From onboarding, remote employee engagement, to retention: how a culture of peer learning has helped us achieve key company objectives.
Over the years, we’ve seen our clients use Braindate at internal events to unlock countless benefits for their people. They’ve brought peer learning opportunities to their employees, helping them make new connections, collaborate, and share knowledge across departmental silos. They’ve used Braindate to create mentorship opportunities and even support their leadership training programs.
As we saw the impact of peer learning conversations at organizational events, we wondered what it would be like to weave peer learning into the daily fabric of an organization. How would that affect onboarding, collaboration, L&D programs, culture building and ultimately retention?
Bolstered by interest from our clients and our own research into common pain points of L&D programs, we created Braindate Everyday.
Before launching it into the world, we tested Braindate Everyday on ourselves a period of 6 months, starting January 2022. We wanted to find out how this new product would impact our internal objectives for learning, employee engagement, and talent retention.
In this case study, we dive into our challenges, how we’ve integrated Braindate Everyday into our organizational rituals and the surprising but wonderful outcomes we unlocked.
As a peer learning company, we already had a rich learning-centric culture supported by our employee development programs, frequent lunch and learns, a regular practice of learning out loud, and more. However, almost all of these activities took place in-person. As we began to formalize our transition to remote work, we faced the following challenges:
How do we onboard new and existing employees into a remote work environment so they are set up to succeed? With the loss of spontaneous in-person exchanges, how could we make sure that our new and existing employees felt connected to each other and could support one another, virtually?
In a time of “the great resignation” how could we create work conditions that would make our people stay? How could we retain our talent when competing with the larger tech companies’ benefits? How could we keep them happy, engaged and feeling supported in their personal and professional growth?
Our objective was to enable our employees to engage in regular, intentional conversations: to share their learnings, collaborate across silos, build relationships, and find solutions to their challenges, together as a team. We also wanted better insights into the evolving needs of our people: what knowledge did they possess outside of their jobs? What subjects lit a fire in them? What did they need to grow?
Ultimately, we needed a solution that would amplify the power of the technology stack we were already using (Slack, Zoom, OfficeVibe, Mural, etc).
Braindate Everyday was it.
Here’s what Braindate Everyday did for us:
1. Improved the onboarding process by grounding it in peer learning and relationship building
No onboarding program is successful if it doesn’t effectively integrate new employees into the company culture, its values, and how people interact. This can be challenging if exchanges between colleagues are limited to work-related interactions on virtual platforms. To solve for this, we integrated braindating into our onboarding process.
At a single glance at the Braindate Everyday employee topic market, new hires can immediately get a sense of our culture: what do our people value, how do they interact with each other, what skills do they possess outside of their jobs.
We ask every new hire to spend their first few weeks booking as many employees as possible for braindates. They have the option to post their own discussion topic on the Braindate Everyday platform or join the topics posted by other employees. This allows new hires to introduce themselves to the team and break the ice, in an introvert-friendly context. When connecting on a shared topic of interest, new hires are able to make instant connections and feel a part of the team sooner.
Further, by making the introduction process self-directed, our HR team simply had to check in with the new hires to make sure they were booking braindates. They saved tons of time because they didn’t have to spend time personally introducing each new employee to various co-workers.
2. Crowdsourcing and personalizing our learning and development initiatives:
We asked our employees to use different Braindate conversation formats (1:1, group, fishbowls) to support their learning goals. Through this practice, we got deeper insight into what our people were learning, what secret skills/knowledge they possessed and where they needed our support. Further, it ensured that no learning took place in isolation and all knowledge in the company was accessible to all employees. If we learned together, we could grow together.
Here are the different ways our employees used the platform:
3. Integrating Braindate Everyday into regular operations to build a culture of learning
To maintain ongoing engagement with Braindate Everyday and make peer learning an everyday part of our culture, we made sure to integrate updates on the activity taking place on the platform into our regular rituals. We did so in the following ways:
Success = Creating Emotional and Mental Wellbeing
Using Braindate Everyday internally was an experiment that succeeded beyond our expectations. It had a positive impact on all the challenges we had identified since transitioning into remote work. Here are some numbers:
The biggest and most surprising outcome was the positive impact regular braindating had on employee wellness:
(*data taken from Officevibe, which we used in tandem to monitor the effect of Braindate Everyday on our employees’ wellbeing.)
Braindate Everyday made it easy for employees to have meaningful conversations regularly. Despite the virtual context, our employees felt more connected with each other than before.
The conversations they had on the platform helped them get to know each other beyond their job titles. As a result, they were able to cultivate empathy for another and build stronger relationships. All of this contributed to nurturing a general sense of mental and emotional wellbeing.