Intranet comes full circle with Guru’s vision on employee engagement
The rise of distributed work has coincided with a worrying decline in employee engagement. Without the traditional environment and social contact of the workplace, organizations must find new ways to communicate their mission, goals and culture. Some are turning to Guru, a knowledge management platform that uses engagement tracking and personalization to help business leaders see how their messages are coming in. Originally developed to quickly deliver actionable insights to customer service agents, the platform is now being adopted by HR teams looking to solve the challenges of keeping distributed workers and teams in touch with key business messages. . Rick Nucci, CEO of Guru, explains:
Staff leaders are just much more engaged… in creating these types of experiences and in thinking about them. It appears in who arrives and assesses and deploys Guru…
I think they are the ones who wake up every day thinking about [this]. It’s a business problem, of course. But the people’s leaders are distinctly saying, “Wow, I really need to create the enabling infrastructure to make [this] occur.
This need led Guru to develop a new strand of its platform, which began as a way to help customer-facing teams easily find relevant, verified information to resolve service issues or respond to requests. commercial information. Over time, other functions such as marketing and HR began to adopt Guru to answer internal questions. In response, it added new features for distributing company information and tracking how people are engaging with it. After an initial launch this summer, it went deeper into the features of this new feature this week.
Users sending company-wide announcements from Guru can now get more data on how employees have responded, with metrics on open rates, read rates, and reactions emoji. It is also now possible to schedule announcements to reach employees at a convenient time based on their time zone. As before, users can choose the channels they prefer to receive the information, such as by e-mail or by messaging application. They can also view messages in the Guru app, and admins now have more control over how this user dashboard looks, with the ability to add company branding, custom messages, and maps Featured. Noucci explains:
The appearance of your business [is] now represented in Guru in our current web application, in addition to giving more of a landing point for all information…and giving admins more intentional control over how that information looks.
Most important is the addition of personalization, which uses machine learning to proactively present recommended content to users based on their behavior. Previous versions of Guru used machine learning to recommend content based on real-time conversations with customers, but this is the first time it’s added a recommender system based on historical behavior. Nucci clarifies:
[It] is much more of a human-centric recommender system. What is your profession? Who do you work with? And what are your colleagues reading? And therefore, what should you read and understand?
It’s basically taking information about the person, the team you work in, information read by your colleagues – all the signals we can gather around engagement, and basically bringing it back to the end user something that is relevant to him.
Users can also choose to “follow” or subscribe to specific information sheets relevant to them. For example, a map might contain links to all of a user’s meeting notes, or to all of the company’s town halls, or to historical newsletters the team has sent out, etc. Noucci adds:
One of our most followed Guru cards we have is called “Things We Released This Year”. This gives every employee the ability to subscribe to one place and see everything that has come out and changed in our product over the year. Whenever something new is added, everyone is notified automatically.
A new look at intranets
This concept of a single, enterprise-wide source of information is reminiscent of the intranets that many companies deployed in the early days of cloud computing and Internet search engines. But Guru has added functionality that ensures information is up-to-date and helps deliver it to employees at the most relevant time, in the channels they use. Nucci believes this more personalized approach fits the needs of organizations struggling with the new distributed work environment, now that more and more people are working away from offices. He says:
I think what’s different now is being more committed to the employee experience, culture and sense of belonging, in a world where remote working is all the rage. I think it’s the “Why now?”
One of the classic challenges that intranets have faced historically is that they try to be everything to everyone. I think that means it’s quite vanilla and quite dilutive compared to what people actually need…
The ability to both have that dedicated experience and have Guru augment things like Zendesk and Slack and other places where people work is, I think, what has been one of the missing links.
At the same time, adding contextual intelligence to suggest relevant information adds an important dimension that was never available in older intranets, when content authors had to figure out on their own how to convey information to people who needed it. Automating this aspect of knowledge delivery is a core mission for Guru. Noucci says:
We are continually trying to find ways to remove some of the manual components that exist in the execution of this knowledge management lifecycle work. I think before that, it’s really up to the author or the knowledge manager to disseminate the information and there’s this, “Who needs it and who doesn’t? I’m not talking about high signal ads now, I’m talking about daily knowledge needs. The point with this is ‘Hey, how can you actually infer who actually needs something based on their co-workers and the work they’re doing?’ and really reduce some of that lift and bring a lot more automation into the experience.
One thing that’s becoming increasingly clear is that if you have a highly distributed organization, you need to have a very strong company culture. One of the challenges of working in a more distributed way – these days where people are ditching real estate and having offices downtown and having people work much more remotely or in central offices, in WeWork spaces – is that, for the company to stay united and continue to fulfill its mission, it needs to have a much stronger sense of culture.
In the early days of cloud computing, I used to talk about “line of sight” management. People didn’t want to adopt cloud computing because they couldn’t walk down the hallway to the server room if something went wrong. It didn’t matter that the likelihood of something going wrong was so much higher if they ran their own servers, because at least they felt they had a sense of control – even that was largely an illusion, because their tools for Server monitoring and management were generally not as sophisticated as those offered by public cloud providers.
Today, people have the same management issues “in the crosshairs” around distributed work. If people are in the office, they can walk down the hall to solve any problem. If people are working remotely, their managers feel a loss of control – and if so, the monitoring and management tools they have to digitally track that remote work are far more primitive than what was available at a similar stage. of evolution. cloud computing. There is a longer road ahead of us to evolve the necessary tooling.
That’s, I think, the opportunity that Guru is playing with this offering, which is to provide a digital mechanism to support this shared culture and have a better sense of people’s engagement. Of course, the culture itself still has to hit the right note – if it’s a bad culture to begin with, no amount of digital wizardry will improve it. But the tools to actually maintain that strong cultural identity when people aren’t coming together to build the common culture in person are really crucial.
What I find interesting at the moment is that there are quite a few different tools that recognize this challenge, but they each seem to work in their own silos. There are employee experience tools that collect data on people’s sense of engagement. There are goal tracking tools that measure the alignment between the work of individuals within their teams and the larger goals of the organization as a whole. And finally, there are Guru’s knowledge sharing tools. At some point, someone will have to figure out a way to bring all of these separate employee engagement data silos together. At the moment, we are still only at the very beginning of all this.