While the Workvivo communication platform has proved an effective tool in keeping organisations and employees informed during Covid-19, it also offers benefits in the area of company culture and common goals.
“Effective communication in an organisation should also look to keep people aligned around what the organisation is trying to achieve, it should help build a sense of community and amplify the positive culture in the organisation and should help keep everybody engaged with the organisation,” says CEO John Goulding.
“All of these things become more important not just in times of crisis but also when your workforce becomes more distributed and particularly when a large part of your workforce is operating from home.
“This is what Workvivo is about and we are certainly seeing a spike in demand and interest right now.”
At a time when self-imposed isolation and quarantine are presenting a new and unexpected reality for many people, Workvivo offers an effective method of communication and input.
“For those not used to working from home, there will be natural feelings of isolation and disconnection. In these times, it’s vital that employees feel part of something bigger than themselves. That they are all working together to get through the situation,” Mr Goulding says.
By using technology to communicate via a social community, it is possible to achieve effective employee communication and provide a ‘part of something bigger than me’ experience, he explains: “With familiar activities such as posting to personal activity feeds, liking and sharing posts, shout-outs to recognise others, collaboration spaces for common interests, remote employees can see what’s happening across the landscape of their company, hear from senior leadership and freely interact with colleagues around the world.”
Looking at the world beyond Covid-19, Mr Goulding sees a significant opportunity for technology to play an enabling role in helping companies connect people in new ways.
We believe that through this ‘forced’ move to remote working, businesses who were previously a little reticent to transition large proportions of their workforce to remote will come to see that a distributed workforce is not such a scary move.
“But this can only happen on a larger scale if there is appropriate technology in place to provide communication that engages employees — otherwise you lose the social aspect of communication and engagement loses out.”
Workvivo recently secured significant investment from Eric S Yuan, the founder and chief executive of Zoom Video Communications, who said the Irish firm’s culture, values and technology were a perfect fit for his vision of employee communication, engagement, and satisfaction.
The private investment by Yuan will assist Workvivo in its plans to grow users of its internal communications model to more than one million by 2021.
“Zoom is probably the hottest tech company in the world right now, and Eric’s decision to invest was a major milestone for Workvivo. Much more than the commercial aspect of the investment itself is the validation from such a respected tech entrepreneur that we have built something special in Workvivo.”
With Zoom’s profile having increased significantly in recent months, Yuan’s vision continues to recognise the importance of building employee communication technology with the aim of increasing engagement.
“Eric often talks of ensuring the workplace is a ‘happy’ place,” Mr Goulding says. That’s the way it should be and it’s what we aim to bring to every one of our customers.”
As Workvivo continues to experience increased demand for its communication platform, the company nurtures aggressive plans to grow the business.
We’re proud of our Cork heritage and will be adding more jobs in the area. We’re also seeing significant interest from the US, so will also be opening up offices and recruiting over there too.
This year Workvivo was awarded the Cork Chamber Emerging Business Award, the Best New Business Award from Cork Business Association and the IT@Cork Tech Startup of the Year Award. “We started the business over two years ago with support from Enterprise Ireland, who have continued to support us as we’ve grown and we’re extremely grateful to them for that.
“Cork also has been and continues to be a huge supporter of the business, and these awards are instrumental in building our brand both in Cork, in Ireland and around the world.”
Even in this IT age of instant and communication, Mr Goulding points to many companies still under-utilising the power of employee input.
“There is a massive challenge with employee disengagement around the world. Approximately 70% of employees are disengaged and that is costing the global economy over $450bn a year in lost productivity.”
The problem is not because employers are ignoring employee input, he says, but the lack of an easy and intuitive means by which they feel they can contribute.
“That is why we built our platform around the social experience millions of people take part in every day. Now we see employees of different cultures, ages, roles, experiences, introvert and extrovert, all making their voices heard. This obviously helps the business, but also helps the employees feel part of a community.
“After all, this is what a business really is when you get down to it.”
Looking to the future, Workvivo sees the opportunity to be the global leader in the employee communication technology space.
“Our technology can be used by any company anywhere and we have seen based on the success of our customers who are organisations of all shapes and sizes across 40 countries that the opportunity is huge,” he says. “The future of internal communication is changing and we plan to be leading the way over the next few years.”
Facing into an Easter holiday of increased self isolation and restricted travel, Mr Goulding looks to history as a pointer to how Ireland can cope with the challenge that now confronts us.
“This is a terrible event that is impacting the country and the world in a very real way. History has shown however that we are a resilient nation, we have a positive can-do attitude and we are quick to help each other — these are things I think many businesses will appreciate when this crisis has averted and will speed up the recovery.”