Pick a gumball, any gumball!

We're back from New Orleans and fresh out of IABC World Conference 2016! We had a hectic and exciting few days, speaking with leading communicators from across the globe.

We were also thrilled to hear how some have been succeeding in employee engagement with our internal email tool -- that kind of feedback is what drives us to continue to make Bananatag a product communicators know and love.

We went into the conference with this in mind: internal communications and employee engagement often come down to employee happiness. Although these two words aren’t exactly synonymous, they are so closely related that you can’t have one without the other.

Studies suggest that happier employees lead to an increase in productivity and greater collaboration in the workplace. It’s a CEO and internal communicator’s dream.

Getting actionable feedback should be an experience for employees. Just like getting a piece of candy. And frankly, everything should be as fun as getting a sweet gumball from a gumball machine.

The Gumball Machines of Happiness

As IABC World Conference sponsors and attendees, we wanted to create a visual representation of what exciting engagement looked like. Over the course of a few days in our Vancouver office, we built an interactive display that put communicators in the employee's shoes, asking the big question: how happy are you at work?

To do this, we thought the experience of turning a knob of a gumball machine to be rewarded with a cherry flavored gumball was the most exciting and gratifying way of gauging sentiment and a sweet introduction to Bananatag's new Pulse Survey Blocks, coming soon.

Communicators could pick a gumball based on which number best represented their level of happiness with five machines labelled one to five (one being not at all happy and five being exceptionally happy) .

As the conference progressed, the gumballs would create an inverted graph and instantly give attendees an idea of how everyone else was feeling about their jobs.

But making five gigantic, functional gumball machines from scratch was no easy feat. In fact, it took a lot of clever MacGyvering from our Bananatag team:
Making the bananatag pulse gumball machines IABC

And a box load of tester gumballs...
Tester Bananatag gumballs for IABC

In preparation for Pulse Survey Blocks, we wanted to give communicators a taste (pun intended) of how fun and easy it can be for employees to provide feedback so communicators can get a sense of what's going on.

Making Email Great Again

We didn't stop at gumballs. In line with our mission to make email great again, we were giving away pins and hats. The hats were easily the most popular and buzzworthy, though we couldn't really understand why...

bananatag-email hat-pins-iabc

So what motivated us to embark on this mission? To put it simply, email is a major channel and yet it’s the communications equivalent of the uncool kid picked last in PE class.

If we're going to be using it why not make it better? We're doing that with the addition of some powerful new features for internal communicators.

What did we actually learn from this gumball experiment? A few things. For starters, don't use Windex on acrylic tubes. And more importantly, most attendees at IABC World who took a gumball and participated in our interactive pulse survey were at four-ish on the happiness scale -- not too shabby!

Our real pulse surveys will be much faster than our homemade 4' tall gumball machines, we can guarantee that.

We already can't wait for IABC World Conference 2017 in Washington, DC!