Today permit me to regale you with a story; a story of a product launch that may change the way you understand and collaborate at work. One to help your business surface work while the world pivots to being more remote. Everyone, gather around, it’s Story Time.
Have you ever wanted to know what other divisions or teams are working on? Or find out how the other teams recognise or use your work? These are the questions that Story Time aims to solve. Using visibility, encouragement and recognition we believe we can help your business answer these questions and collaborate more meaningfully.
After spending a combined 30 years in technology solving business and product needs there has been a consistent series of questions we at Story Time have encountered. “How am I contributing to the story of this business?”, “How important are my contributions?”, then as we’ve grown to become leaders, “How are my staff contributing to the story of the business?” and “How can we help Division X contribute to the business story?”
Surfacing these answers to our staff, peers and others around us, has seen a noticeable increase in engagement. People care about how their work is used for a bigger cause and how it’s helping others. It is a strong intrinsic motivator helping people achieve their goals and bringing value to where they spend most of their time.
With a deep understanding of this problem, an idea, a pitch, a name, it was time to kick into gear and start building the product. There were missteps along this early journey, and we’ll share some of them in a future Story Time but for now we ask ourselves, what would others think of our vision?
Don’t ever start on a journey of product development without validating the need. Story Time is a tool that I would love in my work, but what about other people? Is this a need unique to my experiences or are others experiencing the same?
Through our initial investigation we interviewed Engineering Managers, Customer Success Managers, Engineers, Product Managers, Researchers, and Marketers. It was a simple interview with relatively open questions aligning to our core mission:
The answers highlighted that it wasn’t just us missing out on deeper collaboration and visibility of work. Sometimes marketing would create material with features so far away from current delivery that it was near wishful. Customer success managers (CSM) would receive calls from their customers when a new feature or bug appears, wanting an explanation or information the CSM didn’t have. Engineers not understanding the "why" in their work and just delivering solutions someone else defined. Product Development dropping a major feature update one Friday without sharing the journey so others could prepare.
Communication is hard, but we believe with the right motivators and visibility then teams can align and deliver their best work.
With each plan, each forecast roadmap, each piece of delivered work there are artifacts. They’re typically documents, release notes, a sales pitch, a bet, something that contributes to the success of the business and what is valuable. We call these stories and each user can create and publish them so the broader team can see their work.
Now that wouldn’t be a big difference to any knowledge base, so we encourage those who create stories to link to the stories of others. Take advantage of the work that others are sharing and link to their stories as you build up your own. Our work is never delivered completely independent from others so share the success!
Stories help with the visibility of work created, and encourage collaboration through linking, but what about recognition? The first part of recognition is linking, recognising that others work has contributed to your own, and your work has contributed to others. It’s nice to know that our hard work doesn’t get ignored yet that’s not enough. We have :hearts: so you can highlight what others are delivering that you find valuable. Go crazy with :hearts:, they’re not a currency or a limited resource so if you truly love a story then show them! Make the :hearts: rain!
With these 3 core focuses, we believe that when people are recognised for their contribution they will contribute more! No more sending our stories out into the world to be forgotten or ignored. Send it out so other people can appreciate what we have done and know how we help others.
We also have an option to Showcase stories. Does your business have a story that you wish to showcase to the world? Something like a new feature, product launch, a celebration that would be good for the world to see, or a technology choice that you think would help others? Showcase your story and it will be available for all the world to see, allowing you to receive views and :hearts: from all around the world.
We have felt the pain of delivering work that is never validated nor finding out the value we bring to the business. We’ve seen others brought to tears when their work is publicly recognised and we’ve brought changes to workplaces which encourage visibility and recognition to help people collaborate. This is what we see, it’s what we’ve experienced, it’s what we can do to help your business.
When people complete their work we see it as a milestone to be celebrated and shared. We recognise that work is never delivered in isolation but is built on the effort of others through collaboration. With Story Time your staff can see how they contribute to the bigger story of your business while recognising each other in the work they do. And once your staff are recognised their engagement, productivity, and performance are up by 14%.
Once people are intrinsically motivated there’s no need to reach for surface level thanks disconnected from the work done. We can link it, highlight it, make the invisible work visible, and celebrate the success of the business together.
If removing the extrinsic bandaids of staff recognition and creating a more thankful company in a world where people are becoming less visible is of interest to you then head over and register your interest.