“The stories we tell and the strategies we deliver are rooted in the experiences we create.”
Nearly everyone at some point in their careers has to onboard and that experience can be bumpy at the best of times. Our client asked us to figure out how to make onboarding not just better, but take technical sellers and make them customer ready within 90 days.
An organization inside of Microsoft needed to find away to help new hires become ready and engaged as quickly as possible. The program had been rebranded a few times but this time they needed something different, a new variable that would break through the craziness that accompanies a new hire.
Build a collection of role-based communities that provided cohorts a safe place to interact, ask questions, seek guidance, and onboard together.
The result was a safe place for new hires to ask questions and support one another. Participation in the community reached 46% within the first few weeks of the effort kicking off and showed strong signs of growth. Another benefit that came from this solution was a bi-directional listening system that informed program owners of where improvements could be made. There are now plans to use the data analysis to improve progression through the program.
Too often the channel of engagement we use are the safe and familiar paths of those who did the job before us. Our innovation typically comes in the form of content tweaks and prettier email banners. This was the case with Intel and the way they communicated with their partners. They weren’t doing anything wrong, they were just doing what had been done before. The difference, now there where more and more Intel teams who wanted to tap into the pipeline and the email messages
Carpool was hired to help understand what was happening to the communications going to partners, how they felt and what could potentially be done to improve the engagement between Intel and its massive network of partners.
We set out with surveys and interviews to better understand the pain points of the audience and also ask for potential solutions from internal stakeholders and the parters we interviewed. We compared what we found with the data Intel was getting from their email campaigns and from that defined opportunities and justified recommended strategy through actionable insights.
The data and sentiment, both numbers and quotes, was clear, and while we are not allowed to go into detail, we can share that there wasn’t one magic bullet/solution that was going to solve this issue. We were able to prescribe a range of strategic solutions from easy and simple to implement all the way up to high-investment and long-term roll out. The key was to first identify why the communications channel wasn’t working according to the recipients and then understanding what was being lost through the current practices of heavy email blasts.
Microsoft’s Advertising and Online’s (A&O) internal communications team needed to modernize the way their employees consumed organization news and to increase employee engagement with internal content. They wanted to reinforce the holistic Microsoft A&O story by sourcing and sharing business-critical information from the field.
People weren’t reading really long emails so they missed out on important information.
Carpool provided tools and strategic resources to shift Advertising and Online’s internal communications from a newsletter-driven approach to dynamic team sites. We transformed an existing SharePoint site into a communal publishing platform with intuitive hashtag-driven curation.
The new site enabled A&O to pivot the communications strategy from mass email newsletters to story-driven content sharing of sales wins, best practices, and insights from the field. “It showed a whole story—not just disconnected articles—it was a holistic story,” according to one of the project leads.
Increased employee engagement with content from 35 percent to 85 percent
Launched “Leadership Series” that increased Leadership Effectiveness Inventory score by nearly 10 percent
After rapid growth and a multitude of new business acquisitions, Eaton Corporation, a 100-year-old global power management company with $20 billion in annual sales, needed a way to connect sales employees with relevant information from leadership that informs, and engages, as well as building community through conversation. They turned to Carpool to help develop a new internal communications and content strategy using their newly acquired licenses to Office 365.
The field needs a proactive voice from leadership that turns current email announcements into live conversations.
Through interview and subsequent analyses, Carpool identified key pain points in the existing communications strategy for employees. We also demonstrated the value of working out loud by “walking the talk” and handling all client work and communications over open, collaborative platforms.
Carpool created a pain-point analysis, community engagement plan, initial blog posts based on employee research, a content publishing cadence and future content ideas, and provided a playbook with rules and guidelines behind the ongoing content and community strategies. This gave Eaton insights to help drive new business initiatives by empowering employees with vital information, while simultaneously proving out to the IT department the value of their recently acquired Office 365 licenses.
The team approached Carpool to restructure its internal monthly reporting tool that consisted of a 120+ page PowerPoint presentation and required hundreds of manhours and a dedicated employee to build and manage.
We identified an opportunity for the team to significantly reduce the time investment in monthly business updates and push communications.
Carpool helped transform that deck into articles and data driven visuals on the site that helped the team distribute information more easily by crowd sourcing to business leads, which allowed them to devote resources elsewhere.
The change resulted in a 260% increase in communications efficiency (time saved). The “always on” reporting tool is used by executives to track progress and make more accurate decisions in less time. Meeting prep and time spent in reporting meetings was cut in half and distributed throughout the month. The team is also minus one head-count.
The Xbox team initially came to us asking for help with using Yammer. We asked them to step back and tell us why - what was it they really needed? It turns out they had a clear goal to make Xbox employees better connected, informed, and heard, and trying Yammer in one small scenario was just their first step.
We then conducted a broader research project, including dozens of interviews with a cross-section of their 4000 employees. One of the themes that came through clearly was a need for more cross-organizational transparency. Most sharing of strategic direction was happening in opaque meetings that not everyone could attend or infrequent org-wide emails.
This led to the creation of a family of SharePoint sites for formal publishing and connected Yammer groups for broad email-free conversations. The environment employed a consistent design, community management to drive the right culture, and analytics across all channels to monitor progress.
The team is transforming the way they communicate internally. Channels that had never been used previously saw 40% reach (SharePoint) and 300% growth (Yammer). More new channels such as Microsoft Teams and Skype Broadcast are seeing active investment and integration into core rhythms of the business. After 6 months, a plateau in usage was explained by our ongoing interviews: the content wasn’t compelling enough. This is now driving a shift toward more exclusive, video-driven content about the people and culture that unites the team.
The academics team at Facebook was looking for a way to keep recruitment of the top research talent high and continue publishing relevant research for the consumers of Facebook, including advertisers. They were losing talent to their competitors, Google and Apple, and internal team members suffered from a lack of communication that would boost morale and interest in Facebook Academics.
In order to engage potential candidates and establish cross-functional communication within the Academics team, we recognized the need for a dynamic platform where events and content were easily accessible. Fostering more cross-functional communication and awareness within the department creates more visibility for the researchers both internally and externally.
Carpool developed a content strategy, content calendar and website as a hub for all department communications and external recruitment. Research fellows, published articles as well as upcoming research events were all included in the communication ecosystem. Once the site was up and the content strategy implemented, we acted as community managers to keep information up-to-date and in real time.
Microsoft’s Retail and Online Stores team approached us to help them encourage their global employees to use Yammer in better alignment with policy. They believed a more official presence and purpose would help.
Before our engagement had even begun, we brought insights from the data for Microsoft’s internal network to which we already had access. This allowed us to not only bring ready solutions to their business challenge, but to illustrate the exact scope and nature of their current compliance gap. We knew which groups were being used by their employees, and which were the most active, some of which were private groups, operating without the corporate office’s knowledge. We were also able to go into those groups and identify a broad set of use cases where Yammer was being used to derive real business value. This information became the basis on which to build the positive messaging corporate wanted to provide around the use of Yammer by retail employees.
In cooperation with Microsoft IT, we recommended a set of Yammer groups that would help align usage to policy, but would also address many of the other key business goals of the organization. We built out these groups and provided the necessary change management plans and documentation to foster more engagement and replicate the business value already being realized in pockets of the organization.