Reposted from CEO Ray Gillenwater’s submission to the Examiner
Yes, the same companies that talk about employee engagementand then do little beyond an annual survey, will likely also relegate Voice of the Employee to buzz-word soup. These companies will talk about how innovation and excellence in customer satisfaction depend on listening to employees – and then they’ll go about business as usual. Not surprising.
That’s the bleak side of it. There are companies out there, however – modern, progressive companies, lead by 21st century managers, that will do more than just play lip-service to voice of the employee. These are the leaders that already actively seek out employee input to help spur innovation and solve the company’s biggest problems.
SpeakUp CEO Ray Gillenwater interviews URX CEO John Milinovich (Y Combinator Alumnus) on internal communications strategy for fast-growing companies.
Gillenwater:SpeakUp is featuring URX as company of the month because of this piece from First Round about startups and internal communications. To start, can you tell us briefly about URX and your mission?
Milinovich: URX’s mission is to bring relevance to the mobile experience. Today, mobile apps’ content is not universally accessible in the same way that the web is. Deeplinking helps bridge this gap, and URX enables mobile developers and marketers to take advantage of this technology to reconnect their apps to the web and benefit from a new way of driving in-app engagement.
At SpeakUp, we are maniacal about efficient communication – how to communicate, the tools to use and when to use what method of communication. We believe that a new concept or idea can only be fully realized if all stakeholders involved have a common understanding. Here are our favorite communication tools:
We do not use email for internal communication. We thrive on asynchronous, contextual conversations. We use Slack “channels” related to specific work streams, so that the team can reply at their convenience without having to dig through a mess of emails.
1. What is the story behind SpeakUp? What is your background, and what was the inspiration that led to founding the company? Any interesting anecdotes or moments that you can share about the story?
The aha moment for me was two years ago. I was 27 and a Managing Director at BlackBerry at the time, recently promoted to manage Australia and New Zealand. As an employee climbing the ranks, and a student of Communications, I always wondered how execs included their teams in problem solving, ideation, and the decision making process. What I discovered, was pretty surprising.
Hint: treat it like any other important initiative.
Step 1: Let everyone know that SpeakUp is coming
Make sure your team has context as to what SpeakUp is, and why everyone will love it. *Do you need an email template? Drop us a line.
Step 2: If you haven’t done so already, Invite the team and assign a “SpeakUp Lead”
The SpeakUp Lead ensures that all invitees are signed-up, voting/commenting/posting, and makes checking SpeakUp a part of their work-week.
In business, the term employee engagement is thrown around with varying degrees of meaning. It has unfortunately joined a number of other important concepts – transparency, collaboration, and inclusion, to name a few of my favorites – and has lost some of its impact.
To revive its core meaning, let’s first define what engagement is not. For instance, true engagement cannot be achieved simply by:
Good news! We are now accepting our first customer trials for SpeakUp. If you manage people and are looking to be one of the first to more effectively tap into your team’s collective brainpower, request an invitation to our closed beta. Or, if you’re an employee and you know that management would benefit from more team input, we’d like to hear from you.
We’re anxious to help you reach the next level in company performance, but please keep in mind that early beta isn’t for everyone. As a participant we will be communicating with you regularly to gather feedback and suggestions. This means direct contact with the SpeakUp founders to ensure that deploying SpeakUp results in tangible outcomes for your business.
Tricia, just mentioning your name in meetings would trigger your innermost shyness and embarrassment – hopefully this blog post is less painful for you.
One of the roles I had while working for BlackBerry in Asia was Head of Distribution for Southeast Asia. To do my job effectively, I had to work closely with the team that managed demand planning, fulfillment, and logistics.
Part of working in Asia requires a heightened perception of body language, which prompted me to notice Tricia in a sales meeting one afternoon in Singapore. The outspoken and dominant salespeople (myself included) were going on about our assertions of expected sales volume, and required purchase orders, to fulfill that demand.
In the past 12 months, I have been asked by at least three different companies to “send a fax.”
In the past few years, I’ve encountered executives that still have their assistants print their emails for them.
When I visit a doctor’s office (in the US anyways), I’m asked to fill out paper forms, with redundant fields, so that the office assistant can then manually enter that same, poorly-handwritten information, into a database.
Technology is improving the way information flows in so many parts of our lives, but some systems are especially resistant to change – especially those related to managing a business.