“Kona automates a natural process so we can take connectedness and team morale off our to-do list. It allows us to set it, forget it, and focus on each other. It’d be really hard to get those roll-up analytics without Kona.”
Director of Customer Support, Postscript
Postscript is on a mission to build one of the greatest e-commerce businesses in the world. The eCommerce SMS platform enables brands to communicate and engage with customers through text message marketing. They recently raised a $35M Series B and nearly tripled their headcount in the pandemic.
The company prides itself on its excellent customer service, but the care put into their customers is not only outward-facing. The team is just as intentional about creating an inclusive workplace that values diversity.
As the company grows, Postscript was looking for a solution that would help their company scale without breaking its strong team culture. We spoke with managers that use Kona every day to catch burnout, assess moods, and quickly onboard new employees. Here’s what they said.
The Engineering organization at Postscript implemented Kona in early 2021 to prepare for the rapid growth of their fully distributed teams. Nic Roth, Head of Engineering, shared, ”We’ve seen some crazy growth. We went from seven engineers when I joined in November 2020 to over 60 a year later.”
For Nic, it was crucial to maintain team relationships regardless of growth or location. “In a remote setting, you don’t see friendly faces as you show up in the morning... Kona gives us at least one touchpoint each day to stop and ask each other “How are you doing?” and share a bit of personal stories with each other.”
For example, Nic had two colleagues check-in red and yellow. One was sick with the Flu and the other had an ill child. That sparked their teammates to rally together, offering an outpouring of supportive messages and offers to take work off their plate.
Robb Tvorik, Engineering Manager at Postscript, uses Kona to unblock his teams. With a team of 30 spread across four time zones—Canada to Mexico—Robb relies on Kona to be his eyes and ears. “As a manager, you want a pulse on your team and how they’re feeling,” Robb explained. “I use Kona as my daily indicator of workload, burnout, and tiredness.”
Since his team is brutally honest with Kona, Robb’s direct reports know he won’t be lingering over them if they’re truly okay. “If they’re yellow, it’s normally because they’re tired. However, I’ll assess their check-in patterns and pay attention to what they report. If they’re red, I’ll check in to see what’s going on and see if they need a day off.”
Without Kona, Robb explained that check-ins would be a manual process, requiring him to schedule a meeting, message everyone separately, or run another standup. “Measuring life without Kona is tough., I guess I’d have to harass folks more to know how they’re feeling,” he said.
“As a manager, you want a pulse on your team and how they’re feeling. I use Kona as my daily indicator of workload, burnout, and tiredness.”
Robb Tvorik, Engineering Manager
When it comes to high-stress periods at work or in personal life, Kona is there to help managers support teammates where they need it most.
For Alyssa’s team, busyness spikes around the holiday season and moods fluctuate. This was her new team’s first Black Friday, the equivalent of the Super Bowl for Postscript’s eCommerce business. Thanks to Kona, Alyssa was able to gauge how her team felt during this chaotic time. Teammates shared about confusion, anxiety, or how pumped they were.
“Kona helped reinforce the supportive and exciting attitude we needed for that high-pressure time of year where we were stepping into the unknown. We had meetings together, but it helped to know we’d always have that daily touchpoint to share our excitement and what’s making us nervous,” said Alyssa.
Without Kona, Alyssa shared how she would have to be much more manual in creating those personal moments and assessing the moods across her team. “In remote work, you miss out on the nonverbal cues. Kona is a great way to touch base and start the day. You can celebrate when folks are doing well. You can also stay mindful when folks can’t bring their full selves to work,” Alyssa explained.
For a remote team with many different personalities, it can be hard to foster vulnerable conversations without a set meeting on the calendar.
“With other standup bots, people don’t feel comfortable sharing how they feel. The emojis help. We have tons of emojis like Super Mario mushroom, GIFs, and people’s actual pets,” he explained. “[Kona] is great for getting everyone to share about themselves async and transparently. It builds team culture.”
Pre-Kona, Robb had daily standups that typically only revolved around business updates. Now, Kona check-ins act as a jumping off point for better standup conversations and stronger relationships.
“Kona provides a vector for people to open up. They might usually try to play it off like they’re okay, but when they see other folks sharing how they feel, they realize it’s okay to be transparent and share themselves across the team,” Robb said. “I think it’s also benefiting cross-collaboration within our team and helping folks express themselves more.”
Nic has a similar experience with the engineering team. He said that during one-on-ones, it can be easy to jump right into work regardless of what you preach. But that’s where Kona comes in — he gets a snapshot into how his direct reports feel before meetings start.
“It’s so easy in a fast-paced environment to forget about the person. It’s so nice having something separate that helps you check in. You don’t have to depend on one-on-ones to take care of all your relationships,” Nic said.
Postscript grew over 600% through the COVID-19 pandemic. They relied on Kona to prioritize their culture and people through this rapid growth.
Onboarding new hires without ever meeting face-to-face can be a scary process. When remote, welcome parties, office tours, and handshakes get scrapped. Companies must be deliberate about how they set the right impression.
Kaycee Nwaokocha, Engineering Manager at Postscript, has first-hand experience doing that on his team.
“We try to get folks up and running within a week, but getting to know folks can take two or three weeks,” he explained. “With Kona, you have more facilitated conversations and you get to know teammates even faster. It didn’t take us nearly as long to get to know each other.”
Without Kona, Kaycee says that he’d see slower communication and less shared learning.
Alyssa feels similarly. Everyone on her customer success team was hired within the year, so she’s had to construct a remote onboarding process that builds trust from the start. By creating a psychologically safe environment with Kona, her team is very transparent about how they’re feeling. Each additional hire immediately recognizes the culture and participates without much prompting.
For example, one new hire was starting chat support for the first time and shared that they were “scared, but it will be okay.” That check-in sparked teammates to chime in and flood their Kona threads with words of encouragement and affirmation. Messages like “You got this!” helped the new hire feel supported.
“We’re using it in a way to help onboarding feel like a safe space,” she said. “I want my team to live in a world where we can build and defend our psychological safety first.”
Although Alyssa could post a daily reminder for her staff to share their feelings in Slack, it’s not the same as having a physical product for it. “Kona allows us to automate it, standardize it, and get a high-level snapshot. You get your week at a glance. You can lose out on that without Kona.”
Kona’s health dashboard helps Alyssa take a step back, gather analytics, and understand how her team has trended over time. With eight customer success advocates spread across North America and more growth on the horizon, Alyssa uses Kona as a way to be intentional about building a culture of connectedness while remote.
And her takeaway from using Kona isn’t just based on a feeling; she’s seen solid results since Kona was introduced to Slack.
“Our team’s culture is paying off. From a performance standpoint, we’re doing well. We hit our quarterly OKR two weeks ago, halfway into the quarter. Our new hires hit their service level experience (SLEs) more frequently and all of our agents are blowing their goals out of the water.”
Kona isn’t just for managers. It’s for everyone.
Despite the unknowns that many companies face during rapid growth, Kona plays an important role in helping them feel trusted and psychologically safe.
To learn more about how Kona can transform your team, book a demo or add Kona to Slack for free.