YourCause interview: Choosing and using a new intranet.
Business: Employee Engagement for giving, volunteering and sustainability.
Interviewee: Dustin Joost, Head of Sales and Marketing
Challenge: Rapidly growing tech company needs to coordinate, communicate and collaborate in a way that matches their personality and values.
Level of participation: 69% weekly, 87% monthly
How do the engagers engage? I spoke with Dustin Joost, Head of Sales and Marketing at YourCause – an employee engagement platform. Noticing the similarities in our mission, we spent some time talking about what employee engagement is, and why its challenging and the kind of great things that result when it works.
Lavoy: What does YourCause do?
Joost: YourCause is a technology company that helps other companies do good.
We do that by providing a platform where our clients can engage their employees in giving, volunteering and sustainability initiatives. It’s a community where employees can go to log volunteer hours, create volunteer events, and give to charities via credit card, payroll deductions.
Lavoy: Why did you need an intranet?
Joost: Growth and communication. Even when we were a company of 25, every team had a different way to communicate, and that meant there was no global communication. For a company to succeed, there needs to be a marriage between that task-focused, detailed team collaboration and the more global and inclusive communication that makes an organization work effectively as a whole and feel like a place you belong.
Really to be honest, we’re growing so fast, that it got hard to keep track of everybody.
Every week we have 3 to 4 new people coming to the office, and so Jostle allows us to just look at the profile pictures of those people, and see their contact information, understand what role they play in the company. But also understand what knowledge they bring to the company through the skills Cloud and their ability for them to link that to their LinkedIn profile.
Lavoy: Why Jostle?
Joost: The search process for an intranet was pretty painful. There’s got to be 1200+ intranet tools out there. We had our list of hard requirements and we had our list of soft requirements. The hard list was pretty basic: document sharing, some type of news posting service, and collaboration. Then we had our soft requirements.
We wanted the software to somehow reflect our personality and core values as a company: partnership, customer service, flexibility and fun. Fun was a really important one for the intranet. A lot of the intranet tools that I looked at were similar to Wiki’s. There was a lot of architecting that you would have to do during implementation. You had to construct all of your Wikis, you had to define permissions and the UI just wasn’t fun. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t something that I saw our team members coming on to every day and getting excited about using.
The truth is we didn’t know exactly what we were looking for, but when I found Jostle, I knew that’s exactly what wanted. It had all the hard requirements, the documents, the libraries, the discussions, but then it also had the soft requirements including the ability to get the champions we already had on the team engaged as contributors. That gave them ownership and responsibility. And they spread their excitement to the team.
Lavoy: How’d it work out from a tech perspective?
Joost: From a technology perspective, Jostle made it really easy. Being a Software as a Service based company, which we are ourselves, we understand that SaaS software is inherently easy to implement – but Jostle takes a really interesting approach with it. You’re assigned an implementation manager who can walk you through all the technical specifics, which are very minimal.
It’s an online tool so there’s no need to download any type of software. It was really no system requirements that you need to run through. They make you feel good about security as well, so, the technology issues were very minimal. In fact, our tech team was pretty excited about how easy it was going to be to get Jostle set up.
Lavoy: Have you seen any impact from a business perspective?
Joost: We’re a technology company – we’re always developing new software and it’s very hard to keep everybody on the loop on what new features or bug fixes are coming out.
We do biweekly code pushes, which means every two weeks, there’s something new in the platform.
Prior to Jostle, our way to communicate out those production code pushes was primarily through email.
The challenge with that is it gets lost in your inbox, and if anybody actually has a conversation about those code pushes, they either don’t hit reply all or it’s just a very siloed conversation.
With Jostle, we do a new NEWS story every time we have a code push, and then the comment section allows people to talk about what’s going on in that code push.
Not only does our tech team know what’s happening, but our account managers, client services and our sales and marketing team are all on the same page when it comes to what we’re actually pushing out as a company.
Every time we have a little win or we do something that we want to celebrate, we would run out of our room, celebrate with the whole company.
But, if somebody wasn’t there that day, they don’t really get the news of what we actually accomplish. We have a lot of small wins that we like to celebrate like submitting an art piece or getting shortlisted with a prospect and a lot of that isn’t something we want to go run around the whole company and celebrate, but Jostle gave us a place to share it and feel good.
Lavoy: What’s your personal perspective on your new intranet?
Joost: On a personal note, I think Jostle is just fun. If you look at our Jostle community home page, I’d say about 50% of it is all about our code pushes and what we’re doing from a client services or account management or even sales and marketing perspective, but then, the other 50% is celebrating what we’re doing on a personal level. The other day, we did a big company-wide poll on what color Kirsten, who’s one of our account manager, should dye her hair.
We did a big Jostle news story for everybody to share all their Halloween pictures, so it’s really helped engage our remote employees that we can’t just talk to every Monday morning in the office and talk about what they did, but it gives them a place to collaborate and feel like they’re part of the culture as well.
Lavoy: I understand you approached your Jostle Intranet rollout as a way for you to understand your own customers better.
Joost: We wanted to see what our clients go through when they roll out a new tool, because we want to develop best practices for them. I mean we have a great piece of software, but the next evolution is to help customers be even more successful with it. So we rolled it out thinking about it from a client point of view. What does it really take to roll out new software, and get people engaged with it?
Jostle gives us a place for us to keep the entire company in the loop on what we do here in sales and marketing. It really let’s us celebrate the small wins. Every time we respond to an RFP, yeah we didn’t win the business yet, but it gives us a chancec to say, “We worked pretty hard on this RFP. Why don’t you check out the work that we did, and the way we’re representing our company.
Do you have a story to tell? We’d love to hear it at firstname.lastname@example.org.