Power to the People: Hulu Brings a Unique Culture Online
Internal Communications Manager, Hulu
Hulu is helping redefine what it means to watch TV and throughout their existence, they had relied on a piecemeal solution to give their 750 employees the information they need. The time had come to use Igloo to implement their new digital workplace, the Huluverse, and bring employees together.
Hulu is a major player in the streaming revolution. Started in 2007 and owned by Disney, Fox, and Comcast, they offer next-day streaming of a huge variety of television programs in addition to a growing library of movies and original programming. Available on most major streaming platforms, including Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Kindle Fire, and Sony Playstation, Hulu reflects the fact that more and more viewers are finding new ways to watch TV, and the company is growing to accommodate, with nearly 40% headcount growth over the past year.
Being a dev environment with a scrappy start-up feel, Hulu would follow a bit of a patchwork approach towards their intranet. Developers would use their own wiki for their information, HR would use another site for theirs, and nobody knew where to go to find what they needed. Hulu needed a unified approach that could give its employees the information they needed without having to force them to go on a wild search to find it.
With internal communications being a newly created department at Hulu, this would be the first opportunity to really focus on establishing a method of communicating to employees beyond what HR had done before. Mike Rocco is the Internal Communications Manager at Hulu and the first thing Mike did was survey employees to get a lay of the land. He wanted to find out what kind of information they wanted to receive, what they felt like they were missing, and what they want more — or less — of.
After getting the results back, his team decided to focus on five buckets of priorities:
- Centralized information
- Editorial and video content
- Contacts — a way of tying them all together
- All-in-one search
- Event calendars
They also used focus groups to get an even better sense of the work culture at Hulu so it could be accurately reflected in their intranet. They really wanted to get people involved and engaged. As Mike says “you really want to invest in your people rather than just drive a goal of priority forward.”
What resulted was “Huluverse”, Hulu’s new intranet. It was a new frontier for the company, and they were easily able to:
- Use drag-and-drop widgets to help share top news, relevant information, and photos/videos
- Customize the layout of their page to fit with their brand guidelines
- Launch a perspectives blog channel — not only an area that helps leaders connect with people, but also an area that lets people go in and talk about team culture, projects, and other things that might be happening in their area.
- Launch “The Buzz” — a microblog widget that Mike says is “the hottest spot on the site right now.” It lets people “digitally tap other people on the shoulder”, and with the notification system, activity in the stream can go directly to peoples’ smartphones, keeping them connected no matter where you are.
- Create a wiki for HR with each location having its own space. Now they can:
- Click on an office and find an A-Z index of things available in that location
- Book conferences, find out about benefits, and other transactional information
- Get context for remote locations and receive multi-language support
- Search and get results quickly
The team used different ways to keep people coming back. They implemented “Like” buttons, bringing the social aspect further into their intranet, and they hosted a contest to let a lucky employee on the set of one of their original shows, “Quickdraw”. To win, people had to leave a comment telling the team why they wanted to win and visit the set. Afterwards, they featured a story and profile highlighting the experience.
They were also able to provide context on company events. When their sales team attended the Upfront conference, Mike and his team were able to live tweet updates, give some background on the event and post photos/videos from the event. It was a great way to give employees more information without having to leave their corporate destination.
- Meet your audience. That means holding one on one meetings and really explaining what your new intranet means and what it can do.
- Talk to your leaders, get buy in from them as soon as possible.
- Identify your stakeholders and get them involved first.
- Be prepared that launching your intranet can become a full-time job.
- Make sure your work culture is awesome.
- Celebrate your roosters — the people who want to share and make a difference. Identify them and really engage them.
Mike and his team made an effort to continually get feedback from employees on what they could improve. After all, it is their intranet — it should reflect what they want to see.
Hulu is a major player in the streaming revolution. Started in 2007 and owned by Disney, Fox, and Comcast, they offer next-day streaming of a huge variety of television programs in addition to a growing library of movies and original programming. Available on most major streaming platforms, including Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Kindle Fire, and Sony Playstation, Hulu reflects the fact that more and more viewers are finding new ways to watch TV.