Customer Story

Finding fresh perspectives at LafargeHolcim: Enabling true collaboration with Google Workspace

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LafargeHolcim, the global leader in building solutions, embraces innovation and uses Google Workspace to innovate processes, be agile and empower its employees to collaborate more effectively.

Google Cloud Results

Unites 70,000 workers spread across more than 70 countries

• Empowers employees working outside an office setting, to participate in knowledge sharing and decision-making from wherever they are
• Enables teams to collaborate on building a world that is greener, smarter and works for all
• Streamlines communication processes to enable faster decision-making
• Supports information-sharing internally and externally, with customers and partners
• Builds a high-performing culture driven by agility, empowerment and accountability

At LafargeHolcim, we are building a world that works for people and the planet. A world that keeps people safe, connected and thriving. Together with our employees we want to shape a world that is greener, smarter and that works for all. Google Workspace is a tool we use to aid as we collaborate, innovate and digitize our business.

Bringing Google Workspace on board dates back to the creation of the thriving business we have today. LafargeHolcim was born from the merger of Lafarge and Holcim in 2015.

“Between two companies, we had over 180 years of valuable experience. The goal was to combine the best of both companies to create something even stronger,” says Paul Young, Head of Collaboration and Communication Applications at LafargeHolcim. “We clarified processes, consolidated infrastructure and transformed our culture. We created a unified, modern, collaborative blue chip company.”

To enable and motivate its 70,000 employees to work closer together, LafargeHolcim looked for a collaboration platform that could easily unify, scale, and support its employees in every corner of the world, including 85% of its workforce who work deskless.

Empowering our employees to stay connected anytime, anywhere

“Google Docs makes it easy for us to communicate globally, share and edit documents, and make decisions faster as a team. Collaborating with such ease and speed has been a revolution for the company.” -- Paul Young, Head of Communication & Collaboration Digital Solutions, LafargeHolcim

Headquartered in Switzerland, LafargeHolcim is a global company. In addition to its many offices, it operates 270 cement and grinding plants, 663 aggregates plants, and 1,448 ready-mix plants worldwide.

Using Google Workspace, LafargeHolcim is able to provide its large and widespread workforce with tools that make it easy to work and communicate anytime, anywhere, from any device. The 60,000 employees who are IT users now feel more connected to each other and to headquarters.

“With Google Workspace, teams on the ground can now share images and documents with offices miles away,” says Paul. “It gives our employees the flexibility to access and send information on the go, and the power to be ‘data providers’.”

According to Paul, being data providers means that employees on the ground are more active ambassadors of the company’s working values and quality standards, as they’re empowered to share what’s happening on the ground in real time with teams around the world: “If they spot something that doesn’t look right, they take a photograph, contact regional and country managers via Gmail or Google Meet, report it, and get it fixed quickly,” Paul explains. This also enables the company to invest only in projects that align with its vision, and empowers individuals to be accountable and actively participate in decision-making as it happens.

“Other things that became easier and faster to do with Google Workspace include managing documents and developing procedures,” says Paul. “My team is all over the world: I’m in Switzerland, and have team members in the UK, India, Madrid, and extended support teams globally. We’re all responsible for maintaining company procedures. If something changes, we all need to be informed with the latest update right away. Google Workspace helps us to do that because it enables the people who need to manage data to access it in real time, online from any location.”

Using the visibility and comment settings available on Google Docs, users are able to ensure that relevant managers are notified and can view, edit, and approve changes to procedures as soon as updates are made. “Google Docs makes it easy for us to communicate globally, share and edit documents, and make decisions faster as a team. Collaborating with such ease and speed has been a revolution for the company,” says Paul.

Innovating work practices to help employees be more agile

“Our teams now use Google Workspace to do things they weren’t able to do before without support from IT. This set of tools is continuously improving and helping them do their job.” -- Paul Young, Head of Communication & Collaboration Digital Solutions, LafargeHolcim

As a competitive manufacturer of a product that is always in high demand, LafargeHolcim needs to make business decisions fast and take products to market quickly. That’s why the company’s IT strategy focuses on enabling agility. “Our traditional waterfall approach to business used to slow us down,” Paul explains. “Google Workspace helped us break that mold.”

He adds: “Our teams now use Google Workspace to do things they weren’t able to do before without support from IT. This set of tools is continuously improving and helping them do their job.”

While LafargeHolcim managers schedule meetings with Google Calendar and discuss business strategies via Google Meet video conferences, sales teams on the ground send quotes and get approval on the fly using Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, and Google Sheets. “I just don’t think it is possible to run multi-tier decentralized teams like ours without these tools anymore,” says Paul. “The cost and the ease of running processes in the Google environment is a huge win for everyone.”

Meanwhile, HR teams have turned to Google Forms to optimize the way they run surveys, and in turn be able to get feedback from others teams more often. “Before Google Forms, running surveys was a massive undertaking: we would send questions and capture answers manually, use an online application to analyze them, and populate the data in a spreadsheet. It would take a couple of weeks to design, test and run surveys, and HR needed a great deal of support from IT to do that, so they were limited to running surveys once a year,” Paul explains. “With Google Forms, any employee can design and run surveys themselves, in minutes. Teams answer them from anywhere, on mobile. The data is gathered and analyzed on Google Sheets. Getting feedback has never been so easy and so fast,” says Paul.

As a result, the HR team at LafargeHolcim is now able to get feedback more often by running surveys quarterly, instead of annually. Other teams have expanded the use of surveys for democratizing decisions across teams. Paul explains that some managers, empowered to make surveys themselves, have started using them as a tool for getting teammates’ opinions when considering adopting new practices or tools, for example.

Externally, LafargeHolcim uses a set of Google Workspace tools to ease access of information and streamline practices and communication processes. The company is using Google Sheets and Google Slides, for example, to keep franchisees informed with up-to-date delivery status and insights on how much cement they are selling. “This has been transformative for some of our clients because it helps them better plan their operations and push their own business forward,” says Paul. This kind of initiative stems from LafargeHolcim’s sustainability goal of transitioning towards low-carbon construction while supporting smaller businesses to grow with more sustainable products.

Building a more sustainable future

“Now that we’re working better thanks to Google Workspace, we’re ready to start using data to inform our business decisions. It’s great to know that with Google Cloud, that next step will be 100% sustainable.” -- Paul Young, Head of Communication & Collaboration Digital Solutions, LafargeHolcim

LafargeHolcim sets out to make a positive contribution to society and to tackle climate change, inequality and other global challenges. That’s why the company is committed to sustainable construction, and it turns to innovation to achieve this goal. “Our company is on its way to becoming a net zero company,” explains Paul. “But how do we enable the business to grow, while keeping our products and practices sustainable? Adopting the cloud-based collaboration tools offered by Google Workspace has meant less physical travel, a trend accelerated as a result of Covid-19, but we’re looking beyond that. We’re thinking about whether we should renew our data centers, or take a bigger step and move them to the cloud.”

“It matters to us that Google Cloud runs 100% on renewable energy,” he adds, explaining that the company is keeping a close eye on how new tools and processes are helping teams align with the company’s sustainability vision, and prepare for what’s next: “Now that we’re working better thanks to Google Workspace, we’re ready to start using data to inform our business decisions. It’s great to know that with Google Cloud, that next step will be 100% sustainable.”

According to Paul, Google Cloud will have an impact on company strategy. “If we can start extracting data and making it useful, with applications that make sense for the business, that’s where our teams will start adding huge value,” he shares. “I’m really excited about diving into Google Cloud, that’s where I really see the potential for a big value-add.”

*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.