Feature Updates: New Options for Control and Flexibility in Internal Communications
Striking the right chord with employee engagement
We’re big fans of music at Guru, so I’d like to start with a story about trying to create beautiful music. Imagine that you’re in charge of an orchestra, and you’ve given your musicians the instruction to start making music. One group of musicians starts playing chamber music. Another group begins playing bluegrass. Meanwhile, the third section of your orchestra decides to get groovy with some disco.
You realize that your musicians aren’t creating a symphony–they’re making a racket! They realize it too. Without the right guidance from you, they can’t come together in harmony. And if they continue without alignment, they’re going to lose interest in working together and put down their instruments entirely.
Now imagine if this same group of musicians understood from the start that they were playing a specific symphony, and furthermore they knew who they were playing it with and that it would ultimately be recorded and used in a movie soundtrack. Everyone would be on the same page and understand the goal they were working towards. You’d probably start making beautiful music much sooner! Early alignment would mean improved engagement and a better outcome, much more quickly.
Just like our imaginary musicians needed structure to help them on their road to success, employees need guidance to help keep them engaged with their jobs. It’s no secret that employee engagement is a huge driver of business outcomes. If your employees feel connected to your company’s goals and mission, they’ll understand how they can contribute to your shared success. But if your employees don’t quite understand what they’re working for, they’ll try to figure it out on their own. Then friction between teams will increase, and you’ll have a pretty messy situation on your hands.
But there’s a way to stop that messy situation from happening in the first place–and Guru can help!
Flexibility and control: with Guru, you can have it all!
If we’ve learned anything over the past few years, it's that employees want the flexibility to work when and where they want to. If companies want to lean into the new world of work, those companies have to find new ways to keep their employees aligned and on the same page when everyone is working on different schedules and in different places. And that requires some degree of control.
If we were to revisit our symphonic story, this might mean providing musicians with the sheet music, instruments, and instructions they need and then giving them a timeline to submit their recorded tracks. Those musicians–just like your employees–have been selected because you trust them to do their jobs. As long as everybody’s tracks are sent in on time and in a format the producers can use, it doesn’t matter if your flutist was wearing bunny slippers when she recorded.
Guru is built to provide employees with flexible ways to find the information they need to do their jobs, no matter where they’re working. That means giving them options to browse for info on a hot topic, search for a specific answer, or see a time-bound announcement exactly when it’s needed.
Guru is also built for the admins who want to make sure the right information is accessible to the right people, and that there’s an easy way for those people to see the most important company information, at the right time.
And with our latest set of product updates, we’re providing both of these groups with what they each want: improved control and better flexibility!
Announcements: time-bound information, with feedback for leaders
Guru’s announcements feature is a great example of this balance of flexibility and control. This internal communications feature is a way for leaders to send certified-fresh knowledge to people across the company–right in their channel of choice–and understand who is engaging with that information. Leaders control the message and its timing, but readers have the flexibility to see information in their workflow, wherever they’re working.
Since releasing this feature in July, we’ve added capabilities that help leaders get even more value while increasing reader engagement. Leaders have the flexibility to add commentary and pre-schedule announcements. This helps ensure that announcements are received in the right context and at the right time.
But here’s a hot take: the most important thing about an announcement isn’t just the ability to push it out (hi, traditional email blasts!)–it’s the ability to know that the information is read and understood. When leaders use announcements in Guru, they can easily see engagement stats right within an announcement, so they can understand how many people have read and acknowledged the message.
In addition to an at-a-glance view of this quantitative data on engagement, readers can also add emoji reactions to the announcement. This creates an additional layer of feedback from readers to leaders so people sending announcements know how their messages land with recipients.
"I love these enhancements! They will give our managers and leadership team an even better understanding of how employees are engaging with updates (e.g. “Mackenzie Jackson” has read 97% of announcements) and which announcements are read and which are outstanding." -Mackenzie Jackson, Minted
Being able to see that people are engaging with important company announcements is great, but how do you increase the likelihood that people will actually read and act on these announcements? Guru has flexible options there, too! Readers control where they receive notifications: in Slack, Teams, or email. And the notifications they receive include the most important information to help them prioritize their work. Readers can easily see who sent an announcement, when it was sent, and even how long it’ll take for them to read it.
Even the most diligent, engaged employees sometimes get distracted. That’s why announcements include both automated and manual options for reminders. If someone hasn’t acknowledged an announcement in three days since it was sent, Guru will automatically remind that person to check out this important information. Leaders also have the option to quickly send their own manual reminders to employees to give readers that extra nudge.
Announcement notifications aren’t just for readers. Leaders get some love too! The first time someone acknowledges an announcement, the sender will receive a notification. That way, leaders can know that their announcement is getting traction.
"This is so exciting! I'm thrilled to see all of the different ways employees can now engage with announcements in Guru. This will give us deeper insights into how everyone at Via is engaging with our updates and give us an opportunity to get feedback from employees who are consistently not reading the announcements." -Nathan Galovan, Via
In addition to notifications and reminders, unread announcements also appear on the Guru dashboard for a period of 30 days. This further increases engagement, and provides another surface area for the most important, timely information.
NOTE: Announcements are available on Builder plan and above. Learn more on our Pricing page.
Speaking of the Guru dashboard, it’s gotten quite a glow-up in the past few months.
The Guru experience for admins: customized for your company
Guru’s mission is to give people a variety of options to access the information they need. That’s why we’ve redesigned the Guru dashboard to give people a home base where they can quickly see the most important information. We’ve built admin controls to help create exactly that experience.
Starting today, admins have the ability to customize the dashboard so every employee can stay aligned with company-wide priorities. The right side of the dashboard gives admins control to display important company information and highlight content stored in Guru.
Display a welcome message, orient people to what they will find in Guru, or include an executive note on the dashboard. At Guru, we’re currently using the custom area of the dashboard to share information about the product launch you’re reading about (so meta, I know).
There’s also a new area to add featured content to the dashboard so leaders and admins can highlight company-wide information, whether or not it was sent as an announcement. This is a great way to keep need-to-know information top of mind for everyone. You can also use the featured content area to make evergreen information like company values or OKRs prominent for all employees. At Guru, we feature our latest newsletter along with our internal roadmap so everyone has easy access to the knowledge that keeps us rowing in the same direction as a company.
Admins can reinforce a sense of connection to the company with custom branding, making Guru feel more like your organization. Your custom colors and logo will appear across pages in the Guru web app, creating a sense of continuity across your company’s knowledge.
But Guru doesn’t just foster connectivity and engagement with admin features–we want to help employees flourish in their unique day-to-day jobs as well.
NOTE: Announcements are available on Builder plan and above. Learn more on our Pricing page.
The Guru experience for readers: personalized for users
Each person within a company has a specific role to play in the organization’s shared success. That’s why Guru creates a personalized experience that’s unique to each user, within the company-wide guardrails set by admins and leaders.
Leaders and managers want employees to focus on timely information first, which is why unread announcements get placed at the top of the dashboard. Users can quickly see what they need to read and take action on, as soon as they log into Guru.
There’s another layer of knowledge that people need to stay connected to, and that’s when information related to their job changes. Information overload is a productivity killer, so leaders don’t want to overwhelm readers with too many announcements. However, readers want to choose which information they feel is most important to their role and understand when it gets updated.
This is where Guru’s follow content feature steps in. Readers can choose what content they want to follow, and authors can choose to notify followers when they make significant changes to information stored in Guru. These update notifications are sent to people where they’re already working, based on their user preferences. Authors can see the number of followers on a piece of content which, along with being able to see the number of people who have favorited that content, gives authors a quick insight into how many people are relying on their expertise.
We’ve been using this feature for several weeks at Guru, and we were excited to see which piece of content got the most followers. Right now, our most subscribed content is “What We’ve Released in 2022 (So Far),” which gets updated frequently and gives everyone a high-level overview of our product development speed and cadence, along with go-to-market resources.
When companies use Guru as their source of truth, authors create hundreds or even thousands of pieces of content and readers take thousands of actions inside of our app. Valuable information gets collected, read, searched, and interacted with all day long. There’s so much goodness in Guru, and we want to make sure people are seeing things that are relevant to them.
The volume of information going into and being extracted out of Guru combined with Guru’s investments in machine learning gives us the ability to offer personalized recommendations that are unique to every user. Personalized recommendations offer employees a snapshot of interesting information, automatically delivered to their dashboard.
We’ve added a new “Recommended for You” section on the dashboard that surfaces content based on user behavior in Guru along with the reading habits of people like them within your company. This section will include new knowledge, information the user hasn’t seen in a while, and content that the user has read but that has received significant updates. It’s a quick and easy way for Guru to help people keep up to date with useful content, even when they’re not searching for it.
Guru: your partner for employee engagement
With Guru, you’ve got a tool to keep your company aligned that balances admin oversight and user flexibility. This balance means your company will be making beautiful music together, even as you embrace new ways of working. Leaders get their messages across, employees stay engaged, and your company thrives!
Ready to see how Guru can help your company? Schedule a demo today.