The collection of The Scheepvaartmuseum is one of the biggest and most prominent maritime collections in the world. But behind the scenes, it's also important for employees to know what is happening in- and outside the museum. And as of now: Plek will play an important role in this! 

Better informed via the mobile app
Improved online social interaction
Knowledge sharing via a centralised communications platform
Improved collaboration through specific groups

It is an oasis of tranquility, right in the middle of the hectic capital of the Netherlands: the majestic 17th century building next to the Amsterdam Dok, close to the IJ river. The ideal spot for a museum about the maritime history of our country. Around 150 employees and volunteers stay informed about what's happening within the organisation thanks to Plek. The social intranet contributes to a feeling of solidarity. 'Departments are better aware of what we are busy with and what we are working on.'  

The Scheepvaartmuseum tells the story of 500 year Dutch Maritime History. The collection of the "Scheepvaartmuseum" is one of the biggest and most prominent collections in the world, with over 400.000 objects such as paintings, ship models, navigation instruments and world maps. 


But there is a complete other world behind the scenes, according to advisor internal communication Jolien Heiser and online coordinator Anne-Kee Bast. Different departments who work closely together: Collection & Presentation, Education & Public Activities, Marketing & Communication, HR, Finance and ICT. But also the kitchen, events, the museumshop, operations and security. And with so many departments, it is important that everybody is well aware of what is happening within the organisation. 

Collaborate easier together 

The museum can't work without the effort of a big group of volunteers, explains Jolien. All together, around 150 people work within the museum, 120 regular staff en around 30 volunteers. "Actually there are two groups of volunteers," explains Jolien. "One group that works on the steamship De Christiaan Brunings. They take care of the maintenance of the boat and organise cruises. The other group works in our library." 

"To improve and optimalize collaboration and connections between these different group of employees, volunteers and departments, we wanted to create a central and transparant communication platform in which we could share knowledge and information and could post messages and ask questions." 

We choose Plek. What we like the most, is the social aspect of it. "It makes our communication interactive and contributes to the solidarity feeling because people can leave comments and likes anytime anywhere. Very easy because you can also use Plek on your mobile. For employees who don't have a desktop, such as colleagues in the catering, security or kitchen, it's a brilliant way to stay informed!"


Keeping track

Also for volunteers, who are not present on a daily basis - sometimes even only once per week - the intranet is an important source of information to know what is happening in and outside the organisation. And not only topdown information - volunteers can also post or comment themselves. "They share things when the Christiaan Brunings ship has been revised or made a speciale cruise, or when something cool has been discovered in the archives of the library for example," explains Jolien.

The launch: all sails ahead

The Scheepvaartmuseum took the advice of Plek to involve everybody of the organisation early in the process seriously. 

How did you do this? 

Jolien: “We made a so called cross-section of the organisation and created a special ambassadors group. This group of 15 people had to, from the beginning and the launch, stimulate the use of Plek.

Anne-Kee: “They where also very important during the implementation process - and made sure there was support within the organisation. Colleagues can still ask questions in this ambassadors group.

There was also a core team of four colleagues of ICT, Communication, HR and Operations. They were there during the introduction of Plek. When Plek was live, the core team ceased to exist. Jolien took over the daily management, She is now the first point of contact for questions and other remarks about the platform and also monitors current events, relevance and quality of the content on the intranet. 

How do the different departments work together and which role plays Plek in this? 

Jolien: “Departments are now better aware of what is happening. We still don't use it as a central work environment in which you can work on documents together. But that will be our ultimate goal." 

How do you make the Plek-environment lively and rich in content?  

Anne-Kee: “We try to make content as interesting and relevant as possible for colleagues. On the other hand, you need to make sure that you don't offer an overload of information - because there is a potential risk that people might not read your content anymore. We also try to attract people to Plek by organising specific actions. Such as our recent marketing competition: colleagues who completely filled in their profile including a profile picture, could win free tickets for a lying concert in our own museum. It's nice to see that more and more colleagues find Plek and also actively share information together."

You mentioned it before: to make an intranet a succes, it is important it's supported throughout the organisation. Does the board of the Scheepvaartmuseum play an important and active role on Plek?

Jolien: “Definitely! The board is very active on Plek and also gives the right example. They follow posts and respond to it. And they also publish messages on a regular basis.

Jolien: “According to responses of colleagues we now know that they are much better aware of what is happening in- and outside the walls of the museum. And that was exactly what we were aiming for!"

Which lessons are learned?

Jolien: “We wanted a platform in which everybody in the organisation could post ideas, activities and questions. And since we went from - not a platform at all - to something completely new, this was exactly what we were aiming for!"

Anne-Kee adds: “Secondary there was the wish that Plek could replace the function of Whatsapp-groups, but this didn't happen yet. We still need to find out why: do people find it difficult to communicate in a new environment? Is it a technical thing? Or is there something else which we don't know yet?


What is according to you the biggest win of this platform? 

Jolien: “According to responses of colleagues we now know that the are much better aware of what is happening in- and outside the walls of the museum. And that was exactly what we were aiming for!"