Building a Community and Employee Engagement While Scaling Up

Today’s post features Rachel Mehl, Head of Employee Programs, ModCloth

Keeping Employees Engaged While Scaling Up

modcloth_headshot_rachel_mehlModCloth is a poster child for social media with a massive and highly engaged online customer community. Employees understand the value of driving engagement through social media, and wanted a tool that could replicate that type of engagement within the company. With Yammer, employees have a place to share news, collaborate around projects, repurpose work, and save time while building community and keeping ModCloth uniquely ModCloth.

Social in Their DNA

Social media has always been a core part of ModCloth’s DNA. With over 40,000 Twitter followers and 270,000 Facebook “Likes”, ModCloth’s social media presence is impressive for a company of any size. Because social networks played a large role in the company’s growth and development, it was only natural for the company to adopt a social networking tool for internal communications as well. After conducting market research, Natasha Khan of ModCloth’s Social Team identified Yammer as the leading social tool for businesses, and began posting to Yammer with a small test group immediately. In the face of its rapid expansion to 250+ employees at four offices across the country, ModCloth has maintained its tight-knit sense of community and attributes much of this to its use of Yammer. ModCloth’s People Team played a large role in scaling and evangelizing the tool, helping ModCloth maintain its quirky and unique culture by connecting employees wherever they are.

Value Through Serendipity

Yammer has provided ModCloth deep value by connecting people and ideas at the right moments in time. For example, Scott Hernandez, ModCloth’s Head of Talent Acquisition, has used Yammer to source valuable engineering hires through referrals, saving his team the time and energy of finding these people “in the wild.”

ModCloth has also been able to save teams from duplicating work that’s already been completed. Product Manager Fiona O’Donnell McCarthy recounts an instance where Yammer saved her team a significant amount of work: “We see mobile as the next big platform for e-commerce, so our User Experience group began designing a research campaign to gather feedback from users on what they’d like to see in ModCloth’s mobile applications. A member of the team shared this with our Yammer network, and within hours a member of the Social Team replied saying that her team had already done a large user survey on mobile expectations. She attached their findings, complete with a robust spreadsheet of customer feedback data, saving the User Experience team weeks worth of work.”

Regular Executive Interaction

The ModCloth executive team values transparency and openness and uses Yammer to put these principles into practice. Executives have integrated Yammer into their daily routines, posting company updates and inviting comments and participation. After board meetings, executives share summaries of discussion topics, new developments, and next steps.

ModCloth executives use the Yammer Praise app to publicly recognize outstanding employee performance. When an employee has done a superlative job on a project or completed a difficult task, executives jump at the opportunity to post a praise message into the feed, knowing that it helps employee satisfaction and encourages more great work.

Crowdsourcing Ideas and Feedback

Members of ModCloth’s fashion buying team often post images of new items they’re on the fence about and ask employees for feedback. The company’s many fashionistas comment and give loads of feedback, influencing the buying team’s purchasing decisions. ModCloth’s blog team also benefits from crowdsourcing ideas on Yammer by managing a blogging group in which employees regularly share their ideas for blog posts. ModCloth’s enormously popular Life in Style blog is filled with posts inspired by ideas from ModCloth employees, all shared on Yammer.

Keeping ModCloth Uniquely ModCloth

Every new ModCloth hire is introduced to ModCloth’s Yammer network on their first day as part of their onboarding process. ModCloth’s People Team has identified Yammer as a great way for employees to learn their coworkers’ names and immediately feel immersed in the ModCloth culture. New employees instantly understand the importance of customer feedback at ModCloth, as support reps share what they’re hearing from customers on Yammer.

New parents at ModCloth share pictures of their newborn babies, building community and companionship within the company as people comment and like the posts in droves. Another excellent community-building activity was running an exercise contest through Yammer called “Step It Up,” where each ModCloth employee was given a pedometer to track the number of steps taken in a day. Yammer provided employees the ideal platform to cheer on their team (and “trash talk” the rest). Through activities like these, Yammer has helped ModCloth maintain its fun, unique culture through a period of rapid expansion.

The Results

  • A tighter sense of community. Yammer helps connect the entire ModCloth organization, from employees to senior leadership.
  • Stronger alignment. Employees across the company are engaged with the corporate vision, mission and values.
  • Significant time savings. Collaborating on Yammer allowed a mobile platform team to reduce duplicate work, saving two weeks on their project.

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