Headquartered in California, UserTesting came to life in 2008 after co-founder Dave Garr was wowed by the usability tests he saw during his time at Apple. The way the real-time feedback was able to have a direct impact on the product was fascinating to see. Unable to shake his new interest, he mentioned the idea of hassle-free usability testing to his entrepreneurial friend, Darrell Benatar, and a revolutionary company was born.
UserTesting gives companies real-time research on their products from customers in their target market. In their words, the company helps “protect brands, boost conversations, and provide amazing experiences.” Thanks to UserTesting, a variety of roles get better results — whether it’s marketers, product managers, designers, or UX & usability professionals.
“We have to compete with places like Google and Facebook by having a cool offering and a vibrant culture.”
As a young, exciting tech company, UserTesting prides itself on its vibrant culture, and at the core of their culture are five values they want every employee to live and breathe:
- Customers first
- Get better
- Keep it simple
- Be kind
- Own results
These values are not only essential to the success of the company, they have a fundamental impact on how people at UserTesting interact with each other. In order for each employee to take those values to heart, they need to be connected. The less employees know each other, the weaker the culture gets.
As the Ambassador of Culture at UserTesting, Ben Russo manages onboarding, communications, and events for the company. When asked about the importance of culture, he says: “There are so many companies in the area — there a lot of options. Our product is definitely cool, but the culture is a big determining factor of someone wanting to work here. We have to compete with places like Google and Facebook by having a cool offering and a vibrant culture.”
When he was hired, Ben was the 28th employee at UserTesting. At that time, sending out company-wide emails, chatting on Slack, putting events in a Google calendar, and using Google + for social networking worked out fine — even if the presentation left something to be desired. Having a centralized hub wasn’t essential for the company to run smoothly since everyone could turn around and provide updates in person. But 28 employees quickly grew to nearly 300 and it was clear that those solutions would not be enough to bring everyone together.
Quality Reviewer, Esha Menon agrees: “With everyone on computers all day, it can be hard to interact and it’s easy to wind up in silos — cultural hubs become extremely important.” It was soon apparent that those hubs needed to be in their digital workplace too — they needed a modern intranet.
“People were excited about it and wanted to go back to it. We didn’t want to invest in it to have it fail.”
The President of the company didn’t need much convincing about the importance of the tool, so Ben was able to move ahead with his research. He found a lot of intranet companies had certain aspects that were really interesting, such as a well-organized directory, or a vibrant front page, but when he came upon Igloo, he found a solution that had the full package.
Even without a background in programming, Ben knew that they would be able to use Igloo to accomplish what they set out to do. Thanks to functions like widgets and wikis, HTML, iframes, and folders, they had tools that were easy to use and all-encompassing.
The whole process would take approximately three months, allowing for a whole new community to be built from scratch. The team also wanted to factor in some time to teach people about their new intranet to make sure they understood the benefits.
Ben says, “It was well worth the time because it was ready to go when it rolled out and it looked good. People were excited about it and wanted to go back to it. We didn’t want to invest in it to have it fail. A few people didn’t initially see the value, but after a few months of everyone else using it, they came around.”
Along the way, Igloo’s consultants were on hand to provide any support needed. “They are really good at responding when we need something. They would respond to an issue within a half hour,” says Ben, adding: “They’re great about keeping us in the loop on upcoming releases. We’re particularly looking forward to the introduction of Integrations.”
“Life would suck without Igloo. It would be impossible to do a lot of the things that I do.”
Now that they’ve brought aboard a modern intranet with Igloo, UserTesting has been able to maintain and strengthen their culture by keeping employees connected, informed, and engaged. “Team pages, career development, shout outs, ideas, communication — people post on Igloo all the time. People get a sense of who other people are thanks to those. It’s embedded in the culture.” says Ben.
Esha adds: “Igloo has enhanced the culture. Not just the number of employees has grown, but also the number of locations — every new hire is posted on the homepage which gives a great introduction to new people. It’s a social network just for UserTesting and it allows everyone to get to know each other before they get in touch.”
People were excited to finally have everything in one place. The onboarding process was greatly simplified with the introduction of Igloo. In addition to being impressed by its polish and comprehensiveness, new hires felt considerably less overwhelmed when onboarding with the company. It also let them safely discover the answers to any questions they had without worry —all it took was a quick search. “It’s really become a vibrant online community as opposed to a bunch of cool things spread out all over the place,” comments Ben.
But it’s not just a place for new employees. Ben publishes newsletters every month showcasing how everyone in the company is learning new things — sharing highlights from cross-functional field trips and monthly events. Every group has their own presence on the intranet, where they have shared spaces with relevant information, documents, and even polls to get a quick pulse on what people are interested in. It also helps keep people connected after hours with groups like book and gaming clubs having their own spaces.
Ultimately, throughout their rapid growth, UserTesting never wanted to lose their start-up culture. Thanks to Igloo, they were able to stay true to their roots and set themselves up for more team members and success in the future.
“It’s a social network just for UserTesting and it allows everyone to get to know each other before they get in touch.”
An intranet will amplify your culture. If the number one complaint at your company is about culture, then an intranet alone will not fix it for you. It’s a tool that you can use to help bring people together — be sure to show them how to use it to improve the way your company works.
Build time in your implementation to educate employees. If an intranet suddenly shows up on employees’ screens, it will likely not get used. Factor in extra time to educate employees about how they can make the most of this new technology.
Point new employees towards your intranet. The search function can be their best friend as they can type in any question they have. If there is any documentation around the process, they’ll be able to find the answer much faster.
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