Combining IT & Comms for Better Employee Experience

In this episode of the Cohesion Podcast, Amanda had a great conversation with Gainsight's Senior VP and Chief of Staff and Community, Robin Merritt, and CIO Karl Mosgofian about their experiences in converging IT and internal communication to create an employee experience that no one wants to leave. 

Gainsight is the leader in Customer Success technology and thought leadership on customer-centricity. Their solution not only concentrates on CS but product experience, revenue optimization, customer experience, and data utilization. It makes sense that their view on the human first experience in technology would incorporate and value communications.

Robin and Karl have extensive experience in communication and IT. Robin served as Global Head of Internal Communications at Box, and Karl was the CIO of Harmonic, a virtualized cable access, and live video streaming company. Like so many stories in tech and communications, a previous range of experiences and education continuously improves leaders’ offerings. That especially holds true for Robin and Karl.

After sharing their backgrounds, the conversation with Amanda became very intriguing when Robin and Karl discussed the intersection of communication, IT, and product. Karl spoke about what all businesses are looking to solve: customer outcomes. He stated that it is no longer sufficient to “throw” your technology on a customer and walk away. If the customer does not fully adopt your product, they don’t achieve their goals and outcomes, and they find no value in your product or service. Eventually, the customer will discover a substitute for you and “churn.” 

As it is applied to the intranet, Karl’s take on this is that when we do not make our internal customers (e.g., employees, stakeholders, and executives) a success by achieving their outcomes and goals, they will “churn” on IT. If they look for their own applications or tools, security becomes compromised, and other issues arise. The process can become a mess for the entire organization and company. Overall, it creates a poor employee experience

Currently, the employee experience is a front and center topic with the remote work situation. What has impacted the experience significantly is the digital transformation of the remote work environment. Amanda questioned how IT and communications should work together to ensure an outstanding digital employee experience. Robin answered that there was alignment on the subject for her and Karl.

“The relationship and strategy are mission-critical when it comes to a quality experience and internal culture, irrespective of COVID. I think COVID catalyzed the direction that the work environment was already moving. It just ended up accelerating the movement, in my opinion. So people were already yearning for the flexibility.” 

In response to the desire and eventually the need to work remotely, Gainsight has grown beyond remote-friendly employment and created a “remote first” hybrid environment for their employees. The challenge is to recreate interpersonal connections. Karl believes this is not a question of technology or tools. In fact, he believes there are too many tools that are not centralized. This is truly a communal issue. Without a central source of truth, a place where documentation can be stored and quickly found, and a governance usage strategy for the community, the issue can not be solved. 

Combining the platform and community governance is extremely useful for encouraging company culture. The value of not only technology but the incorporated strategy can transform businesses. Gainsight has taken the vision and evolved it beyond the necessities of HR and other employee needs into the program they call “teammate success.” This motion coupling strategy and tech are extremely human-centered, mirroring their company values.

While most companies are looking to enable technology for community cohesiveness, Gainsight is mindful of employees’ work-life balance to survive. They encourage boundaries of turning off the phone, closing the laptop, and controlling your personal environment. But the work-life balance also enables employees and the organization as a whole to value the in-person experience. 

To mitigate the missing “micro-moments of connection,” Gainsight flipped the experience. While they are focused on networking and collaboration, they also incorporate fun and joy. They celebrate their values and teammates. Notably, Karl gave an incredibly insightful viewpoint. He believes that technology has given employees equal citizenship. He stated that people dialed into meetings in the past but were not fully engaged. 

By utilizing tech in new and fresh ways, such as getting a single frame of attendees’ faces so that other people can see them, you can create a meeting experience that feels like people are sitting in person around a table. He questioned why companies should spend the money on the technology if it doesn’t intentionally build employee experience and thus company culture.

Would you like to know all the details of how Gainsight improved their employee experience with communications and tech in a human-first way? Listen to the entire Cohesion podcast on the Simpplr website, Spotify, or Apple Podcast services.

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