How Human Resource teams use Firstup by SocialChorus


Jed Brown


Mat Cronin

Product focus: Firstup for HR

In the wake of the mass shift to remote work, HR and employee experience leaders have had to reevaluate how to drive company culture—and that has meant redesigning the employee experience. Learn how HR and EX leaders are using the SocialChorus Firstup platform to reach and engage every worker, wherever they are in their journey. Then, explore the newest features available to modernize the experience of your employees.

Video Transcript

Jed Brown:

Okay Mat, I think we’re going to get started. Hello everyone and thank you so much for joining our FirstUp for HR breakout session. I’m Jed Brown, the Chief Product Officer here at SocialChorus. And I’m joined by the magnificent Mat Cronin, who is one of our Engagement Managers. We’re really excited to talk to you about FirstUp for HR. And for those who aren’t familiar with what FirstUp is, it’s our platform that our customers use to reach and engage with their workers.

Next slide. So the agenda, for today’s agenda what we’re going to look at and talk about is one, what are the digital employee experiences for HR and other places in our talk, as we talk and on the deck you apply CDX. And that’s what we mean by digital employee experience. We’re going to give you an overview and a demo of FirstUp and of the new product that you saw Tim walk through earlier today, if you were able to join that session. And then the second to last, how customers are using FirstUp and then with the time that we have remaining Q and A’s. So please throw any notes into the Q and A chat. If you have any questions as well, we’ll try to get to as many as we can.

So I want to really start out, we’re going to talk about four main challenges for HR leaders, but I want to view them for a second from both the strategic and the tactical approach. So on the strategic side for us our social core is really important that your people feel connected, supported really with the mission of your company and that they really understand what the role is in it. Connecting those dots between the individual and the company that really understanding what their role is, what that means from hire, or even in some cases pre-hire through retirement. On the tactical side, getting the right HR information to the right person at the right time, which we all know is incredibly hard traditionally to do. And we’re going to talk about ways that we’ve really made that a lot easier. Whether that’s for benefits, training, leader compliance, handbooks, et cetera. And we’re going to walk through some of those.

So really to break things down even further, I’m going to start with the first two from strategic and tactical for the challenges. The first being organizational health. And what do we mean by that? As HR leaders, what we’ve learned from you is that it’s critical to your job to understand the health of your organization and of your management. We know you work incredibly hard to drive employee retention, to enable their performance. As an example, we’ve heard from you churn is one of those metrics that you’re always looking at. I think we’d collectively know 69% of disengaged employees would quit their job for only a 5% raise somewhere else. And that’s coming from a survey from best employee. And there’s other ones out there like from DDI research that talks about how the majority of employees leave because of their managers.

So really incredibly important metrics and KPIs that we know you and others are looking at. And then we collectively also understand that to tackle this problem you really have to lead with engagement, inclusive culture, learning and training, diversity, equity, inclusion and just a lot more just to name a few. The second here of the four is engagement and community. The first aspect is we believe that HR has an opportunity to really frame that conversation and have a huge role in fostering the how and the where people get the opportunity in the sense to be part of a team. That was hard 10 years ago, remains hard today. Feeling like a part of a team and a diverse workforce that may or may not be distributed and even more so with what has happened over the last few years, but that is a constant. We know from talking with you frontline workers, our example of this that the highest turnover for front workers within the first 90 days of their tenureship.

So there’s not just an opportunity, but there’s actually an ability here for us to affect change both by getting the right info to them at the right time as we talked about, but also helping them feel connected. Because when you’re off an island, you’re off on an island, it’s hard to really feel connected. That second aspect here is the individual sense of purpose and validation. And that’s not just the millennial, oh, I want to show you all the great work I’m doing. It’s also the opportunity to collaborate and improve. And get that feedback to know that what you’re doing has a lasting impact. Then last but not least, the third is feeling connected. Users typically don’t have a great opportunity to interact with each other and even less so with leaders and with executives, but they can and they will when there’s really good communication and community that’s put front and center.

Real quick and I’ll end with this example. And this is one of my favorites for those, any of you who participated in the webinar that we just did a few weeks ago with Boeing by leveraging our platform. One of the really interesting things that happened with that community is on one of their posts that they did coming from HR, someone commented on, hey, I had a question, “How can I give a portion, a percentage of my upcoming bonus to our incredible frontline workers in our Boeing factories?” And that post got 200 likes, a bunch of replies happen on top of it. A whole conversation that never would have existed if it weren’t for that HR communication being open, creating community for anyone around the world that are going to be able to comment on. And just something amazing happened. They actually changed some of the initiatives and what was happening to empower some of the needs and conversations that came from that one post and one person bringing up something incredibly critical at this moment in time.

I love that example because it’s not something that would happen even pre-pandemic. That’s really hard to get when you have a distributed workforce, yet the tools, a platform are out there today and we want to talk about that and show some examples. So I think we’re going to get to the next two.

Mat Cronin:

Yeah, thanks Jed, I appreciate that. So two additional challenges that I want to talk about are driving cultural change and leveling the playing field. And what do we mean when we say that? So driving cultural change is ensuring a shared vision and a company wide alignment, starting with the C-suite all the way to the frontline worker. It also includes change management and preparing for and executing on organizational change requires excellent communication from buy-in for your entire workforce. And driving this type of change is arguably harder now than ever was before. And it was never easy. So having the right platform to drive a company goals, mission and purpose across the full organization is essential to being able to drive this cultural change we’re talking about. Next, is leveling the playing field. So giving everybody, regardless of where they are, the same amount of access to company news, resources and information they need to do their jobs.

So you need to be able to reach all of your employees full stop. And this ensures that everyone has the same access to the opportunities and the tools that they need to be successful employees. And when I say tools, I’m talking about ADP, expense reports, [inaudible 00:07:38] and things like that. And it’s important now, more so probably than ever before, that employees feel a sense of community, regardless if they’re working at your headquarters, if a team is working remotely from home or folks are dispersed across locations around the globe. And I love to share a story about a global retail company who uses the first step platform. And this SocialChorus customer found that employees who are at locations that regularly engage with FirstUp saw a 75% higher retention rate than the locations that did not utilize the FirstUp platform as effectively.

And how did they do this? Well, they used the FirstUp to communicate real and transparent messages from leadership to foster communication amongst their employee base by encouraging, commenting and liking and sharing posts, creating a cultural channel to provide kudos to one another and then making sure that all of their training materials were up to date and available as resources for their entire workforce to have access to.

Jed Brown:

Great. So I know we talked about some of the challenges that you already know about. So let’s talk a little bit now, and this is what we’re going to demo. How does it work? So the FirstUp platform, really the crux of it is we distribute any type of content like employee engagement surveys, handbooks, training, targeted signups, acknowledgements, company policy information. Some of the examples that we gave as well along with access to really any application. And as Matt just mentioned a few of the examples and we’ll show some in a bit, really to any end point that your employee uses today. So the key here is that an employee gets personalized information and access to the systems that they need on the end point or end point’s plural that they actually are engaged with. So for an information worker like me, that might be my laptop and that might be my mobile device sometimes when I know I’m stepping away.

For others out in the field, that’s probably mobile first. And for an engineer that actually might be Slack or for someone else in the company that could be Teams or maybe inside of JIRA or some other tool, any related tool that they use that you’re seeing here on the right hand side. So as you can see, we provide a mobile app, email, desktop experience. And then for those who attended the earlier session, also the use of our platform integrations and what we call content micro apps to push this content across all these other channels. Digital signage is another one that I didn’t mention, Salesforce, et cetera. And so because of this UX anywhere approach, when a lot of our customers, I mentioned Boeing, AT&T and Amazon are using these as a modern intranet as well for employees to have yet another touch point for this interaction based on what they’re doing, when they’re doing it and where they prefer. So key pillar of our platform is that really every employee, we’re all unique in our experience needs to be unique. And it’s based on our role, our intense and our behavior.

Mat Cronin:

Great, yeah. And this is how our anywhere approach will look to the employees. So when we talk about meeting your people where they are anywhere, this is how the content you’re sharing in that information they need access to will appear on mobile, be a desktop, if you’re utilizing digital signage. And then as Jed just mentioned, integrations with things like Teams and Salesforce. And this is actually a great segue into a little demo we’re going to do. I’m going to show-

Jed Brown:

Fun stuff, a demo.

Mat Cronin:

Fun stuff. And we’re going to do it live too. So I’m going to show you my mobile phone screen. And this is going to give you an idea of what the FirstUp user experience looks like. Now, this is not an in-depth demo. We’ve got a great team who can give you one of those if you need it. But this is going to give you an idea of how your workforce will be able to consume the critical HR comms that you’re sharing with them. So give me just one moment here I’m going to share my screen. Can everybody see my screen?

Jed Brown:

Looks good.

Mat Cronin:

All right, excellent. So what we’re looking at right now is my newsfeed and what this is, is personalized, targeted and highly engaging content that is relevant to me and what my role is at an organization. And you can see here I’ve got the ability to easily like and comment on posts. And if you look at the top here, I’ve got an action that is required of me. It has to do with open enrollment and we’re going to touch base again on that in just a moment. If I click on this icon, there’s a light bulb icon here at the bottom of the screen. You’ll see, just to the, I mean you can’t see that just to the right of… Let me share my entire screen.

This is the digital assistant and your workforce may not have all the time necessary to scroll through their entire newsfeed and see all the information and the news that they’ve been given access to, where that’s been shared with them. So what we do is we call this, excuse me, our two minute employee experience and this is accessed via the digital assistant. And this is right here my smart inbox. And this allows me to view all of the critical HR information that’s being shared with me that requires me or any employee to act. So we’re looking at on the top is items that require my attention and then below that are some posts that have been recommended for me in the last couple of weeks. And notifications will be prioritized with two dues, poles and require comms first and secondary will be things like if I mentioned in a post or in the comments and things like that.

So I’m going to take a look at some of these items that require my attention. And remember, I just saw that I needed to acknowledge an enrollment’s benefit information on my actual newsfeed. So here’s where I’ll find polls. And then at the bottom here, here’s that content acknowledgement that I just saw in my newsfeed. So I’ll start with this because this seems pretty important. So if I go to the post, this is informing me that I need to attend a session on May 1st, 2021, an office B planning room to learn more about open enrollment. And at the bottom here, it says, I acknowledge and will attend. And this call to action you can customize it to say really whatever you want that fits the message. So I’ll go ahead and click acknowledge. This post has now been acknowledged and you as an HR professional will be able to see that me, Mat, as an employee acknowledged this communication. Next up, I can take care of some of these polls.

So first up out of the following list of statements about your wellbeing, please select all that apply. Feeling pretty good about things so I’ll go ahead and just click everything and I’ll submit that. And in this instance, we’re not sharing the feedback from this poll with our entire workforce. You can do that, that is an option for you to take advantage of in studio. But for a question like this, as an HR professional, I probably don’t want to share those results with the entire company. Better to be safe than sorry. If I go back to my digital assistant here and if I click on this middle icon, this globe, this is my command center and this is where I can access things like the employee directory, what we call targeted link collections where I can have access to targeted and personalized links out to apps that I’ve used and I need to use every day to do my job better.

Additionally, if we just want to integrate directly with one of these apps, so Concur, Zendesk, things like that, I can click right into Concur, I can list my expense activity. I can list my paid expenses and I can take several actions within this app that allow me to more easily do my job. And in this case, take care of my company wide expenses. If I want it to look up one of my coworkers, in this case I believe he’s in this room right now. We’re going to use Brian as an example. Brian, I hope it’s not your personal cell phone that’s on this. I’ll take a look at Brian McDowell. I can see he’s a CRO. He works in sales. That’s his email address.

So if you want a more in-depth demo, this is probably the person you’re going to want to reach out to and I can see his hire date. So imagine this information can be customized based on the custom attributes that your data file sends over to us. And then this information isn’t only available to you on a mobile app. All this is also available in our desktop experience. So give me one second here to stop sharing this screen. Let me bring up my other one and share with you what that looks like. So this is essentially what I just showed you on my mobile phone, but this is available also on our desktop. So this is my newsfeed. So featured content, everything that I just showed you, all the content that’s targeted for me that I can interact with. And then over here on the right, is that digital assistant. If I click into this, you’ll see here are the items that require my attention. Now you keep in mind I did not fill out that second poll. So I’ll go ahead and submit that one right there.

And then over here on the right, I’ve got my employee directory, I’ve got my targeted link collections providing me access to all the tools that I need. Then I’ve got my direct integrations with tools like Concur, Zendesk ServiceNow, et cetera. And with that, I will pump it over to Jed so he can show you what is powering this FirstUp user experience.

Jed Brown:

Great. Thanks so much, Mat. Let me switch over now. I’m going to share my screen. Does that look okay? Perfect. Okay, so I’m going to show you how easy it is to orchestrate everything that Mat just talked about in our new studio. Hopefully all of you were able to watch Tim’s main stage events to go over all the incredible work that’s been done here, but I’m going to touch on, I’m going to go even a little bit deeper on some of the specific scenarios that are relevant here. And what we’re really excited about with our new studio is how it opens the door to various roles, departments and allows anyone easy access to your groups, content creation and more. So Tim shared a little bit more of a finished product with some of the richer visuals here, but in particular for this page. But I want to talk a little bit about content and templates.

And for this demo, what I’m going to go in to do is create a DEI diversity equity and inclusion training for managers. And I want to target only manager. But as you saw, actually here let me flip to a brand new creation flow. There’s other templates here as well, both seeded by us, by SocialChorus and by you and your company. We know the power of templates on brand messaging as being able to pick one that you have already used or recommended to you and then accommodating and customize it to your direct needs. So what I’m going to do here is I’m going to create a new one and you can see some of the examples of ones that audiences that have already created in the past so you see others. All users, I created a people manager for directors and above and all people managers.

And so it’s really easy as I can just click on this and I’ll do that in a second and get going. But I’m actually going to show you how I can one, create this if it didn’t exist and two, make it even more powerful. So I’m going to go to new audience. And so let’s talk a little bit about this. Audience building is one of the most powerful tools out there when you think about outcomes first. What I want the outcome of in this case, this training to be and how can I best tailor it to the right people at the right time on the right devices as we talked about. This screen is populated by your own company and your usage. So what I’m going to do here is I’m going to say, okay, manager is yes. As you can see, I can already see here an insight to there are a little over 900 employees that for this demo scenario, we consider to be managers, people managers.

And if you look, what’s fantastic here on the right hand side I hit the validation on exactly what’s happening. So I can look at some of the locations and other locations, what departments are being included, title. And right away, the thing I know that’s a little bit different than if I would’ve clicked on that default is actually for our customer service team, we want to do a specialized training that also includes some feedback for how to interact externally. So I’m going to add another one called an end and say, if your department is not customer service. I can see their total within customer service is 696 and the dent it made and now they don’t show up here in the department and I can see what’s happening. The power of these insights here on the right is I can also take a look and say, oh wow, there’s 62 people in the UK, might make more sense from a time zone standpoint and perhaps even from a tailor to a MIA for us to actually separate them from this group to create a different one.

So I’m going to go ahead and do the same thing. I’m going to say by work location. I’m going to intentionally make a mistake here and just leave it as is and type in United Kingdom. I’ve done the 62, but I can realize instantaneously I made a mistake. Oh, look, location is only including United Kingdom that’s not what I wanted, it’s not. And I’m back. A little over 446. That’s exactly what I know as a leader is roughly the right audience for this population that normally would be incredibly complex to go build. We’ve made it super simple. A few other interesting things that I can do here is I can preview it. So if I know that Nicole should be in this list, I can search for her to make sure that I have included her or my boss or anything within the company, or save it for later like I did those other groups so that others could leverage this exact type of audience.

So I’m going to hit done. You can see how the temporary audience then appears here. I’m still typing and there’s 446. You can see this information again on the right it’s additive. I could go click on other groups. For example, I’m going to say all employee managers which really knocks out this group of someone I hadn’t removed because I don’t want a special case United Kingdom or customer service for the entire of this demo. So we’re really, really excited about what the power this brings to, in the past it would have been difficult for someone to go and create something this advanced. I mean, we made it really easy. I’m going to move over to the orchestrate side, kind of what that next step would be because you saw Tim show some awesome experiences and our compose and how we’ve also made really rich content creation so easy to use here. I can go back to that demo or we can have another session sometime in the future.

So if I move over to orchestrate, what’s really exciting here and as Tim described, you can see the relevant insights that are here on the right that help understand exactly what’s happening. And in this case, as I look over, I have a sense of, okay, this is set for one day, there’s not a lot of noise because I have this as nice to know, but my performance isn’t necessarily what I expect given that there’s not much left to this day. And I also know this is not a nice to know, this is required training for my employees. So I can kind of look at some of these examples, should to know, okay must know. I’m going to mark this as must know. That’s great but I’m not, here my performance now is better because it’s much more urgent, but I’m competing with a lot of other resources and other communications that are happening for the rest of today.

And so what I might do here based on this recommendation a switch to seven days. And I’ll do that again. I’ll go back, I’ll go back just to one and I’m going to switch to seven. I can kind of look at what those other examples are again. Kind of switching between of like, oh, I want to go with must know seven days, that to me looks like about the right balance in between these experiences. What I also want to do, I’m going to go into advanced here is, as we talked about that community aspects, I want people to be able to comment on this. I want it to be featured for a little bit more prominence. I’m going to call this needs your attention. And as Mat showed, actually what this acknowledgement to exist. And what’s really exciting about that and I’ll talk about this a little bit, is I can tie this back to metrics as well and empower employees and other managers to understand who and who has not complied to something that might be urgent.

Another really interesting thing and I’m going to touch on the analytics here is initiatives. So I’m going to select a few initiatives, diversity, equity, inclusion and leadership. Now let’s sit down. There’s a lot more I could do here, or we can talk about those at another later time. I’m ready to get going. So instead of clicking continue, I’m going to jump directly into our metrics. And so an example of the power of both that simplicity this is really easy peasy for someone like me to be able to even set something up like that who doesn’t have any traditional experience as a communicator or as an external marketer. Easily able to set up a content or flow a campaign like that through our orchestration engine in the FirstUp platform, now I can look at the metrics overview and look at how right now currently are my initiatives DX in this case, this was a diversity and inclusion.

I also put leadership in there. So I can take a look at what the current performances per initiative and at the end of that 7 day campaign that I just set up, how have I moved the needle? How have I changed the outcome of what I’m expecting. The outcome for the company accruing directly to our KPIs. So we’re really excited about what this means in empowering individuals to be able to think outcomes, think how they can look at that information, take those KPIs, expose them to their own leadership to have a broader conversation about understanding of the health of the organization and the tools and the necessary steps we want to take to communicate better and more appropriately and targeted to these individuals.

So by now you have seen just how crazy easy this is for anyone to create something that’s incredibly magical and useful. So now we’re going to switch back. I’m going to pick a little bit in the last few minutes of Mat’s brain to get a sense on how our customers today are using this platform. So Mat, in your experience talking to all of our customers and HR leaders across the board, what are they looking at when they look at FirstUp? What are some of the top things that they’re looking to solve for?

Mat Cronin:

Yeah, that’s a great question. And we touched a little bit on this earlier, but really looking to drive a sense of community, moving the needle with cultural change, that’s a huge challenge to overcome. And more tactically being able to provide their workforce with an effective and efficient way to share important policy informations, training, documentation, things like that. Important resources folks need to do their job. I think ultimately what that all entails is that people are looking to drive employee retention, enable performance and measure the health of the organization.

Jed Brown:

Perfect. I’m going to throw one more out there and perhaps too, if we have enough time one of the really exciting things I loved about one, just seeing demos in general, but two, how you demod the employee experience of what is that impact and how should HR think about that impact on employee experiences?

Mat Cronin:

Yeah, yeah sure. Well that sense of community first and foremost, being able to share important HR policies and information in a way that their employee, their workforce is used to getting their information today. That type of alignment really, that will extend a human resources department ability or extend their reach rather beyond just traditional emails, in-person meetings and posters around the office. This is a way for you to communicate these types of things to your entire global workforce in a way that they’re used to consuming information today and their everyday life.

Jed Brown:

Great. Thank you so much. And I’m going to look at one question that was sent our way. Can you give a few more examples of some of the ways that FirstUp is being deployed today for HR?

Mat Cronin:

Yeah, sure. I showed a little bit about this in the demo, but taking advantage of targeted link collections, using our resources functionality to put policies in a place where it’s more of a fluid living document than like a PDF you’re emailing out that constantly has to be updated. And then taking advantage of you joined some of the other incredible breakout sessions and speakers earlier and yesterday, content micro apps and meeting employees within other applications, such as Teams, Salesforce, SharePoint, where they’re already going to consume information today.

Jed Brown:

Excellent. Thank you so much. I know we’re out of time, there was one other question here about the employee directory that you showed. The question being where’s that coming from? I believe that was answered in chat but I’ll repeat that here that the employee directory that is directly within our platform. So your account team, if you’re with us or you want to reach out to anyone post this event, I can help provide additional information of how to hook that up from closely built up, find out more information about each other, including the reporting structure which is really exciting. So with that, we want to be respectful of time.

A few just quick announcements coming up. We have a 10 minute break or 9 minutes because we took a little bit more of your time. And then back on the main stage, the last [inaudible 00:30:37] session really sad. It’s the last, those have been fantastic. Followed by Brian, he’s going to present in our closing session. So please feel free to check the agenda below, look at the main stage. And again, thank you so much for your time. If you found anything interesting again, please feel free to share that on social media with the hashtag #attune2021 and we’re happy to engage you there as well.

Mat Cronin:

Yeah, thank you so much appreciate your time everyone.

Jed Brown:

Thank you.


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Mat Cronin