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Internal Communications Strategy for the Ontario Cannabis Store

an internal communications strategy and platform for a brand new organization poised to hire hundreds of staff within its first year.


The Ontario government tasked the LCBO with executing the province’s legal cannabis framework for legalization on October 17, 2018. The agency was responsible for the sale of cannabis online and wholesaling and, at the time, in-store retail.


Intranet Project (August, 2018):


I was the Communications Lead on the LCBO’s project team tasked with operationalizing the Ontario Cannabis Store. In addition to external communications including public announcements and community engagements, the organization required a full internal communications strategy in preparation for thousands of staff dispersed across the province.


Internal Communications Objectives:


  • Develop internal communications tools leveraging best practices across platform choice, tools, and content strategy

  • Ensure staff are aware of and engaged with overall corporate operations and with leadership

  • Enable the strategic delivery of corporate messages, while driving and supporting employee engagement and collaboration

The internal communications strategy had to comply with strict standards of privacy and security, break down silos inevitable across a fragmented workforce, support the creation of a brand new corporate culture, be measurable, and mirror the overall corporate IT strategy for the OCS by remaining mobile, cloud-based and wireless.


Outcome


I led the development of a new Intranet platform to launch prior to the public launch of the retailer. The Intranet would be a go-to resource for staff to find corporate news, forms and policies, corporate services, an HR portal and more.


The development included all-department requirements gathering sessions, a design and technology build in collaboration with IT, a content strategy, and approval by all team leads and executives.


The platform would be mobile-friendly and cloud-based, and would be as accessible by head office staff as retail staff. The content strategy was focused on bringing external best practices internally, including short- and long-form blog posts, staff profiles, influencer-written content, and a heavy focus on video and image-based content. The site was fully measurable to allow for internal engagement benchmarking in the organization’s first year.