An international family of churches unites

Catch The Fire is an international family of churches and ministries, headquartered in Toronto, Canada. Their global reach includes churches, a training college with international campuses, numerous mission programs, and countless special events around the world. Catch The Fire’s staff of over 200 includes employees, volunteers, and interns.

The organization’s structuring was often complex, confusing, and fragmented. There were numerous small teams across the globe that felt disconnected and confused at how they contributed to each other. Catch The Fire chose the Jostle® intranet for its unique ability to clarify and connect teams, no matter where they are or what tools they use. The Jostle platform helps Catch the Fire to improve communication among its hundreds of worldwide employees and helps them make the most of their Google Apps collaboration tools.

  • Company:
    Catch The Fire
  • Size & Locations:
    200+ staff across a global network of churches
  • Sector:
    Religious Institutions
  • Interviewee:
    Benjamin Jackson, Director of Communications

Challenge

Catch The Fire’s organizational structuring was often complex, confusing, and fragmented. While there was clarity in the Toronto head office, there were numerous small teams all around the world that felt disconnected and confused at how they contributed to each other.

“We had so many charismatic leaders, but these leaders each had their own teams, and their ideas and inspiration seldom crossed over to other employees”

Benjamin Jackson, Director of Communications Benjamin Jackson
Director of Communications

While many people were familiar with the heads of the departments, they were unaware of who the rest of the employees were and what their roles were. This caused considerable hierarchy challenges. Since no one knew who anyone reported to, many employees escalated their questions/concerns to the highest person in the chain of command. This top person would often give the go ahead, therefore discrediting the hierarchy below them. There was also a culture where employees took on tasks that did not really fit their skills or role because they had difficulty saying no, as is often the case with non-profits.

Catch The Fire was so frustrated and eager to understand their reporting structure that a group of people started taping photos to a wall and placing strings to represent reporting relationships. While the intention of this was to clarify the internal organizational structure, it instead revealed how confusing the structure actually was. It was even discovered that some employees had multiple bosses.

Email was also causing issues. A lot of employees relied on email for most communication. This unfortunately resulted in over communication and irrelevant postings. Benjamin tried
a variety of things such as disabling the ability to mass email. While this solved the immediate problem of too much email, it also prevented employees from collaborating as large groups.

Finding a solution

Realizing their internal challenges, Catch The Fire began working hard on a ministry-wide reorganization to help bring clarity to their unique culture.

Catch The Fire first discovered the Jostle intranet during a search on the Google Apps Marketplace. The Marketplace is a one-stop tool shop for businesses and allows third-party software vendors to tie into Google’s standard apps, including Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Drive. “The increase in cloud-based tools has helped us communicate on everything that we do, but even with amazing modern tools, employee communication in a global context was still a challenge.”

Catch The Fire also investigated several competing tools, but they were often ‘bloated’ with unnecessary feature sets. Catch The Fire was hesitant to use any tools that were too social, as they feared many staff simply wouldn’t see the value in them. They needed something clean and simple. It was really important for Catch The Fire to have a tool that included a recognition feature, which is exactly what Jostle’s Shout-Outs do. Jostle’s platform was the perfect balance, providing the exact feature set they need.

Organizational clarity

The primary benefit for Catch The Fire has been organizational clarity. Employees now understand why they are valued, where they fit, and why they matter. Rather than relying on a wall with strings to clarify relationships, Catch The Fire now uses Jostle’s RELATIONSHIPS view. This is a unique view that shows who is doing what, where, and includes a powerful, patent-pending, people-finding technology.

“We’re constantly forming and reforming teams that involve staff located all over the world. Jostle provides an easy way to do this in a very people-centric, visual way. I’m just thrilled we’ve found the Jostle platform and we’re already enjoying the way that it is bringing clarity and unity to our complex and evolving organization,” added Jackson.

Thanks to Jostle, top executives are experiencing less work interruption and are now more confident in their employees, therefore empowering and reinforcing authority. “We are exponentially more organized since using the Jostle intranet,” commented Jackson.

“We’re constantly forming and reforming teams that involve staff located all over the world. I’m just thrilled we’ve found the Jostle intranet and we’re already enjoying the way that it is bringing clarity and unity to our complex and evolving organization.”

Benjamin Jackson, Director of Communications Benjamin Jackson
Director of Communications

Empowering content contributors

Jostle has helped make Benjamin’s job easier by letting him empower content contributors. Unlike many competing tools that require ownership and management from IT, Jostle allows Benjamin to provide publishing rights over features like NEWS and LIBRARY. This makes his job of “owning” Catch The Fire’s Jostle community easier.

Providing clear ownership like this is a key strategy used throughout the Jostle platform. It allows the person that most cares about some specific aspect of the organization, such as the benefits program or a project team, to take full control of it. All the tools they need to publish and curate great content are built right in.

A culture of recognition

Like many organizations, Catch The Fire had no easy way of recognizing simple achievements and giving thanks where it was due, within their existing culture. Shout-Outs has brought a culture of recognition to life. Shout-Outs is a feature on the Jostle platform that allows employees to ‘shout-out’ and quickly recognize the contributions of others.

“Staff are now taking the time to praise one another and reach out for colleague feedback on topics they never thought to before. This truly surprised me, since we bring together people from many generations at locations all over the world, and haven’t done a great job in the past of encouraging this kind of thing,” commented Jackson.

“Staff are now taking the time to praise one another and reach out for colleague feedback on topics they never thought to before.”

Benjamin Jackson, Director of Communications Benjamin Jackson
Director of Communications

Multi-locational and multi-generational

The biggest surprise for Benjamin has been the employees who are using the intranet. “I am amazed at the level of engagement, especially our older employees who aren’t usually engaged with technology.”

To ensure engagement levels are kept high, a weekly digest is sent out to employees via email from Jostle. It includes interesting articles and relevant Shout-Outs, which appeal to the individual user. “The email digest absolutely helps because it always reminds people,” said Jackson.

Contributing to the design of the Jostle platform

Jostle interacts closely with its customers to continuously improve and enhance its platform. Jonathan Puddle, Director of Technology Services at Catch The Fire, has become a key go-to user for getting early input on innovative new features.

“We’ve used participatory design methods worldwide to design and refine our platform. This provides us with a clear understanding of user and organizational needs and wants that we then combine with Jostle’s own design expertise,” said Brad Palmer, Jostle’s CEO. “Jonathan Puddle was instrumental in sharing insights that fostered a deeper understanding of their organization and the relevant work on its own terms, in its own settings.”

An organization with a conscience

Like many non-profit organizations, it was important for Catch The Fire to choose an Intranet provider that shared similar ethics. “Who we do business with is as important as the business we do. With Jostle, it was evident early on that their passion was deeply rooted in employee engagement and improving culture,” said Jackson.

About Jostle Corporation

Jostle is the creator of a new kind of intranet that is designed to help leaders engage their workforce. Its elegance and relevance yield exceptional participation rates – exceeding five times industry standards. Jostle’s intranet is turnkey, cloud-based, and requires no IT resources. For more information contact info@jostle.me or visit us online at www.jostle.me.