“85% of people who work remotely want to feel more connected with their colleagues” — Slack
With the entire world going into the COVID-19 paralysis, building a strong team spirit has become a hot topic for every employer, crucial in the upcoming months and maybe even years. Now, more than ever, it will be increasingly important to make sure your people are well informed, connected, motivated, and engaged, otherwise the productivity of the company will fail.
One month in, and we can say that for now, we are ahead of this crisis, fighting it fiercely and successfully! It looks like we have a formula for a business vaccine that keeps us immune. Partly that’s also because of the new mobile app we developed called “Jenz,” a new social network for companies.
Even in the BC era (Before Corona), many interesting new trends were emerging. Not that long ago, work was being left at work. People had friends, and they had colleagues. Those two rarely interfered. But, in the last decade, trends have changed!
People are now making close personal relationships at work, and many companies come to an understanding that culture and employee engagement are becoming essential in running a profitable business. Here are some interesting stats:
- 69% of people think that modern businesses of today need a work-based social media. — Deloitte
- 400% average increase in revenue growth by companies with a strong culture vs. standard culture — Forbes
- Only 18% of employees think their organizations are transparent enough. — Slack
Since our beginnings, we were extremely aware of the importance of having a strong corporate culture and high employee engagement. That is why we always invested heavily in our people and their satisfaction at the workplace. From music instruments, sport and games requisites, language courses, and yoga classes, to social gatherings and events, BBQs, outdoor activities, game nights, and more. But, the faster we grew, the more challenges we encountered in keeping everyone connected and included!
We tried using all available communication channels: Slack, Emails, WhatsApp, Newsletters, and even YouTube. Sounds good, but it doesn’t work. The proper “just in time” communication became a massive problem for us. Talking to 150 people daily, making sure every information reaches out to every person, while avoiding lengthy and boring emails, and including everyone in all the activities became mission impossible.
Some of the biggest problems and obstacles we faced were:
- Sharing relevant information and keeping our people informed
- Communicating company strategy and plans
- Reaching out to every person and making sure everyone feels included
- Promoting company values and vision for the future
- Giving employees a platform for anonymous feedback
- Making sure that what our clients say is heard across the entire company
- Openly acknowledging individuals who deserve kudos
- People. Didn’t. Feel. Connected.
We searched the internet, spoke to dozens of our clients and partners, and we learned there was simply no proper solution in the market, not even close to the extent that we needed. So we got to the point where the only way to solve our problem was to create our own solution. The decision was made to internally develop our very own mobile application, which will address the above-mentioned issues.
We approached this very carefully, doing A LOT of research and trying to incorporate the best features into one single app, without making it too complicated or too cluttered. In a desire to avoid resistance that often occurs when companies implement a new tool, the emphasis was on building a UX that is modern, slick, colorful, joyful, and visually attractive.
Jenz history in numbers:
- 10.000 hours logged
- 18 months dedicated
- 250.000 euro invested
- 30 people involved
What is Jenz?
The best way to describe Jenz is to say it’s a “closed social network” where you post literally anything that your employees will find meaningful. It’s ideal for mid to large-size communities where employees often lack vision and a bigger picture.
By connecting employees to the Jenz app, you can share all important info about the company in a second, and then immediately get feedback if needed. You can motivate your people to get to know each other better and to work more closely with each other.
Jenz unites people, creates engagement, stimulates communication, and feedback. It brings the best out of the company culture and strengthens that feeling of connectedness so that people feel they are part of the same tribe or clan. Hence the name “Jenz” — the phonetical inscription of the Latin word Gens, which is defined as a Roman clan consisting of a group of people united by the same goals, values, and lifestyle.
“Jenz is the perfect solution for today’s home-office mode. It has a look and feel of Instagram or Twitter, it’s super easy to use, and the onboarding time is minimal.” — Deloitte
What does Jenz do?
The app has 8 basic features and serves as one single social network within the company. Anything important or relevant gets posted in Jenz, so employees can scan the app for just 1 minute per day and stay informed and connected.
1. Company News
To solve the problem of not reaching out to everyone with important company information and announcements, and avoiding sending long and boring emails, we developed a Story newsfeed for official company news. To make news more attractive and easy to absorb, the format of each story includes one or more pictures or a video. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, and video a million, right?
2. Employees Tweets
Another section of story newsfeed is fun stories, where everyone can post fun or interesting content, in the same format as previous ones. Jenz UI reminds of a social network, so users feel more relaxed, engaged, and comfortable to post, like, and comment on stories.
3. People Directory
Here you can reach out to anyone easily, call them or send them an email just by searching them by their name or department. New employees are highlighted, which turns out as a great conversation starter. Every employee has a profile with a picture, department, job title, and a short bio.
4. Away Status
Since we are fully agile and support remote work, reporting absence is common and crucial, but often out-of-office emails get unnoticed. Marking away status through Jenz as remote, sick, holiday, or business trip, gives information not only to HR and team leads but also to other coworkers.
5. Kudos & Recognition
Reward, recognition, and feedback are essential for promoting good company culture and growth. Everyone appreciates their work being acknowledged. By one click on a colleague’s name, and voluntary explanation, people can kudos each other, which goes directly to the chosen coworker, their team lead, and HR.
6. Employee Feedback
Shoutbox gives employees a chance to write anything they wish, completely anonymously, and pick which department that message goes. This grants every person a voice! It could be a complaint, suggestion, advice, or quick info about something not working in the office. Easy, but most of all, efficient!
7. Anonymous Surveys
Find out what people think in a snap! Multiple forms of questions, like rating scale, multiple-choice, and yes/no questions, are great for collecting unbiased data, and for better insight on employees’ feelings and attitudes, there are open-ended questions. We created polls mostly because of our need to get answers to short and quick surveys, fast and easy.
8. Events Calendar
As we’ve mentioned earlier, we have plenty of social gatherings, meetups, sports events, and similar. Organization wise, it’s crucial to have real-time insight on who and how many people are attending the event but also to give employees a platform with more details and overview of all the happenings.
“Jenz unites human faces, their talents, strengths, aspirations, and ambitions. It builds an internal culture with engaged and driven employees with a strong sense of belonging. That’s how brands are becoming strong and incredible.” — Zelebrand International
We soft-launched Jenz 4 months before the global crisis hit. Firstly, we onboarded only the pilot group to test it and try it out before releasing it to everyone. This helped us polish the app, grow our pool of ideas for further development, and plan our strategy for the future.
Today, we can see a very concrete and tangible impact. Despite our entire office working remotely during the crisis, the results of our internal surveys have never been better:
- 86% trust the Senior Management is making the right moves
- 87% have great communication with their teams, despite working from home
- 90% of people are feeling supported by their superiors
- 96% have a clear understanding of the expectations during remote work
- March and April have been financially the best months ever in the history of Q, despite the COVID-19
We already have a saying at Q: “That’s so cool, we should Jenz it.” That’s our way of keeping everyone included, informed, and attached to Q. Jenz enables us to unite people’s faces, their talents, their strengths, aspirations, and ambitions. It builds an internal culture with engaged and driven employees with a strong sense of belonging. And that’s the only way how businesses can stay strong, incredible, and can continue to grow during the crisis.
The global pandemic is profoundly impacting the world as we know it. With everything happening around us, the task of keeping people motivated is harder, but also more crucial than ever. Jenz unites and connects all employees, informs them about everything that’s going around in the company, stimulates them to communicate more with each other, and listens to their opinion. This makes people feel safe and happy.
In Q, during these uncertain times, we want to give people a sense of purpose bigger and stronger than just the task of working for the employer. By uniting our people into our own social universe, the Jenz app creates a sense of belonging, sense of pride, and motivation. This kind of “esprit de corps” will kick ass in any circumstances, including the most recent pandemic.
Life goes on, business goes on, f*** Corona, let’s Jenz!
About the author
An energetic and passionate leader with a strong international background. Filip’s business track record is all about taking companies to a higher level. Identifying opportunities and turning small into big is his specialty. With 15 years of executive experience, Filip held different senior and CEO roles in the international setup. Most of his career Filip spent working remotely across different continents, opening new markets, and managing online teams.