Ask Jennifer Brazer how she describes herself, and you won’t hear her reply entrepreneur, CEO or business mentor. Despite the fact she is all those things, Jennifer is a self-described “Empowerment Nerd.”
It’s her passion for connecting with people, inspiring success and breaking the mold of traditional accounting which led her to become a renowned business owner and author.
Jennifer founded Complete Controller 14 years ago with the dream of helping small and medium-sized businesses do their bookkeeping and financial accountancy better. Her company was one of the first to offer cloud-based client accounting services.
The success of this model resulted in Complete Controller opening offices in 12 cities across the United States. But growing at such pace brought with it a number of challenges. How could Jennifer keep staff connected and engaged when working virtually across so many disparate locations?
Keeping her team connected was key to Jennifer’s goal of personal empowerment. “It's really important when you have a virtual company that you connect everyone,” she explains. “Not just by feeding them the same information, but also by letting them have that personal connection with each other.”
Employee communication was an area of the business close to Jennifer’s heart. She wanted to improve her team’s knowledge and wellbeing, regularly providing guidance and support on areas such as personal finance and cybersecurity. As a financial services provider, keeping employees informed on potential risks and the latest fraudulent practices was essential.
In the past, Jennifer had relied on traditional communication channels like email, but with a modern virtual workforce and a desire for innovation, it was clear email alone wouldn’t be good enough.
“We don't want to send important information out in an email and have it may be read, maybe clicked on and read later,” says Jennifer. “We were looking for something that would refresh our communications and capture our staff's attention.”
Jennifer had a diverse range of messages she wanted to convey to her teams, from critical compliance notifications to light-hearted culture-building celebrations. She needed an effective communication platform that was flexible to her requirements.
“Team compliance is all about our processes and procedures,” says Jennifer. “We’re very process-driven. We have deadlines all throughout the period because we're dealing with managed accounts. So, we'll have deadlines for reconciliations, deadlines for reviews, deadlines for reporting, and so on.”
With so many deadlines in play, it was natural for staff to need reminders of each. Missing a critical deadline could have serious knock-on effects for Complete Controller’s clients. But doing this via email was ineffective due to reminders getting lost in what Jennifer refers to as “the email storm.”
So Jennifer turned to SnapComms – and we worked with her to help turn her employee comms around. Scrolling newsfeed-style Desktop Tickers were ideal for reaching employees with important information directly on their screens. Bypassing email meant that messages would no longer be overlooked or ignored.
“We're pushing information to them directly on their desktop. So, when they're logging in, they're getting it, they're having to engage with it; it's unavoidable. And we're knowing that they're getting that information,” attests Jennifer.
While essential compliance reminders may have been Jennifer’s initial messaging need, the success of the channel meant that it was quickly expanded to communicate other topics, like cybersecurity and workplace culture messages.
Celebrating milestones and achievements was important to Jennifer, so staff birthdays, anniversaries and babies presented perfect opportunities to connect teammates. Special pages were created for each event on the company intranet, and Ticker messages were used to promote these pages and encourage staff to visit them.
“All too often we don't have the opportunity to connect and really humanize each other and develop relationships because we're hopping onto a meeting or just getting the work done,” Jennifer believes. “So we wanted to celebrate fun things to really create that human element.”
As years have passed, Complete Controller continues to go from strength to strength. But what was it about partnering with SnapComms that allowed Jennifer to truly connect with and bring her virtual teams together?
“What we're seeing when we send out compliance messaging is that we get better results,” says Jennifer. “We get quicker results, staff have those reminders at the forefront of their mind and they're meeting deadlines more rapidly. SnapComms is really the perfect answer.”
One feature Jennifer particularly loves is the ability to seamlessly target different employee groups. Using active directory, she has the flexibility to create and send targeted messages to specific groups of people, the whole company or even individuals. This allows for the delivery of highly relevant content, which in turn increases message visibility and readership.
It’s all part of the rich and varied experiences Jennifer relates in her book, ‘From Cubicle To Cloud’ – the Empowerment Nerd seeking to help and inspire others starting out on similar journeys.
“We need these types of tools in order to be that glue that holds it all together,” she believes. “And this is definitely one that I highly recommend in the book when I talk about cloud strategies. So hopefully, others will look to it as an alternative method of communication that really slices through all of the static that's out there and helps them to connect with their staff.”