Hootsuite was was one of the first social media SaaS companies and is still going strong after 13 years—operating in 13 regions around the world, and employing over 1,200 people
Today, the company is working towards a hybrid office/remote working model. According to Alexis Sheridan, Hootsuite’s Senior Manager of Internal Communications, shaping a hybrid model meant focusing on the company’s knowledge-sharing infrastructure: “The same considerations that go into building a new office go into building a communication system,” she says. “We had to spend some time asking ourselves how we could make everything engaging and accessible, whether it was in-person or online.”
As Alexis explains, Hootsuite always approached knowledge sharing with employee experience in mind. “We think about how to best set up our people for success by providing them with clear processes and engaging tools that allow them to powerfully connect with their peers and deliver great work,” she says.
In a hybrid work model, this means making communication easier. “Enabling our people to convey their ideas clearly and engage with peers via writing is extremely important,” says Alexis. In other words, she knew that they would have to build a framework that would make it just as easy to communicate through writing as it would to communicate face-to-face in an office setting.
Eventually, Alexis and her team landed on a three-prong communications system involving email, Slack, and an intranet. “Email isn’t going away anytime soon, but it is being used differently now than in the past,” says Alexis. “We still use email for two things: messaging with external partners and formal internal messaging.” This includes announcements, project kickoffs, and company updates.
“Having this centralized source of truth fosters commitment and trust in the organization.”
If email covers formal communication, Slack exists as a catchall for informal communication. As Alexis puts it, using Slack allows Hootsuite’s employees to streamline noise, but it also creates a centralized hub for communication.
To round out its communications system, Hootsuite built a proprietary intranet that houses important resources and documents that can be referenced collectively. The purpose of this tool is to increase transparency and make information widely accessible to whomever needs to reach it. “We needed a place where each team could keep their information,” says Alexis. “Everyone knows and trusts that what's available here is reliable and up to date. Having this centralized source of truth fosters commitment and trust in the organization.”
Having the right communication processes and resources available increases alignment and breaks down silos. “There’s a huge emphasis on engagement, supporting one another, being collaborative, and recognition,” says Alexis. “These are all the result of emphasizing communication across the company.”