Photo: From left: Jessica Durpuis, Julie Dopko, Rob Drimmie, Meghan Kreller, Allison Ellacott 

“What made work great today?”

It’s a simple but powerful question.

If you have ever asked me why I work at Communitech, I probably told you it’s because there is no better feeling than going home, after a really long day, knowing that you helped someone.

I’ve been reflecting on this since I took part in some video testimonials for Plasticity, a workplace engagement tool developed by a local startup, which some of my Communitech teammates and I have been testing for the past few months.

Plasticity acts like an internal social media channel for companies, where users can post photos, tag people in statuses, add likes to comments and find out what’s going on. It also asks you one question each day about your job, your workplace and you as an individual.

As I chatted with Lacey Heels, Digital Marketing Manager at Plasticity Labs, some things came out that resonated.

“The thing that motivated the person to come into work and actually want to be there, or get excited about the work they are doing, is emotional connection,” she said.

With my background in marketing, I know the best outcome you can hope for is to create an emotional connection between the brand and the consumer. That same connection is what turns a piece of hardware, run by complex software and processors, into the thing that never strays far from my hand at any given point of the day.

We began testing Plasticity in April because it only made sense that we support a company that came through Communitech HYPERDRIVE and the Laurier LaunchPad.

I was asked to join a handful of people to try it before we rolled it out to the larger team. I agreed, but had reservations, because “another platform to sign into” was all I heard. As a social media manager already juggling multiple channels, that’s the last thing I want to hear.

I was surprised to find it wasn’t a burden. Rather than a box I had to tick in order to be considered a good employee, Plasticity quickly became something I actively wanted to be part of and encouraged other team members to use.

Why had this platform stuck when so many others had failed?

Heels chalks Plasticity’s stickiness up to emotional connection. “It allows us to find out more about the people, which in turn affects our emotional connection, and draws us into the culture of the organization.”

Plasticity took me from just believing in Communitech’s mission to really appreciating the people around me. It gave me insight into who people are, not just what they do, and made me want to capture the culture in my posts.

When you log into Plasticity, the simple question of “What made work great today” challenged me to find something I was thankful for, including teammates who aren’t on my immediate team.

But why does any of this even matter?

When you’re up against a mountain of things that all need your attention, you need to be able to trust the people that go into the trenches with you every day.

Controlling external forces that can wreak havoc on your workload is impossible, but knowing your teammates have your back can combat some of that.

A couple of years ago, Patrick Lencioni spoke at a Communitech UpStart Breakfast about the impact trust has on workplace culture, and how getting to know others and sharing interests builds trust.

Culture is one of those things you can’t easily quantify, but you know when you have walked into a company with either a solid one, or one that just leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

And bad culture can have a direct impact on performance.

Plasticity helps managers see what might be right in front of them, like “what’s going right, what’s not working, what’s affecting their mood, which in turn is affecting their performance,” Heels said.

Plasticity isn’t like pouring an insta-culture straight out of the box, but as Heels said, “It’s something that everyone has to collaborate on and you have to want to embrace your culture, because if you don’t then it’s not going to work.”

It’s no surprise that high-growth companies are the ones benefitting from the tool.

“Startups are known for having such great culture in the beginning; it feels like a family,” Heels said. “If you can establish culture by paying attention to the things that helped your company flourish in the beginning, it’s a lot easier to keep that small-time feel than try to retroactively make a change years later, wondering where you went wrong.”

About The Author

Trish Crompton
Digital Journalist/Social Media Manager

Trish Crompton brings her passion for technology and digital media expertise to Communitech's External Relations team. Trish was born in Sydney, Australia and has called Waterloo Region home since 2008. She is a marketing graduate of Conestoga College.