• By: Christina Brigerman
  • July 31, 2019


Clear Mountain Bank is a locally owned community bank serving north-central West Virginia and western Maryland, providing a variety of services for Personal Banking, Business Banking, Mortgages, Investments and more. With 168 employees and 13 branches, it’s important for the bank to streamline communications in an efficient and effective way.

The Challenge:

Clear Mountain Bank had an intranet solution but after a series of frustrations, the team was ready for a change that would allow them to personalize and segment communication with employee workgroups. There were hampered by their existing intranet that didn’t offer the branding customization they wanted, the back end was not user friendly, and updates were costly and cumbersome.

“We wanted to personalize the look and feel of our employee intranet in creative ways that just weren’t possible with our previous solution,” said Tracy Burns, Clear Mountain Bank’s Marketing Associate.

“Without the ability to segment the type of messaging our employees received, we were limited on how we could communicate through our intranet,” said Pam Bolyard, Payroll and Benefits Administrator.

Over time it became clear they needed to look for a new solution, especially as bridging communication between branches became a central priority. As they considered next steps, they knew It would be important that customer service and technical resources be affordable and available during their working hours (their previous solution was headquarters in Australia).

The Solution:

The selection team looked at 3-4 options – as the evaluation period came to close, Passageways OnSemble won out. The responsiveness and helpfulness of the Passageways team went above and beyond their expectations; from the start, the product was intuitive, and its customizable drag and drop interface made creating and updating the intranet a breeze.

“After struggling with technical and customer support teams in a very different time zone for years, we were impressed with the quick response from the team at Passageways,” said Burns.

To prepare for the design of a new intranet, the bank researched several different intranets to determine their desired look and layout. As they planned to push OnSemble live in August 2017, the implementation team leveraged their previous intranet to communicate the coming changes and prepare employees for the switch. A naming contest was held amongst employees to increase buy-in of the new site and the name ClearLink was selected.

At the time of the launch, in-branch and webinar trainings were offered along with a tips and tricks guide. “Millennial staff had very little trouble finding their way around the new portal and helped with the training. We only had to hold the hand of our more seasoned employees for a little while.” said Bolyard.

The Result:

ClearLink was received with great feedback. Employees were particularly impressed by the ability to search the entire intranet for documents, resources, policies, and more – a critical feature absent from their previous solution. “Overall, it was an easy transition,” Bolyard added.

OnSemble on Launch Day

Department pages were created to make information easy to access for everyone. Users can subscribe to the pages that pertain to their jobs and eliminate information not relevant to them.

Before the launch of OnSemble, Products & Services manuals were printed manually in a binder and the process of updating was up to each individual. Those manuals are now housed on ClearLink, so information is always current and there are no old versions floating around. For example, the bank recently did a Visa to MasterCard conversion, sharing, “I can’t imagine doing this without our OnSemble portal. We would have had to send so many emails to manage the transition without ClearLink.” says Bolyard.

“Our communication is now more targeted and relevant to each employee and the response to that has been amazingly positive.” said Burns. Employee Updates & Opportunities is one of the most popular pages, where promotions, transfers, new employees, employee goodbyes, and career opportunities are shared.

The CEO blog stands out as an employee favorite that provides an opportunity to offer feedback directly to him and the leadership team. “ClearLink makes our world just a little smaller,” Burns remarked.

ClearLink enables the bank to create a cohesive message and communicate it to all employees. Their volunteer program called Clear Mountain Cares is housed on the intranet. The portal is used to share opportunities for volunteer opportunities (via help desk), to share volunteer photos, and a place to recap how their volunteer experience went (all via the newsfeed app). These processes have helped reduce emails and manually tracking while increasing volunteerism in the bank by 153%.

They also have a little fun. Photo albums full of company parties, customer appreciation days, and more are housed on ClearLink so everyone can stay connected and involved.

“ClearLink helps with our culture of togetherness. It helps us be transparent and approachable and offers a more family-like environment.” says Burns.

“I came to the bank from another company in a different industry. When I was learning about the portal, I realized how helpful it is to employees across the bank. It is a place to organize documents, post internal news, search for information, and familiarize myself with bank employees and processes. We could have used something like this at my previous place of employment.” – Kim Dobrzynski, Director of Marketing.

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