashboards set to specific parameters, or even production management dashboards that can monitor cost and time to avoid things like bottlenecks or late/emergency orders. 

“ScreenCloud’s solutions also help increase employee engagement. The CMS can be controlled from one location and push out branded content to any screen across the world. This empowers HR and communications leaders (and their colleagues at localized levels) to create and execute thoughtful, relevant, and authentically impactful communication programs that significantly improve the reach to their deskless workforce. 

“The bottom line is that information shouldn’t just live in those back office computers. Leveraging an effective BI digital signage strategy and sharing relevant intelligence that empowers every team to make data-driven decisions, gives the power of visibility that deskless workers need to feel informed, connected, motivated, and successful moving forward.”

 

That’s an interesting point you made on preventing things like bottlenecks. Can you elaborate on how that works?

Sure. Essentially, by monitoring, analysing, and better communicating at every stage of the production process and completion statuses, organisations can better predict where bottlenecks might occur - versus when there are siloed channels where communication is stunted. Essentially, by displaying this insight effectively and proactively for those who are in the position to react and amend their activity accordingly, course correction is given the autonomy it needs.  

“By analysing historic metrics, companies can also forecast potential delays in the process or see where they could fit in last minute orders too. 

“Over time, acting on this kind of data helps streamline the whole process across the board.” 

 

What do you perceive to be the greatest challenge to the manufacturing sector?

“As previously mentioned, one of the greatest challenges in the manufacturing sector today is around employee engagement. Employees highly regard the feeling of belonging and being recognised and valued for their contributions. They want to feel like they are part of a “tribe” and have a voice and are not just seen as a cog in the corporate wheel, so-to-speak.  

“Long gone are the days where the manufacturing industry can solely rely on word of mouth or board notices to communicate with employees and those that do, risk significant turnover, talent acquisition challenges, potential reputational damages, and impact to bottom line results. 

“Manufacturing companies should fully understand and provide the content that deskless employees not only need to access (easily and at a glance) but provide that content where they need it as well - which is simply not on email or on a desktop. Screens can better reach these people where they physically are and by incorporating everything from better signposting of benefits to the health and safety requirements required for day-to-day operations, or real-time data that empowers stronger decision-making – the industry will be in a much better position for it. 

 

During your time at ScreenCloud, what has been your biggest lesson?

“From Bangkok to Los Angeles (via London and Belfast on the way) ScreenCloud has employees located in cities that are dramatically different, with important cultural nuances that have to be understood and recognised. One-size-fits-all never works, and it certainly doesn’t work at ScreenCloud! 

“Getting the balance right between nurturing a ‘one company’ culture, inspired by a set of core principles with clarity over the behaviors we don’t tolerate, and cascading that down to individualized approaches in our individual locations, is hard… not necessarily in theory, but in reality. In fact, there are inner tensions that are at times truly fundamentally opposed - for example, it’s very hard to nurture the sort of growth mindset, transparent and honest discussion and constructive feedback that scaling businesses in the West have established as the norm, in any culture that stipulates honesty and constructive feedback isn’t socially appropriate for those who are for example, older than you or more senior than you in the org structure.

“As a company that strives not to create a Head Office or HQ environment in any one of its locations, wants to protect a culturally flat and accessible, non-corporate structure and has a core value of “Trust & Transparency,” facing-up to such fundamental challenges can feel unsurmountable at times. 

“The biggest lesson has therefore been to stay connected to a sense of purpose and to never assume, which is something I think HR functions find themselves doing (because these are generally speaking, under-resourced functions!) when they feel under pressure to move really quickly.

“I believe that HR should channel a design-thinking approach to productise People Experience for the ‘end user’. It can be all too easy to skip steps in the discovery stages, and not spend enough time truly understanding and designing what people need and want - particularly when under pressure to act fast. 

“The concept of democratisation of communication and engagement within organisations is something we’re driven to achieve with our product and for our customers, it’s part of our philosophy as a company.  Internally, it’s been important to remember this principle and not build People initiatives or practices away from the human beings who will be using and benefiting from the practices being implemented. I think this is something that can impact all People departments from time to time and it’s certainly been an important lesson during my time at ScreenCloud.”

 

What do the next 12 months hold for you and ScreenCloud?

“Our main priorities are to our customers and our people. 

“We’re constantly evolving alongside the companies we support to provide the most intuitive and easy-to-deploy solutions that not only cater to the needs of IT, HR, and communications leaders we work with, but that unlock new opportunities that they never knew existed. We’ll continue to look for new ways to save them time and resources while increasing productivity and engagement with deskless employees, retaining talent, and scaling their businesses.   

“We’re doing the same for our own team.  After the first phase of implementing sustainable and scalable people processes across core pillars such as organisational design, pay & reward philosophy, people operations and addressing needs across the full employee lifecycle, I have recruited a People Director to help me take our People function to the next level. 

“Bringing in an experienced and confident People strategist to collaborate with on our People & Culture roadmap means we can turn our attention away from foundation-building to optimisation. I’m looking forward to providing management and leadership with better insight, more People Analytics and continuing to tailor our approach in each of our international hub locations. 

“In doing this, our team structure is also able to evolve.  I can enhance the remits of every member of the People team, ensure their knowledge, skill and experience is being stretched and this also means my role is able to evolve. I’ve recently turned my attention much more externally to special projects with customers for whom integrating ScreenCloud into their communications ecosystem would dramatically improve their own HR and internal communications approaches. It's a very exciting time!”

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