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Like many companies, Greenhouse faced a new reality in early 2020 with COVID-19. They quickly formed a COVID response team and set about making adjustments to help weather the storm. While Greenhouse had already enabled distributed working for many employees, this sudden shift to fully distributed required some important adjustments – and took some getting used to. Immediately, leaders across Greenhouse began to actively pursue solutions that would help their teams continue to communicate effectively on a daily basis, encourage empathy and create a sense of belonging, remain considerate of boundaries associated with multiple time zones, and maintain their highly regarded culture as a best place to work.
After almost a year of being remote, and distributed work looking like it would be the new normal for the foreseeable future, Carly Stevens, Customer Support Manager at Greenhouse, began to explore options to keep her team connected. Carly needed a way to bridge the gap and get more visibility into her team’s needs.
“I get to see my team once a week through virtual one-on-one meetings, but I was missing some of the human elements of face-to-face communication,” said Carly. “You can’t always read facial expressions and see how folks are feeling over the computer. It was tough to know if someone was having a really hard day and it didn’t feel great to post in Slack and not see a response.”
In her role, Carly knows that success comes from people skills and empathy. She manages eight team members for Greenhouse’s live chat and email support to resolve technical issues and ensure fantastic customer experiences. Every aspect of her role is people-facing, and Carly understands the importance of reading into context clues when communicating with her team.
“We were a really social team in the office, but as the pandemic continued I found that slipping. We weren’t having as many casual conversations about our lives, which usually occur over lunch. It can be hard to get to know someone without those organic moments.”
— Carly Stevens, Customer Support Manager
At the start of COVID, Zoom happy hours and icebreakers worked well, but Carly hoped Kona would add missing touch points without crowding her team’s calendar with more meetings. Carly added Kona to her team’s Slack channel and got her first automated Kona check-in the next morning. Without prompting, her teammates began to respond, adding their colored-heart emojis and writing about their day. In only a few weeks Carly’s team had created a process of consistent checking-ins with each other. Her team has averaged a minimum of 4.5 daily responses over a five-day workweek for the past four months.
Carly was thrilled to see her teammates opening up and interacting with one another. They began to share their personal stressors and wins, allowing others to show their support. Daily Kona touch points have helped start their morning with something fun. Whenever Carly forgot to submit her check-in, teammates would reach out to see if she was alright.
In addition to improved team morale, Carly finally had the ability to “read the room” as she would in person. She had a pulse on how her team was feeling every day and could intervene when needed.
For example, when team members share they’re at a yellow or red Carly is able to check in using private messages. Knowing their status allows her to proactive offer time off, helping prevent burnout and disengagement. On the other hand, when teammates share they’re at a green, Carly knows she can rely on them to take on additional tasks or coach others. Kona has helped Carly feel more connected to her team, create opportunity and remove blockers in the moment.
As Carly’s team continued to grow to meet customer demands, so did the need to help foster a sense of belonging and inclusion for new employees from day one. By encouraging adoption of Kona into their daily habits it created a sense of unity amongst the growing team. Kona has continued to be part of their daily habits, helping the new hires become integrated faster and stay connected. Even without having the opportunity to meet face-to-face, using Kona has helped build a more cohesive culture.
For Carly, this played an important role helping her manage a growing team. Ensuring all team members have access to the same platform means that there’s a shared outlet to express their feelings. When a teammate reported they were red for several days in a row, several teammates reached out to Carly to ask how to best offer support. Kona helped Greenhouse’s Customer Support team feel more connected and created dedicated moments to offer empathy and guidance.
Seeing Carly’s success, other managers in her department grew interested in trying Kona for their own teams. In the past seven months there has been a 300% increase in the number of global Support team members that use Kona on a daily basis. Seeing the success that Carly had achieved, other Support managers have followed suit and now turn to Kona as a way to create alignment and uncover blockers with their own teams.
“All the managers check-in early in our own private channel. It’s been helpful knowing where Support’s managers are so I can plan my day and know who to help out,” said Carly.
This extra layer of connectivity among Support leadership has allowed Carly to stay proactive and get ahead of blockers. Leaning into Kona's health dashboard has added an increased level of visibility. Kona's inputs turn into graphs and trends, allowing Carly and Support's leadership to see burnout and employee happiness at scale. One notable example of this is a time when another leader mentioned feeling under the weather, Carly knew to cover for him and support his team.
Managers have the ability to “read the room” as they would in person. Kona provides a pulse on how teams are feeling every day.
Despite the unknowns that many companies face, and regardless of where employees work from, Kona plays an important role helping them stay connected. For Greenhouse, Kona helped their Support team create a single source of truth for how their teams are doing as a whole – helping decrease burnout, remove blockers and encourage employee happiness.
To learn more about how Kona can transform your team, book a demo or add Kona to Slack for free.