We’ve continued to see companies discuss and contemplate the best ways to engage their workforce while providing the continued flexibility of remote-work. The question at the heart of it all is, "how do we build a better work community through collaboration?"
As employers and employees navigate ever evolving work environments, many are considering new strategies and structures for collaboration across all team configurations. From in-office and hybrid to remote and distributed, employers across all industries, sizes and geographies are beginning to make longer-term decisions on how to integrate their people and their workplaces in new and changing ways.
Research by Ladders involving North America’s largest 50,000 employers projects that 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022, and remote opportunities will continue to increase through 2023. Mckinsey also shared that employees are welcoming the opportunity for remote work set-ups, with 87% of employees across a variety of industries accepting remote-work when offered by their employer. With companies doubling down on new approaches to collaboration, they are also expanding their operational initiatives around these strategies and bringing in new tooling and tech to support growing needs.
At PeopleTech Partners (PTP), we’ve continued to see companies discuss and contemplate the best ways to engage their workforce while providing the continued flexibility of remote-work. Unique technologies continue to emerge to create the balance of engagement and flexibility. Employers are defining their long-term strategies with many providing collaborative creativity and organizational agility to be best optimized for a variety of workplace frameworks.
As the PTP Growth Program lead, I partner with Founders participating in the exclusive PeopleTech quarterly Growth Program, which provides insights, feedback and evangelism in the WorkTech industry. I recently sat down with Liza Mash Levin, CEO and Founder of Gable, for a conversation about what she is building to support flexible workplace collaboration, and how innovative tech is enabling new ways of working. Liza and her team are building a holistic end-to-end experience for employees that gives the workplace and People Teams data about how their teams collaborate – deep insights that employers couldn't achieve without Gable. While more and more use cases arise for large scale operations, Liza shared her thoughts on where she started and the areas she anticipates Gable will impact going forward.
Liza, to start us off, can you tell us what gave you the idea to start Gable?
Great question. The bottom line is that I like the idea of focusing on connecting people. That's the premise for everything that we do at Gable.
I am a third-time immigrant, and although I am a social person, I'm an introverted person. When I moved to the States, I thought I would really like to answer the question of “How do we build a community when there isn’t one? And how do we build a better community through collaboration?”
As far as my own experience and motivation, I experienced the pain points of working remotely with distributed teams both as an employee who was working remotely, but also as a manager of multiple teams in different time zones. Coordinating across those teams was a challenge, but what is more difficult is making them feel like part of the same team. There were a lot of barriers both culturally and physically, such as language barriers and timezones. But the question remained, “how do you make your team feel connected and engaged when they're all over?” Of course Gable has evolved a lot since we started, but this was my motivation to make me want to do it.
Do you think the people that are currently using Gable feel more connected and feel like this is a really important part of their daily work now?
Definitely. We see this in multiple ways, and actually we measure the impact Gable is having.
Part of what we do is, of course, enabling employees to get out of their home. But more importantly, we want to know why people are getting out of their home. Maybe they don’t have a productive work environment. Perhaps they live in a tiny apartment in New York or, like myself, have kids jumping into meetings. What we are learning, however, is that the biggest reason people are leaving home is to collaborate with others.
It's an interesting case study for human beings in general - when we see opportunities in front of us we are more likely to take them! You're creating opportunities for collaboration and putting them right in front of them, any day that they are working. Tell me more about how Gable “meets the employee where they are”.
Flexibility and visibility are important to us. We want to be intentional about getting people together and creating visibility for not only the employees, not only on who is around and who is working together, but also their managers or those who need to understand those who work at the organization.
We want Gable to be embedded into day to day work, it’s important for employees to feel like collaboration is intentional. For this reason, one way we do this is through integrations, such as with Slack or other communication tools, and daily agendas and calendars. This prevents the need for any extra steps or apps.
From an admin perspective, we also integrate with all your HRIS tools and SSO providers for security purposes as well as ease of use. People Operations Managers and Workplace Teams have visibility into which departments are using Gable, who is collaborating. They can help with budgeting and controls based on different departmental needs. We want to provide constant insight and iterations so that as more employees are onboarded, using Gable is a seamless experience as opposed to having yet another task to do.
We do a lot of feedback loops both on the spaces that employees are using and the experiences they want to have. We actually populate this information for the admin from employees so they can understand what their role is in the initiative to enable employees to collaborate. Admin users see that the time and energy they've invested is working, and the way in which it is working. Some interesting organizational decisions can be made when leaders are able to answer questions like “Do I need more office space, do I need something else? Is my goal panning out the way I am envisioning?”
Could you tell me an example of feedback you got from a user of Gable?
One remarkable story that we have was from an employee whose company began using Gable shortly after she joined. Before using the platform, she was really feeling disconnected from the team. She was like, “Okay, I don't know anyone. I don't know if I like it”. So in one of our surveys she wrote us an email saying that before Gable, she was about to leave the company, but when she started using Gable she started feeling connected to her peers. Her manager and other employees in the area started meeting every week - and it wasn't just her immediate team. She got to know people in her area, and now they're doing this on a weekly basis. They select space and go work together. She told us that's what made her stay at the company.
Wow. That's incredible.
Yes, it was amazing to hear feedback that it’s not just helping with engagement and helping people feel connected, but also mental health. Schedule and work environment are really important - To hear the impact on people is amazing.
With hearing all this feedback, has there anything exciting or unexpected that you’ve experienced while building Gable?
There are many companies across the US with pockets of employees in the same places, so we are now strategic with this information and are able to support companies that have both flexible space and office space.
We’ve also seen employees are trying to use office spaces or new employer policies for a variety of collaborative experiences. Since employees are using the system to collaborate in new ways, we are working on enabling Gable to create events and offsites!
Thank you, Liza. It was incredible to learn more about you and hear about what is currently in the works for Gable!