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Hootsuite Hasn't Sent a Company-Wide Email in Months and Communications is Way Better

Posted by Bill Cushard on October 26, 2017

On October 18, 2017, Workplace by Facebook hosted a fireside chat called Workplace Goes Live with Hootsuite. Ursula Llabres, Customer Growth Lead for the Americas at Workplace by Facebook interviewed Kirsty Traill, VP of Customers at Hootsuite, who is responsible for Global Customer Support, Voice of Customer, Customer Experience and Customer Marketing. It is a fairly large team of 80 people across 5 global locations, which by itself demonstrates the priority Hootsuite places on being customer-focused. 

It is fitting then that Hootsuite's head of customers is the spokeswoman for their Workplace implementation because Workplace is used not only as a means to engage employees at Hootsuite, but also to improve how customer teams collaborate around improving the customer experience.

There are many lessons in this interview about how organizations can use Workplace to improve the employee experience and the customer experience. 

I'd like to highlight a few.

Please watch the video. It will inspire you to take a long look at using Workplace in your organization.

Lesson 1: Groups bring your teams closer together

If your organization is like most, you don't have everyone in one office. You probably don't even have very many teams that share the same office. This is certainly true for Hootsuite. Hootsuite uses Workplace Groups to bring teams together. During the interview, Traill provides several useful examples of how Hootsuite uses Groups. 

Here are just two.

Customer Teams

"Communication across such a diverse and geographically dispersed team is critical," says Traill. "I post a monthly update which summarizes key highlights across the team for the previous month, results against KPIs and a snapshot of what is coming up in the following month. I also call out some key individuals for their contributions that month, and provide a new hires and departures update." 

Traill also talks about how each of the customer teams communicate with each other around customer issues.

People Teams

Traill's customer teams are not the only teams using Workplace. Traill explains how and why "People" groups at Hootsuite have such high engagement (95% weekly active participation in some cases). Here are a few examples:

  1. Peeps Group: The Peeps Group is an all employee group used primarily for all employee announcements.
  2. Owls on the Move: In this group, messages are posted to announce promotions, new hires, departures and other messages related to employee growth and movement.
  3. Location-specific Groups: Hootsuite has a group for each office location. Not only does this allow employees in those offices to have localized discussions, but it also allows employees who are traveling to other offices to tap into the local office culture before arriving. This makes arrivals and office visits much more productive because travelers can get involved and meet people before they arrive. 
  4. Shoutouts Group: This group allows anyone to post positive messages about anyone in the company for any reason and anytime they want. The best part of the Shoutouts group is that this group was created by an employee and Hootsuite does not auto-provision employees into this group. If an employee wants to participate in this group, they have to join it. According to Traill, "People were not automatically provisioned to join this group, but EVERYONE in the company is in it. 100% adoption from 1000 people! It is one of our most active groups." Employees chose to join this group.

Hootsuite has numerous other teams that use groups including the product, sales, and executive teams. Traill talks about those in the video as well. 

Lesson 2: Executive teams that communicate in groups drive employees to groups

Members of the Hootsuite executive team use Workplace as the primary means of communicating to all employees. For example, Penny Wilson, Chief Marketing Officer, posts the marketing monthly update in Workplace. CEO Ryan Holmes uses Workplace Live every week to give an update to all employees summarizing the week at Hootsuite and recognizing key achievements from team members. These executive updates are key to driving employees to Workplace because that is where company updates from executives occur. If you want to hear from Holmes and/or other executives and/or ask questions, you have to do it in Workplace. 

Driving executive communications in Workplace has been key to gaining such wide-spread adoption.

Lesson 3: You can eliminate email distribution lists by posting ALL company-wide announcements in Workplace

My favorite part of the interview is when Traill says, "We make all our important company announcements on Workplace." This is fine, but if Hootsuite also continued to send these announcements via email, the posts in Workplace are just more noise. But Hootsuite didn't do this. "We haven’t sent an organization-wide email in months. Workplace has completely replaced our “all peeps” distro list."

Hootsuite is eliminating email distribution lists by moving all communications that would normally be conducted on distribution lists to corresponding groups. 

I cannot stress this enough: communications channels need to be clear and there can only be one. You cannot divide employees' attention. If you do, employees will choose one channel (likely not the one you want) or, worse, choose none and disengage. 

Lesson 4: Live video is the key to delivering a consistent, global employee communication experience

Hootsuite conducts quarterly all employee meetings, which have traditionally been conducted out of their Vancouver headquarters. The challenge has always been to deliver those in a way so that all employees could participate. Not an easy thing to do. Workplace Live video has made it possible for Hootsuite to run these meetings so that all employees can join. For starters, the live videos are automatically saved in Workplace so employees can watch the meetings anytime and on their mobile phone from anywhere. Secondly, Q&A can also come from anywhere, but since it happens in the comments of that video, Q&A is always in context and easily discoverable. Now, there is one central source of Q&A tied to each quarterly meeting directly. 

Main lesson: Workplace is where the action is so that's where employees go to get it

One of the main points that Traill makes in her interview is that Hootsuite was able to gain such high and wide-spread adoption of Workplace because it systematically moved critical communications into Workplace and eliminated old ways of doing it. For example, executive updates and company-wide announcements, plus the elimination of email distribution lists. Over time, employees developed a new habit of getting company announcements in Workplace. "Workplace has helped us deliver a self-serve approach to finding and sharing the information we need to do our jobs, and stay engaged and motivated at work," explains Traill. "The [ Workplace] News Feed is now a reliable source of content for our people - the right content served up at the right time." 


[ Recorded Webinar] State of Workplace Bots in 2017

Another way to ensure you gain widespread adoption of employees in Workplace is to move more and more work into Workplace. One way to do that is with bots. Bots in Workplace can be a new interface into other enterprise software tools and automate some tasks making it easier for employees to get what they need. ServiceRocket teamed up with Converse.ai to answer questions about who is using Workplace bots, how are they being used, and how organizations are thinking about bots considering they are so early in development. We then ran a webinar to discus the results. To learn more about theresults of this survey and learn more about what is possible with bots, just click the button below to get thewebinar recording. 

Get me started with Workplace

Topics: Workplace by Facebook, Hootsuite, Ryan Holmes, Converse AI, Kristy Traill, Ursula Llabres

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