How has Haiilo improved the internal communication of Johanniter Accident Assistance?

  • Full-time and volunteer helpers

  • Active social intranet users

  • Editorial pages

The Johanniter organisation (JUH) launched its latest social intranet with Haiilo over 5 years ago and improved communications with both full time and volunteers overnight.  JUH is one of the largest aid organizations in Europe, and known as St Johns Ambulance in the UK, and other versions similar around the world. As part of the Protestant Order of St. John, whose roots go back to the Middle Ages, the organization is part of a long tradition of providing help especially in times of emergency and for the infirm.

Since its foundation in 1952, Johanniter has been active in various social and charitable areas. It works closely with other organizations, authorities and civil agencies to provide effective help, when its needed and make a positive contribution to people’s lives.

The core areas of JUH include:

  • Rescue and medical service
  • Disaster control
  • Support and care for the elderly, sick and refugees
  • Transport service for people with reduced mobility

JUH currently employs around 29,000 full-time staff. In addition, there are more than 46,000 volunteers. The organization has nine state associations and over 200 regional, district and local associations in Germany. Johanniter International Assistance also has several international locations.


What communication challenges did JUH face?

In 2003, JUH introduced a nationwide intranet. However, the system proved to be too static and not user-friendly in everyday use. As a result, the number of registered users declined over the years.

At the same time, the demands on information management at JUH increased continuously. In order to meet the need for quickly available, up-to-date information as well as the desire for more exchange and dialogue between teams, JUH gradually supplemented its static intranet with a range of media for internal communication. These included, for example, employee magazines with complex editorial structures and video / multimedia.

In addition, the regional associations developed their own newsletters to plug he gaps. On the contrary, other partners, dispensed with regional internal communication media, which led to insular knowledge and information gaps amongst teams and locations.


An employee survey conducted in 2014 provided clear feedback: the flow of information and knowledge management within the organization needed to be improved. Full-time and voluntary staff wanted to network better across the individual associations and be actively involved in internal communication.

This feedback reinforced the JUH’s decision to introduce a modern social intranet. They had one clear vision:

“To create ONE modern, everyday platform for communication, information, networking and knowledge sharing for all JUH employees, and helpers to facilitate collaboration.”

The key objectives in developing the platform were to:

  • Simplify and accelerate work processes
  • Enable and promote simple, direct and cross-location interaction
  • Create transparency and secure expertise
  • Create a protected space for digital collaboration
Carsten Grimme - Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe

Haiilo’s social intranet transforms the top-down nature of our internal communications into a genuine dialogue. This makes it easier for all Johanniter employees, whether volunteers or full-time staff, to network and identify with the organization. We are also creating a modern and innovative working environment: a truly digital JUH community.

Carsten Grimme
Project manager and Head of the board at the Saxony-Anhalt/Thuringia regional association

Why Haiilo?

In order to find the perfect social intranet for the organization, JUH took a close look at the market and evaluated over 100 tools based on a predefined list of criteria. In addition to content requirements, this also included IT-relevant criteria and legal framework conditions. Benchmarking was carried out to further narrow down the selection and various software solutions were tested.

The following aspects set Haiilo apart from the competition:

  • Modern design and very good usability
  • Focus on exchange and collaboration
  • High standards in terms of data protection and IT security
  • Mobile use with modern app and access via various devices

How did the introduction of Haiilo go?

The kick-off of the overall project took place in November 2016. This was followed by a test phase lasting several months with eight pilot groups from different areas of the organization. The members put the Haiilo platform through its paces and evaluated the various functions using a grading system.

In September 2018, JUH went live with the Haiilo platform for the entire workforce. After just a short time, the social intranet had over 17,000 users and more and more full-time and volunteer members of the organization joined. Today, six years later, the number of users has grown to around 30,000.

To ensure a successful live launch, it was important to prepare employees for the new communication platform at an early stage and involve them in the project. To do this JUH launched a comprehensive communication campaign around the launch:

  1. A few months before the go-live, the organization sent out a multi-part newsletter series to the entire workforce. The project teams offered JUH employees and helpers insights into the preparation phase and explained the benefits and functions of the social intranet. In addition, various central managers, including the JUH Federal Executive Board, highlighted the strategic importance of the new platform and emphasized the benefits that the changeover would bring for everyone. The aim of the newsletter was to get all employees excited about the project, take them on the journey and prepare them for the hoped-for cultural change.
  2. In an online survey, employees were able to provide feedback on current internal communication and identify potential areas for improvement. The survey was evaluated in the newsletter. The results and lessons learned by the eight pilot groups from the test phase were also communicated to the entire workforce.
  3. A naming competition, in which the five most popular suggestions competed against each other in an online vote, rounded off the launch of the social intranet. The community opted for the platform name “4juh“.
  4. From the early summer before 4juh went live, the organization offered its employees training. Particular attention was paid to involving managers at an early stage. Under the heading “Train the Trainer”, JUH trained several 4juh ambassadors / super-users in each regional association throughout Germany. The aim was to ensure that the regional associations became self-sufficient as early as possible – and the sessions were accompanied by training documents and a comprehensive editorial manual.

This meant that everyone involved was well prepared for the new social intranet and was able to participate in the new way of communicating from day one.


How JUH uses Haiilo in everyday life

Since its launch in September 2018, 4juh has developed into a lively platform on which a wide variety of topics can be found. On 4juh, all associations and nationwide departments have the opportunity to provide information about their area and give an insight into their own working environment. With the integrated messenger, the organization can also communicate fully within compliance with data protection and legal requirements.

Among other things, the social intranet is used to

  • Store documents centrally,
  • Write informational articles,
  • Seek collegial exchange,
  • Work together productively and manage tasks

On the pages of the social intranet, the organization provides classic top-down communication, but also offers direct feedback opportunities via the comment function. Members are regularly informed about current events in the organization or invited to nationwide events such as workshops and training courses.

Mock-up Johanniter Handy

Promoting peer-2-peer exchange within communities

Here are a few examples of exciting JUH communities:

  • All full-time and volunteer helpers who provided support at the annual Deichbrand rock festival were organized in a protected community “RockerRetter”. This is where they stored deployment documents and helper information, and direct contact options for exchanging information with each other and with the festival operations team. In addition, the most exciting reports and impressions of the individual days were edited in a blog and photo galleries created and stored.
  • Fans of Johanniter model cars and other collector’s items come together in a dedicated community.
  • Shortform videos were created and shared by some of JUH’s many priests, covering a current topic every week. This created a safe community and provided contemplation and mindfulness for users, and helped offset an often hectic working day.
Carsten Grimme - Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe

The communities are entirely in the hands of the users now. Employees can create communities themselves as they wish and use them for their own purposes. For example, the administration uses them to organize working groups and store documents such as minutes and presentations centrally for everyone. However personal topics that are not purely work-related also have a place in the communities.

Carsten Grimme
Project manager and Head of the board at the Saxony-Anhalt/Thuringia regional association

Increase engagement with quizzes and surveys

As part of the 4juh Advent calendar, JUH also introduced the two plug-in:  MMS Quiz and MMS Surveys.

Using a live example, users of the social intranet were able to see how easy it is to implement quizzes and surveys with the plug-ins and try out the functions for themselves. Among other things, site and community admins have used these features in blog posts to implement competitions, ask for feedback or incorporate playful elements such as small quiz questions relating to their own area of work. This increases engagement and ensures more interaction within the community.

Mock-up Johanniter Handy - Gewinnspiel Quiz

The Result: A strong community with strong communication

The new, dynmaic social intranet gives the organization the opportunity to network even more closely between and across full-time and voluntary staff, and to find like-minded people as well as new contacts. At the same time, 4juh serves as a rich resource and gateway to the organization’s diverse activities, showing what JUH is working for and what is happening in the associations keeping everyone up to date and connected.

Hauke Serger - Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe

Haiilo’s social intranet is a manifestation of what we all feel: Being part of a strong community with a common goal. As the platform can be accessed from both work and private devices, 4juh also offers St. John’s employees without a PC workstation in particular an opportunity to be an active part of the communication and community and to stay up to date.

Hauke Serger
Corporate Community Manager for Johanniter

The stats speak for themselves:

The old JUH intranet had around 4,000 users. Today, around 30,000 Johanniter members from all over Germany are registered on Haiilo’s new social intranet.

Mobile use is on the rise: in 2023, for the first time, 51% of users accessed the intranet via mobile devices rather than desktop.

The 4juh app, which has been available in the app stores since June 2022, has now been downloaded over 13,000 times.
Since its launch in 2018, over 50,000 blog articles have been published via the social intranet, almost 1.5 million messages have been sent via the 4juh chat and around 750,000 likes have been given.

As a central tool for information exchange & knowledge sharing, in real time and across multiple locations, Johanniter’s social intranet is an important building block in shaping the digitalization of JUH now and for the future. The 4juh social intranet strengthens the community, collaboration and performance of the entire organization.