The way we work has rapidly evolved during the pandemic. Employees are spending significantly less time in physical offices and a large and growing number of organizations are embracing remote and hybrid work models. In many instances, employees have traded long commutes and rush hour traffic for work from home (or work anywhere) flexibility. As remote workers, we’ve gotten pretty good at communicating and getting things done with the help of Zoom, Slack, and other workforce collaboration tools over the past two years.
But what do culture and employee bonding look like in this new era of flexible work models? Chance encounters on the way to the kitchen, chatting about the big game by the water cooler, team trips to the cafeteria for lunch, a coffee chat with a coworker — these are all crucial social aspects of being in a workplace environment. They help foster a deeper rapport and connection amongst colleagues and create a greater feeling of belonging within an organization.
How to Foster Meaningful Connections Among Virtual Teams
Unfortunately, organizations large and small now have to contend with the reality that organic interactions and workplace serendipity are largely lost in remote or hybrid work settings. We’ve heard concerns from many leaders across the Norwest portfolio that their employees don’t feel a sufficient level of connection to their employers. They worry about the long-term effects this has on turnover and company performance. Hearing these worries, we realized that this disconnect is a large problem that the current iteration of software tools are not adequately solving today.
That’s why we are thrilled to announce that we have once again partnered with Jim Barnett and Goutham Kurra by investing in Wisq. Wisq is a community platform that provides a hub for employees to connect with each other. Purpose-built for hybrid and remote teams, Wisq is a place for all of the critical social moments that happen outside of shared docs, zoom meetings and spreadsheets. Through initial features like personalized feeds and smart profiles, custom groups and communities, and direct messaging and audio lounges, Wisq provides a space for those meaningful connections and serendipitous interactions where employees connect as people and not just as coworkers.
A Track Record of Technology-Led Employee Engagement
This is the third time we’ve been fortunate enough to back Jim. We previously invested in Jim’s company Turn, which had a successful exit to Singtel, as well as Glint, which was acquired by LinkedIn. At Glint, Jim, his co-founder Goutham, and their team helped the world’s top organizations increase employee engagement, develop their staff, and improve business results.
In many ways, Wisq tackles the same key challenges and problems that the team worked so hard to solve at Glint. In fact, many of the Glint band is back together at Wisq, including Goutham — who co-founded the company — and Chih-Po Wen (Glint CTO) as well as several other key early hires.
The collective Wisq team has shown they have the vision to be at the forefront of major innovation changes across human capital management, and we can’t think of a better team to bring to life a new community platform that meets the critical needs of today’s workforce. We’re thrilled to have another opportunity to work closely with this team and can’t wait to see the transformation Wisq will bring to the way we work together.