"Nooks totally changed my calendar. All the back to back meetings are gone, because we just sorted things out with a quick impromptu chat in Nooks!" - Chris Neil, VP @ Embroker
That is what the Vice President of Embroker Chris Neil had to say after having been one of our superusers on Nooks! Embroker is a digitally native business insurance company, built from the ground up, with modern technologies to eliminate the inefficiencies that increase prices and lead to frustrating customer experiences. Founded in 2015, Inc. 5000 called Embroker “the fastest-growing private insur-tech in the US.”
When COVID-19 hit, Embroker, like most other companies, transitioned to one hundred percent remote work; but unlike other companies, their business did not slow down, and their staff doubled during the pandemic.
Over the past year, Chris Neil, Vice President, hired an entire team of 15 people that he has never met face-to-face, and he was looking for a way to mentor and onboard them to make them feel like they were a part of the team.
Chris wanted to know: Could Nooks foster more informal communication without having to schedule zoom meetings? The answer was a resounding yes.
“We have a ton of informal, two-minute meetings [with Nooks] and it's removing our reliance on Slack as a primary communication vehicle for those short messages. It's creating a ton more ad hoc meetings – working sessions – where we hang out in a room together and ask quick questions.I can collaborate in real-time without having to schedule a Zoom meeting or tell people, ‘I sent you a message on Slack to come and join me on Zoom;’ people just jump into my office and ask me a question.”
Embroker, a tech company first and foremost, is fostering a creative and collaborative culture, especially since the insurance industry does not have a reputation for being particularly dynamic. “We're building a very high-performing team – something moving really fast – and one of the elements of that is building trust. I can only move fast if I trust the people that are on my team. If I never interact with the people that are on my team, it's really hard to build trust. So having a place where we can interact constantly, where we stay in touch with each other – where we're really in sync – builds trust and then THAT allows us to drive a much more high-performing, high-trust team.”
Another feature that Chris finds particularly useful for his team is how Nooks (rooms) are set up.
“The rooms have permanence. For example, I can leave stuff written on the wall when I leave. I have a Team room where we have our ongoing Google Slides deck on the wall and it auto-updates, so every time we go in there to go through that deck, we don't have to do anything – the room is just set up.”
And popping in on the team is much simpler and does not require booking a meeting or having workers wonder or worry about why a VP is reaching out. “With everything being so structured I wasn’t able to informally pop into a meeting in progress and just say, “Hey guys,” and then pop out again. I had to deliberately book a meeting or reach out on Slack to find out how things are going. Now, if I want to, I can hop into one of our popular rooms like the Cozy Cabin and people can ask me questions. It’s like running into me in the kitchen at work.”
Chris has taken the customization feature to a whole other level, creating Nooks for meetings, hangouts, and chats. And then there’s this: “It doesn't hurt that I get to customize the room and make it fun, cool, and funky, right? We have some crazy names. [Laughs.] You can go to the executive washroom if you want and have a conversation there because, in our office, that's a Nook.”
We loved how Nooks was able to help Embroker foster a more connected team with their 15 new hires, and are excited to see their continuous growth as a company!Find out how you can create a culture of connectedness, trust, and camaraderie for your remote or hybrid team. Try Nooks!