3Sixty Insights is at the Hilton Diplomat in Hollywood, Fla., this week to attend isolved Connect, the vendor’s annual customer conference. So, naturally, we recorded an episode of the #HRTechChat video podcast onsite with Amy Mosher, isolved’s chief people officer, and Lina Tonk, vice president of marketing for isolved.
For our chat, we dove deeply into isolved’s recent rebrand, the positive impact this has had on its employees and customers alike, and, as well, isolved’s successful internal use of its own platform to grow its own workforce by 40 percent this year. Earlier, this summer, 3Sixty Insights published a case study delving into the particulars. Download it for free, and, if you’re feeling enterprising, go here to learn all about our case study on Key Training Center‘s successful use of the isolved platform.
By the way, you read that right: #isolvedconnect is an in-person event this year. Related activities and festivities remain in full swing through the conclusion of Tuesday’s Final Night Party, and it was my pleasure to deliver a presentation here on Monday: Melding the Two Hemispheres of HCM: Concrete and Abstract. After close to two years now meeting with colleagues only virtually, you tend to forget how great it is to see familiar faces and meet new people in real life.
In my opinion, isolved has conducted itself in an exceptionally savvy way as of late — Amy, Lina, and I even dipped briefly into analyzing the effect of isolved’s new colors, pink and black. It’s fascinating, honestly, and I encourage everyone here to watch the video.
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Brent Skinner 00:06
Well, hello, everybody, and welcome to the latest HR tech chat video podcast. Today we are recording from sunny Hollywood, Florida, where we are at the Hilton diplomat. Great backdrop, I was able to check out the ocean yesterday. And we’re at I solved connect 2021 I saw its annual conference. And I’m very pleased to have with us today. Lena Tonk who is vice president of marketing for isolved and Amy Moser, who is chief people officer for isolved. Hello.
Lina M. Tonk 00:46
Hello, now, thanks for having us.
Brent Skinner 00:50
Oh, you’re welcome. The pleasure is mine, now at 3Sixty Insights we spoke with you both earlier. Earlier, we actually published a case study around this is a very interesting, very positive, inspiring case study around isolved rebrand your, your the technology that you use internally for your own people management and this sort of stuff. So let’s talk about that today. And I guess Lina, why don’t we start with you? What are what were i sones? goals? itself?
Lina M. Tonk 01:32
Yeah, so there were a few goals, I think when we speak of brand, and when we first spoke, during our research, we spoke about customer experience, we else but not meeting our customers speak about us and how they felt about us and their experience within the brand. So that was probably the first order of business to talk to our customers on find out and begin into the brand and what events during that period, we discovered two other things that not only our brand was a brand, the brands we all knew. So we were I saw that we were isovled HCM fan, but we were Benefits Services, but we were all kinds of brands, so a brand new brand. So that needed to go away. And we needed to find that identity. One thing that we did not cover during our research is that actually the look of the brand was actually very important to us incredibly important to us. So as you look at our industry, we all kind of look very similar at the top. So we want it to pivot away from the industry, we want it to look different. We want it to stand out when we were all together. So we selected our colors based on that. So within our industry, you probably didn’t see any black and pink. And it’s been it’s been a tremendous experience from the from the brand. Look perspective, I think it’s been embraced in ways that I never expected to be embraced. But we definitely stand out. And that was a very, very important goal that we needed to achieve when we looked at our brand goals. Hmm, yeah.
Brent Skinner 03:08
Well, it definitely does pop in, you’re right about that you need to be able to stand out from the competition, and even just from a visual standpoint before anyone even checks you out further as a vendor because they might not otherwise. So that visual aspect is so huge and, and a very smart using pink, pink and black. Because if it had just been pink, yeah, it might not have, you know, what’s the word it might not have been enough contrast with the colors around it wherever it appeared. Of course it had, if it had just been black, that would have been kind of depressing. So. So together, though, you’re really sure that that that popping aspect. So congratulations on that. No, I absolutely love it.
Lina M. Tonk 03:56
Thank you. I think the color selection, definitely one of the things we achieve with that was strength within the brand too. And we see it today, after a year with the strength of the brand visually as well.
Brent Skinner 04:10
Yeah, yeah. Amy, do you have anything to add around the branding sort of the what Lina was talking about?
Amy Mosher 04:19
Well, when we decided to rebrand the organization, with the pink and black and the new logo, we also did some consolidation of our branding, for internal and external and what it did, what bringing also the new brand into the consolidation of the naming convention of ISIL did for us internally was really bring us all together under one culture. You know, one, it’s the winners. One concept really took shape for us as an organization, internally and culturally as well. So we really took advantage of that. And we branded a lot of our initiatives internally from an HR perspective around that, and around the same time as well, just to reinforce that rebranding, that marketing was doing an amazing job. Externally at both externally and internally, we bleed pink over here and I solve now, which is an incredibly enduring phrase that we use. We really have them all together kind of as a, I think a result really kicked off without rebrand. Yeah. And it’s been just a pleasure to see it happen sort of organically around in time.
Brent Skinner 05:24
Yeah, I agree. Lina, just kind of getting into some more specifics here. What, what, what impacts did the global pandemic have on ourselves rebranding plans.
Lina M. Tonk 05:36
So, um, we were talking about this this morning on, you know, the pandemic, you know, has had some positive and negative impact on within the business, any business, any personal story. And I have to say, for the brand itself, it’s been a very positive experience for us. I think the moment we start focusing on our customers and focusing on the experience, it was not just from our customers from out to end, but it was in and out to, so it was coming both ways. And I would say the pandemic allow us to have that experience within the internal teams were leaving that there were start, they started embracing the brand. So our customers were talking about the brand. Well, now I want to be my my customers more. And I want to be more in contact with my customers. So I feel like the experience that we speak of the brand was happening both ways. And it was a very positive impact for us. We were seeing basically the results today. We didn’t see them immediately because they have pandemic was happening. But within months, we started seeing, seeing, we’re all talking about the pink Yes, colors and whatnot. But then we were talking about the experience as employees of the company of the customer.
Brent Skinner 06:59
Oh, I love it. Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. And nothing go back to that pink again. But but that was that was so brilliant. Because it just created buzz, you know?
Lina M. Tonk 07:09
Yeah. And I have to say, obviously, we’re at a at our conference here. And there’s a lot of pink going around. We have pink foods, we have pink. We have all the pink happening. But to my surprise, this is this has probably been a surprise that I did not expect. We’re seeing our customers show up in pink. I love it. And because they want to create that statement. So I approached one of them this morning. And he said, Well, you know, I just figured that we all had to wear pink. And things aren’t going so well for me that I thought this was my way to give back to you. Oh, my God.
Brent Skinner 07:56
That’s fantastic. That’s fantastic. I have to wear pink right? It’s almost like it’s a requirement I need to wear. I love it. Amy, so a little a little bunny told me that I solved uses its own solution internally. Drinking your own. Yeah, that’s admirable. How is it working for the company?
Amy Mosher 08:21
It’s fantastic. We’ve grown the business of headcount our employees from about 40% in the last year. And the really, honestly, I’ll be perfectly honest, when I say this, of course, you would expect to hear this for me. But really, there’s some, some honesty here. A lot of that 99% of it, I say was due to better use of our own technology, right, and really taking advantage of this incredible platform that we have available to us on this. It’s just it’s an incredible layout, right? It’s a smorgasbord of ability. And we’ve really taken advantage of that. And our team is doing an outstanding job of building best practice utilizing our own technology in every module. And there aren’t a lot of HR organizations out there I think that really focus on that and I in and I feel like that’s something that they should be focusing on really like embrace the technology, let it do the work for you. It will ultimately make you know, more successful as an HR professional. I am a huge proponent, obviously, obviously.
Brent Skinner 09:30
We do believe you though, I believe you. I’m not surprised at all. You’re You know, there are not every HCM vendor and technology vendor uses its own technology, which to me, is kind of kind of kind of crazy.
Amy Mosher 09:45
There’s absolutely no way right that we could onboard 20 to 30 employees a week, like we do today, all across the country in 48 states without having access and utilizing this platform of best practice.
Brent Skinner 09:58
Yeah, I think that’s Huge point. And you, You took the words right out of my mouth, I was about to say 40% 40% growth in in employee. Incredible. Yeah. You that that’s like a major selling point for any vendors, technology is that, you know, the ability to scale to, to work for Workforce growth. I mean that that’s a huge selling point all the time. So the fact that you guys are actually achieving that with your own system for your own growth? I mean, that’s huge. That’s, that’s proof positive right there.
Amy Mosher 10:31
I mean, referenceable customer right here.
Brent Skinner 10:34
Wonderful, wonderful. No, they already know that. I should mention that the Kate, I should mention that the case study about this that, that we publish the 360 insights is available for free download at our website. All we ask is for your someone’s email and response. Amy, what other tools does isolved use internally to facilitate things like employee collaboration and optimize things like, you know, employee engagement?
Amy Mosher 11:06
Are you utilizing isolved shared before, from an engagement platform perspective, we do all of our own engagement surveys in house, utilizing the platform really provides us with an area where we can have our own intranet without having to manage a separate website. It’s got all of our library of forms and other policies in Kentucky, and it’s got a knowledge base within it. So if there’s questions about HR practices, or if there’s questions about you know, how to support a customer differently, or better specific situation that’s going on with a customer, you can post in, share and perform. And not only can you search answers that have questions that have been answered previously, but you can say, Hey, I couldn’t find an answer to this. Does anybody know and you’ve got here, we’ve 1300 employees, now you’ve got 39 employees at your disposal, right? They’ve all they’re all on here and perform every day. So it really has been an incredible experience, especially as we’ve gone remote, which we did very, very well as an organization and continue to grow oil at home. And part of the reason for that was that we already had these collaborative tools available to us.
Brent Skinner 12:10
Yes, Hughes. There’s, there’s this thing called er g theory, about human motivation, motivation in the workplace, or just human excuse me human motivation. And this, this idea that its existence for e. r is relatedness. And G is growth, right. And the relatedness part is the idea that all three are very, very important. They’re interrelated. And your employees are thinking about all three at the same time, trying to give like the 50,000, very, very quick elevator explanation of this, but while you’re getting it is relatedness, right? The ability to collaborate when you’re suddenly disrupted, and everyone’s working from home. I mean, man, that’s just indispensable,
Amy Mosher 12:55
and absolutely was and also just the platform itself, there’s so many other pieces of the sharing performed portion of the platform engagement for the portion of the platform, are giving and volunteering is right there on the same page so accessible, you know, our recognition right there. You know, you’re seeing everybody’s birthdays are on their work anniversaries, that we’re you know, posting, you know, what happened at virtual yoga the week before, and some nice pictures from home. Like, it’s all it’s all happening on there. And it’s just it’s creating that sense of community, which in turn, I think creates that sense of belonging that folks are looking for, especially when the remote
Brent Skinner 13:33
I love it virtual yoga, is that when you is that where you don’t actually have to do the yoga.
Lina M. Tonk 13:42
We do the yoga at once
Amy Mosher 13:47
you do the yoga, if you turn off your camera.
Brent Skinner 13:53
That wouldn’t be fair. Lena, the question for you. How is all of this affected alignment between marketing and sales at isolved?
Lina M. Tonk 14:06
Yeah, so we spoke extensively about sales and marketing synergy I’ve been very, very passionate about probably for my whole entire career. Because so I actually one of my sessions this morning, I said, I get along with sales 29 days, out of the month, and then the last day of the month. We allow each other not to get along. But I’m the winner. Speaking of the pandemic specifically and when we’re talking about the positive and the negative side of the pandemic, I did see a shift on the sales and marketing side. And it was the in person events, not just uniquely to a conference but the trade shows or the meetings that we had in the office sales and marketing specially sales. I do believe that they briefed that in person communication, so I saw a shift on it. What do we do? Are we communicating as much as we are supposed to communicate with them, we’re not being able to communicate as much, because most times when we’re communicating with sales or sales is communicating with us, we’re communicating through a project, but we’re not building relationships. So a lot of my strongest sales and marketing relationships within my career have probably happened. When we’re up, when we’re out in the hallway, talking walking for more, and I would say, you know, here at the conference has been tremendous. So what we had to do is make that shift into the technologies. So it wasn’t instant that I said, Oh, we should be using more of Sharon perform. But immediately I said, I feel like we have to over communicate with sales today. And it’s not just meeting in person is meeting virtually it has to be attached to over communicating, because everyone’s in meetings, and how do we build our relationship back with them? So we kind of tagged along with HR, so anything that they were doing, we will try to tag along with them, they have, like Amy mentioned, like the virtual yoga will help us out and then just talk to sales about it. Are you going are you now going, let’s just go. And we will start, we started building our relationships that way. But I do believe share, perform still today helps us tremendously with our relationship with them, we actually have determined that we did over communicate with them, they got to a point that like your spending, buddy. So I would say initially, there was a negative impact within a pandemic. So we shift into using our technology. And then we saw the shift into positive. And I’ve seen the reward of that at the conference. So some of my long lasting relationships. I felt like I just saw them. I saw some of them. I just saw them for the first time in two years. And I feel like I just found him yesterday.
Brent Skinner 16:52
Yeah, that’s fantastic. That’s, that’s when you know, you’re doing it right. I know, we’re running out of time. And one thing I want to get to very quickly, and this question is for both of you, and maybe Amy can go first here is just this, this, this integrated, it’s just it’s inevitable. The integration of the employer brand and the customer brand, the internal brand and the external brand. Well, the internal brand has the external expression. But then there’s the you know, the customer brand. So I’m over complicating this, how have employer brand and customer brand as the analysts and the analyzing everything in flair brand and customer brand, how have they played off of each other because this has been a real transformation. You know, this, I mean, I will just say super quick that it’s this is this is really Sage savvy approach for isolved. You know that to combine the two being an ACM vendor,
Amy Mosher 17:47
it really hasn’t. And that’s what I was just going to say, but the external brand is the internal brand. Like we don’t have separation and branding it, we’re all externally we’re about improving our customers employee experience. And internally, we’re about improving our employee experience.
Brent Skinner 18:04
Amy Mosher 18:07
There is no separation there. It’s absolutely coordinated and collaborated. And it’s done on on purpose. And it’s strengthened our business as a result, I think there’s no confusion about what we’re about. It’s allowed us to kind of get behind it and move forward, I think a lot faster because the employees are projecting it to our customers. But they also live it every day. And that’s really, I think, been part of the difference here and getting the show on the road so quickly and watching the boulder roll down the hill, right and gain momentum. And it’s so efficiently.
Brent Skinner 18:43
I just love it, you know that this just this, this idea that it’s all one brand. It makes complete sense to me. Yeah, yeah. Lina, any thoughts?
Lina M. Tonk 18:53
I mean, as long as your employees are breathing, the brand and bleeding the pain, I’m going to have to get your like a pink jacket or something. I’ll wear it. As long as your employees are speaking of that brand. And the experience, it just translates. It’s seamless, actually. So this sense of community is not community just uniquely to our customers, and the community within our brand here, but we are all part of the same brand. So we did release here at the conference, people hear us which is our new advocacy program. If we had talked about this a year ago, I would have told you we were not ready for it. So but today, we were ready to launch it because we have built that sense of community here internally. And we were ready to do it externally too because our customers are leaving the brand. Obviously they’re wearing the pink and especially. I’m guessing they are but that was probably what I would say is as being able to have that brand but that sense of community where your customers are part of your community and you’re part of theirs.
Brent Skinner 20:03
Yeah, I love it. It’s all good stuff I saw it’s doing really, really important exciting things in the market. And I’m so glad to have you both on the HR tech chat video podcast. Thank you so much. It’s been a fantastic conversation. Fantastic conference. I’m having a lot of fun. Looking forward to tomorrow’s activities as well.
Lina M. Tonk 20:25
Thank you so much. Thank you bread.
Brent Skinner 20:28
Take care. Bye bye.