Funding, Growth, Customers: How We’re Changing Workforce Communications
Dear Customers and Friends of SocialChorus,
I joined SocialChorus in 2017, joining founders Greg Shove and Nicole Alvino, to lead the company. At that time, we announced 100% growth and many new customers.
Today, we are proud to announce that SocialChorus secured $12.5 million in growth financing co-led by Arrowroot Capital and Kohlberg Ventures, with participation from Western Technology Investment. The funding announcement follows a year of tremendous growth (over 120% plus a capital-efficient business!) fueled by enormous demand from communicators across the world for a way to reach every worker—irrespective of role, location, or preferred channel. TechCrunch has the story here, too.
Over the past year, we’ve welcomed some of the world’s largest brands to the SocialChorus family including including USAA, Phillips 66, Cargill, Sound Physicians, American Cancer Society, Kohler Co., Lendlease, Lloyds Bank, Discover Financial Services, TD Bank, PG&E, and Lincoln Financial Group. Employees using the SocialChorus platform come from more than 20 different industries in 180 countries, all 50 U.S. states and 6,400 U.S. cities.
Every C-level leader, the HR department, internal comms teams have a critical role in the business—make every worker feel informed, aligned, and supported. That’s a tall order because employees have access to more tools and channels than ever. And so do you. In truth, all that technology is making things harder, not easier. Reaching employees, giving them what they want AND what the business needs them to see, is becoming almost impossible.
Digital transformation and the employee experience
When our customers tell us they are focused on digital transformation, we know that could mean on an expansive number of initiatives from employing IoT and embedding warehouse sensors to improving e-commerce performance with predictive insights. But one aspect of digital transformation is constant across the board—that’s using digital to keep employees informed.
New initiatives mean that employees need to understand and embrace change. At the end of the day, the CEO doesn’t make digital transformation happen, the employees do. And if employees don’t grasp the objective (or don’t know about it), progress is compromised or worse.
3 trends threatening organizational alignment
Reaching every worker has become a critical and increasingly urgent initiative as companies are faced with mounting challenges, from brand reputation to employee retention. Several trends are in play:
- Increasing diversity of the workforce: Today organizations employ a mix of knowledge workers and deskless, distributed employees. According to the Deloitte 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report of 11,000 HR and business leaders, companies are forecasting around one-third of their employees will be freelancers or “gig workers” in the next few years.
- Changing expectations around employee communications: As demographics of the workforce shift, so have employee expectations. According to a 2017 study, Gen Z and millennials expect and want greater company transparency and prefer personalized messaging, video, and highly engaging content.
- Transparency: According to the Deloitte study, transparency is a major topic affecting corporate and brand reputation in 2018: “Engagement with other stakeholders on topics such as diversity, gender pay equity, income inequality, immigration, and climate change can lift financial performance and brand value, while failure to engage can destroy reputation and alienate key audiences.
There are many tools to power enterprise communications and collaboration, but none of these tools serves the needs of the communicator, the one person who is tasked with reaching every worker.
Every Worker Matters
Collaboration tools which enable ongoing conversation and dialogue are one part of a “comms stack.” The most popular tools on the market today focus on the knowledge worker who sits at a desk and wants to chat and share files with co-workers. That’s a small market because 75 percent of today’s global workforce is deskless.
Frontline employees work in the world’s biggest industries—retail, hospitality, manufacturing, and science. We know that most companies don’t really understand them. But every worker deserves better technology and a way to get their PTO balance, safety videos, or store opening procedures just like every other employee who has easy access to email and the intranet.
A workforce communications platform
A good analogy I like to use for describing the tech opportunity for communications is how technology transformed marketing and HR departments years ago. Internal comms is on the same trajectory. Marketers have Marketo, HR has Workday, and communicators have had the company intranet and email newsletters?
This is what we’re fixing. The SocialChorus platform offers one place where to plan, create, publish, and measure your content. One platform to get critical news and information to every worker, no matter how hard they are to reach. Customize communications based on your audience—role, geography, or seniority — and in turn, make sure the right content and information is reaching the right people. Leadership, HR, and internal communications can now tackle brand reputation, employee retention, and employee expectations head on. This our vision: a workforce communications platform to support a unified and agile enterprise.
With our new funding, we’re investing even more in our customers and platform. We’ve grown our sales, marketing, product, customer success, and strategic advisory teams and created customer forums and events, like FutureComms, where communicators swap stories and share their expertise. We help them stay ahead of the curve, not behind it.
And we’ve made several significant hires to support these efforts, including Cyrus Gilbert-Rolfe as managing director, EMEA; Dave Lutz as vice president of client strategy and success; and Alison Murdock as chief marketing officer.
We are grateful to our customers for their feedback and guidance. We’re inspired by their success and challenges and continue to focus on helping them more easily do what they do best: communicate. We focus our directives based on their daily needs, how many workers we reach, and how well we can help meet their organizational goals.
We’re thankful to our investors for their support and belief in our mission. In the words of our newest board member, Kareem El Sawy of Arrowroot Capital, after evaluating dozens of companies in our space, our “approach seemed to match what customers and their end-users (employees) truly wanted.”
Last and but not least, thank you to the SocialChorus team. I am fortunate to spend time every day with them, meeting and beating milestones. And to spearhead our mission to change the way things are getting done in an industry ripe for change.
All the Best,
Gary Nakamura, CEO, SocialChorus and Greg Shove, Founder and Executive Chairman