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MD Financial Management bridged the geographic gap and connected their employees using ThoughtFarmer. The results? MD Financial Management saw increased collaboration, a transformed corporate culture and ultimately—better service for their clients.

MD Financial Management is an investment advisory service for Canadian physicians, owned by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). They have 1,300 employees dispersed across 49 offices in Canada, and have been successfully using ThoughtFarmer self-hosted edition in both English and French for the past five years.

Conversations and collaboration online

Intranet Community Manager, Vanessa Millar talks about one of MD Financial Management’s biggest successes using ThoughtFarmer.

Five years ago the company culture at MD Financial Management was radically different. Employees worked in silos and corresponded primarily via e-mail, which made it difficult to know what others in the company were doing, collaborate cross-functionally or find up-to-date information easily. They had an existing intranet but it was only updated by one individual with no opportunity for engaging or collaborating with others. MD Financial Management knew they needed a new platform. A platform that would support the kind of corporate culture they were working towards—one of openness, transparency and collaboration.

Leading the culture shift

Transforming the way employees communicate was not an easy feat. The communications team anticipated it would be challenging to encourage employees to adopt the new intranet. Because employees had become accustomed to their intranet being a one-way communication tool, collaborating using a two-way communication system was seemingly unnatural. If staff didn’t embrace the new intranet the organization would remain splintered, which could hinder growth of the company and better service for their clients.

Taking the leap into an open, social collaboration system

MD Financial Management said ThoughtFarmer stood out immediately during their selection process.

“We wanted an open-intranet where every employee had a profile and the rights to add content. We wanted a simple wiki-style tool that made it easy (and fun!) to contribute and engage. We wanted a social intranet—we knew this was a key part to increasing collaboration and employee engagement. ThoughtFarmer had it all.”

MD Financial Management embraced an open by default philosophy for their intranet. They felt that if too many restricted governance structures and rules were enforced, it would stifle adoption and engagement. This open by default approach allowed employees to shape the intranet, thus contributing to a more open, transparent and collaborative corporate culture.

Making collaboration feel easy and natural

Intranet Community Leader, Vanessa Millar, says collaboration wasn’t easy or natural before ThoughtFarmer, but now employees are engaging with the intranet multiple times a day. ThoughtFarmer has become a valuable tool for their organization to drive engagement, facilitate growth and provide better service for their clients.

A permanent culture shift

Five years after the initial install, MD Financial Management’s intranet is still going strong today. Millar and her team are constantly improving processes, looking for ways to integrate their intranet into their suite of other collaborative tools. She wants to avoid the same issue of employees working in silos and sharing information on different platforms, and to keep everything united on their intranet.

MD Financial Management has moved from an organization whose idea of collaboration was proximity, to one that is now enterprise-wide. “We see tons of examples of people collaborating towards common goals, that has been a great thing we have been able to do with our ThoughtFarmer intranet,” said Vanessa. Vanessa is thrilled at how organic collaboration has become and is excited to see how ThoughtFarmer continues to improve MD Financial Management in the future.