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120: Diving Into Employee Engagement Platforms with Cooleaf

Written by Rob Stott

May 24, 2022

Employee engagement has always been a hot topic in the HR world, but the past two-plus years has really put the spotlight on the industry. We sat down with John Duisberg, co-founder of Cooleaf, to talk about the benefits of investing in a platform like theirs.


 

Rob Stott: All right. We’re back on the Independent Thinking Podcast and, uh, bit of a different type of pie. You know, we usually talk to members and, uh, you know, our, our, our product vendors and, and things like that. Today, we’ve got, uh, a unique conversation coming to us with the folks at Cooleaf, John Duisberg, the co-founder of Cooleaf, um, which I, I could try to explain the employee engagement platform. Those are the two words I’ll use, but I, I’m gonna let you do that, John, uh, eventually here. But before we dive into it, first of all, thanks for taking the time and, and, uh, you know, matching the, the podcast equipment and making it look like (laughs) we, we both know what we’re doing up here and, and talking with us today.

John Duisberg: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for hosting me, Rob. Um, definitely, uh, appreciate that and, um, you know, happy to, happy to dive in and share, um, a little bit about our story, about, you know, what we’re seeing in the industry and hopefully, um, this can be, you know, helpful, um, to, to, to listeners, um, who are tuning in here. So, um, I can just kick off with a little bit about Cooleaf in our story here. Um, and, uh, so you said it right, employee engagement, um, you know, basically what, what we’re seeing right now in the market is everyone is focused on how do they attract and retain good people, right? You know, you can’t run a business as if you don’t have good employees.

Rob Stott: Right.

John Duisberg: This is just what it comes down to.

Rob Stott: Right.

John Duisberg: So every leader is thinking about this. And so what Cooleaf does is we help companies to have a strategy to be proactive when it comes to appreciating, recognizing, creating engagement with your employees. And then we have a technology to help run that for you, right. And so, you know, essentially, you know, companies these days, you know, they’re, they’re, they’re looking for, you know, what’s gonna bring an employee to their organization versus the competitor. And what we’re hearing is that people are looking at salary, of course.

I mean, that’s always gonna be there, but what’s your culture like, right. You know, Hey, am I, do I have growth opportunities, right. Am I gonna feel like I’m part of a community, do I align to your mission, your values and so forth, right? And so, you know, that’s the, the part of the strategy that we really focus on and help a company differentiate, um, to, to attract the best people.

Rob Stott: Which I, I mean, you’re speaking the language of, uh, you know, nationwide representing independent, small, independent retailers that, you know, talents at a premium right now.

John Duisberg: Yeah.

Rob Stott: So this kind of thing I think speaks to them and, um, you know, the, I, the idea of not even just being able to find talent but keep them, that’s the important thing is keeping them, right. Uh, ’cause they have the opportunity to go elsewhere and um, you know, but if that, that culture’s built the right way and, and you’re, you’re using all the tools at your disposal to, to create that positive vibe, then you’re more likely to keep them. But, uh, before we dive a little deeper, uh, ’cause I, I know we’re going to talk a little bit about you ’cause this is such a, a unique space, um, the, the employee engagement space.

And how does one, you know, talk a little bit about your background and how one, you know, decides that this is the, the way they wanna go and, and found a company that that can help, uh, you know, others, you know, create those positive vibes in, in the, uh, the company culture.

John Duisberg: Yeah. Yeah. Well, um, you know, uh, if, if any entrepreneur ever tells you that, oh, they had this, this from day one, they had it all planned out, they’re probably, you know, lying through their teeth (laughs). You know, the truth is, is that within any entrepreneurial journey, you know, it’s, it’s a, it’s you, you evolve, right. We’ve, we’ve had pivots, we’ve, um, you know, changed with, you know, the market in terms of how we can provide value and grow and, and, and so forth. And so, uh, we’ve, we’ve been at this now for, for about 10 years.

But when we started, we were actually really focused more on health and wellness supporting these types of programs with, with employers. Um, what we found is that, you know, that companies are, you know, that’s one piece of an engagement strategy, right. Um, and companies are doing a lot to, uh, you know, to, to figure out how to spot bonus their people. How to now, now, now, especially when people are remote or they’re spread out in different locations, well, how do you, how do you keep people feeling like they’re connected and part of something? How do you manage internal communications?

And so our, our, our service and product has evolved so much, you know, over these years. And now we work with companies, um, across, across different industries, everything from tech to, to, to retail, to construction, to higher education, you name it, Rob. So across industries. And I think we’re now live in, in 18 countries. So around the world now.

But the common denominator is, hey, what are you doing to differentiate yourself, to highlight your culture, highlight your values. Because, and I, I think that, especially with younger demographics, they want to know that they’re the, they’re working for an organization that they feel aligned to, you know, from a mission and values perspective, right. And so we’re gonna share those stories and highlight those and just remind people, um, about the why behind what, uh, for how a company exists.

Rob Stott: No, it makes, makes a lot of sense.

John Duisberg: Yeah.

Rob Stott: Obviously, you know, the, the connection here being, um, we, we’ve got some, I know some programs in the works for members nationwide, of course, is a, a user of Cooleaf and we’ve got some cool things happening there, not intentionally using cool to talk about (laughs) Cooleaf, but, um, you know, the, the, the neat thing is, and having that experience with the platform, um, and I, I don’t know how often you hear this and you feel free to tell me, I, you know, this description’s off base.

But it almost feels like an employee social media platform where you can kind of talk about your, um, your, your coworkers and, and give praise and things like that. And you mentioned the, the bonuses, you know, there’s the, uh, reward system where you, you can kind of cash in these, these tokens that you’re in for, for, um, you know, some pretty cool things, merchandise, gift cards, things like that. But I, simplest form, is it easy to describe it or, or correct to describe it as kind of that employee or, or company sort of social media type environment.

John Duisberg: So, so it definitely resembles that, it’s just that it’s private to just your company.

Rob Stott: Yep.

John Duisberg: Okay. So think of it, like you have this, um, you know, mobile and online community that that’s branded for your organization, right. And all your employees are part of it. And so this is how, you know, you’re essentially, you’re bonusing people.

Rob Stott: Mm-hmm.

John Duisberg: Spot bo- so, so let’s just say someone did a great job with a customer, right. Well, you can share that story about how that person went above and beyond, right. And then, then everyone else on your team, they see that story, right. And that kind of, it reminds people, oh, this is what this is, what’s valued here, right. And, and they can comment. They can like it. So you’re, they can participate in that, that milestone or achievement and it’s, and it’s tied back to a core value. So now it’s like, oh, okay, well, that’s what that core value actually means in terms of how we work with our customers.

And in addition to just recognizing and highlighting, you know, that, that achievement, um, someone earns points, okay. So there’s a point system, right. And so as an employee, I’m accumulating these points that I can then redeem in a catalog. So think of Amazon gift card, visa gift, you, hu- hundreds of gift cards, flat screen TV, you know, thousands of items. I can donate to a charity. I, you know, you can get real creative about what is included in this catalog, but it’s essentially a way to just spot bonus people, uh, for going above and beyond treating your customers well, treating, you know, just, you know, overall the goals of your organization, right. And, and so, Rob, so here’s the interesting thing about this, right?

If you put, you know, whatever 25, $50 in my paycheck, you know, I’m not gonna complain about it, but it, it kind of gets absorbed. You know, I don’t really see it, you know, it kind of already has a home. It goes, it pays my, my mortgage or car payment, (laughs) whatever, right. But if, if I get a, a $50 Amazon gift card, and I give that to my wife, which by the way, it’s like, you know, we get packages like every day, you know, (laughs) it’s just out of control. She thinks I’m a hero, right.

Rob Stott: Yeah.

John Duisberg: It’s more tangible, right. And it’s kind of outside my regular compensation. And so I, I, I, it, it, it’s, it’s, I, I’m now talking about it. I’m, it’s creating buzz. And so there’s in addition to being appreciated, I’m now I, I’m, I’m kind of have this, you know, this, this spot bonus in real time, and there’s a higher perceived value, right. And so we use that point system to just drive and reinforce the behaviors that you wanna see more consistently across your team.

Rob Stott: Yeah.

John Duisberg: And that could be for your culture, that could be for, you know, for your goals. Um, but that, that’s, there’s a lot more I can share, but fundamentally-

Rob Stott: Yeah.

John Duisberg: …You know, that, that’s an example of how, how it’s used.

Rob Stott: And, and, uh, another thing too, you mentioned the recognition, um, something I’ve noticed and I, I think a neat way that it kind of continues to drive that involvement in the platform, there’s a lot of like event based things that happen as well throughout, you know-

John Duisberg: That’s right.

Rob Stott: …A month or a week, or the count the year, like the new year’s is an example there, or the new year’s resolutions, I think there was-

John Duisberg: That’s right.

Rob Stott: …Something you could, uh, you know, share what your resolution was and talk about your progress. And, um, just other things like that throughout the, the year that, you know, that it all ties back into the points and being able to earn those points, um, and, and sort of build your, uh, your, your point base. But, um, you know, it’s a neat way to not only earn those points, but learn more about your coworkers. And, and it, it’s almost like a major, like a, uh, a gigantic icebreaker, (laughs) the, the way the platform is, uh, built.

John Duisberg: Yeah. Well that, so, so, you know, employees, what we hear is people want more than a paycheck. They wanna feel like they’re part of something, they’re part of a community. You know, they’re connecting with, you know, a lot of, a lot of Gallup studies say, you know, if someone feels like they have a best friend at work, they’re very much more likely to stay at their job, right. And so how do you connect with people? How do you, you know, you know, foster these relationships and so forth. And, um, and so we essentially will organize a schedule of virtual team competitions or challenges and events each month, okay.

And we manage this for our clients, but this could be around health and wellness, you know. Take a, you know, take, you know, do a step challenge. We integrate with like Apple Watch and Fitbit and all these things and drop, throw a competition out there (laughs), you’d be amazed. People go nuts over this stuff, right.

Rob Stott: Yeah, yep.

John Duisberg: Um, so could be around, you know, just fun, you know, social things, you know, it’s like, hey, it’s, it’s, you know, share a picture of your, your dog or your furry friend and, you know, and, and post that. And then you earn points. And, and then now all of a sudden you got people, you know, connecting that may wouldn’t have otherwise, you know, have known that about each other, right. And so that’s how we’re helping to kind of build the sense of culture and engagement. Um, in addition to, hey, we just hit the, we just hit our weekly number. We hit our monthly goal. Boom, I wanna spot bonus everybody. So you, you tie it into the business but then you also create opportunities for people to kind of connect from a culture, uh, perspective as well.

Rob Stott: Obviously a lot of fun. And I, I know we can dive into it a little deeper too. Um, but you know, as a business owner, someone listening to this might be thinking, well, all right, it sounds like a really cool platform, but what’s sort of that, that bottom line benefit to my business. And you kind of hit on it at the top with just the, the retention and, um, you know, recruitment aspect of this. But what if, if a retailer say, comes to you and asks, you know, why, what’s the real business sense of enga- engaging with, uh, a product like Cooleaf and, and this type of service, what’s, what’s sort of your response to that.

John Duisberg: Yeah. I, I mean, it, you know, if, if we just simplify it down, you know, let’s, let’s say a retail environment, um, this is a way to, in real time spot bonus your individuals or teams for achieving we’ll call it, you know, um, micro milestones, right? So, hey, this week we hit our, we hit our, our, our, you know, our sales goal, or we hit our cus- cust- we hit our loyalty goal. We hit our customer satisfaction goal and, and, and boom, now everyone’s recognized. And, um, you know, it’s, you’re reminding people in a positive way about, you know, what’s important, you know, for your business. And so it’s just, it’s a way to very easily manage and, and kind of, um, highlight, you know, the goals and the wins that are happening, right.

And, and, and what happens is that, you know, we see more of the behaviors that, you know, are gonna lead to your goals because you’re positively reinforcing them in a, in a, you know, easy to ma- easy to use kind of, um, manner, right. So, so, you know, you know, fundamentally like just as a retailer, right, it’s like, hey, you know, I, I, I wanna have a way, you know, here, here we have these sales goals, we have these customer service goals, whatever it might be, I wanna have a way in real time to just spot bonus my people, um, but also do it in a more social experience so other people get to see it.

Other people can, you know, read that story and, and, um, and again, going back to that higher perceived value, right. It’s, you know, hey, you know, people, people love that, that target gift card, once they realize that’s real, um, you have their attention and it drives, it drives behavior.

Rob Stott: It almost like, especially on the, there’s the recognition side, but the, the, um, the challenges side that, that we’re talking about, it almost gamifies the job is that, is that, would that be fair to say?

John Duisberg: It, it does. Um, and you know, it, it, it, your car- you’re, you’re gamifying it and you’re just doing it in a positive experience for your people.

Rob Stott: Yeah.

John Duisberg: Right. Um, so we have kind of this, so we can customize these, the, the gamification to, to the business, right. So we’ll create competitions and so forth that are gonna align to the goals, right. And then we’ll mix in some fun things and keep it interesting and fresh as well, right. But, but that’s kind of the, you know, the secret sauce, um, you know, is, you know, we use this point system to, to, to recognize and reinforce the, the actions and the behaviors that you wanna see more consistently with your team. And we just do it in a way that people get really excited about, um, and, and enjoy.

Rob Stott: And you, obviously, you guys, you mentioned you work with a bunch of different types of businesses and things like that. I, I’m curious on the retail side and, and it could be, you know, with specific use cases of, of your platform, or even just, you know, employee engagement in general, what are some things that a, a, a retailer can do? Uh, you mentioned like sales goal targets and things like that, but are there other ways that a, a retailer can sort of turn to employee engagement to, you know, uh, help whether it’s culture or the bottom line of the business, but what kind of things are, are they able to do?

John Duisberg: So I’ll give you an example. Um, uh, so, so you’re probably familiar with Orangetheory Fitness.

Rob Stott: Yep.

John Duisberg: Um, most, most people have heard of that. Um, you know, it’s, it’s intense, right? (laughs).

Rob Stott: Yeah.

John Duisberg: Um, but, uh, you know, you know, the way that that we’re supporting, you know, their strategy, so they have, they have a lot of different locations. They have, they have district kind of managers, they have location managers, and then they have, you know, staff, right. Um, and, you know, they want to empower their, their district leaders, their store, their, you know, store, I’ll call it store managers to be able to, you know, reward and recognize individuals for going above and beyond. So they’re empowering their leaders. And so they have certain number of points that they can do that, and they have different kind of awards that they can give out.

Um, you know, and, and so, so they, you’re, you’re allowing them to recognize their people for their, you know, based on, you know, their discretion and their goals. Um, in addition, we have automatically, when people hit certain milestones, boom, they’re automatically recognized, right. So now as an employee, like, I know that, hey, if we get X number of new, you know, folks enrolled this week or signed up, you know, hey, I’m gonna work, as a team, we’re gonna hit this spot bonus. And as an individual, my manager has the ability to, to highlight and recognize me as well.

So, so, so that’s just an that, uh, you know, an example really kind of focusing in on the, the, the, the spot bonusing or the, the, the award kind of aspect. But, um, you know, uh, you know, again, you know, you, you, the, the, the company or the, you as the, the business owner, you can control the budget, right. How much you wanna make available, right. Um, but what we found is that, because it’s going through this program, I’m earning points, right. Um, it, hey, that $50 means a lot more and this gift card in my hand, versus in my paycheck, you can actually spend less money through this type of program versus, you know, just adding things to people’s checks.

And you get a lot more mileage out of it is. So, so that’s an example, you know, in a retail environment that, um, that I think could be relevant for, for, for the audience here.

Rob Stott: Ha- have you seen, um, you know, that this platform, like, are there, have, have you seen an example or does anything stand out to you, um, you know, in your work of a, a company completely flipping its culture from like having, you know, employees were not having a great experience to, you know, they, they brought this in, you don’t have to get into specifics, but, you know, it’d be interesting to hear what the, the shift looked like for a, a company in sort of bringing something like this on board.

John Duisberg: Yeah. So, um, you know, so I love sharing stories, um, uh, you know, we, so, so in most, uh, in most cities there’s, they have these top workplace awards, okay. Um, and, uh, and, and companies, you know, Hey, when I’m, when I’m recognized as a, a best place to work, you know, I communicate that to applicants, new hires, right. Like that’s how I’m attracting talent. So, so in one particular example, um, you know, it’s an accounting firm, um, you know, they, they were not on that top workplace, they were doing engagement surveys, they were struggling.

Um, so we came in really focused on employee recognition, right. And just allowing people to be recognized and appreciated and, and just, um, with the goal of getting them on that top workplace list, right. So I’m, I’m really excited to say, not only did we get them on that top workplace list and they still are today, they told us, um, that with roughly a, uh, 3.5%, um, reduction in employee turnover, uh, they save, they saved approximately $2 million annually, right. And this is, this is what they’re telling us, okay.

So to them, the ROI is just significant, right. And it, so not only is it helping them attract talent from being on that top workplace list and kind of having that as a something that they promote, but they’re telling us, Hey, this is part, and it’s, it’s not just us. They, they, they said, “Hey, we’re gonna be intentional about a strategy to retain our, our people.” Right. And being able to reward recognize, um, you know, kind of create this community was a big part of that strategy. And so they shared with us, you know, that those, those ROI around, around turnover.

Rob Stott: And, and that’s the important things, those are like the hidden dollars, right. Is the, you know-

John Duisberg: Absolutely.

Rob Stott: …The, the turnover it’s…

John Duisberg: Turnover is expensive.

Rob Stott: Right.

John Duisberg: Very expensive.

Rob Stott: Yeah.

John Duisberg: Yeah.

Rob Stott: And, and just the, the, I, the other thing you mentioned there too, is being intentional about it. And I, I wonder just from a, you know, in talking to, in your experience, talking to businesses about, you know, the, these employee recognition platforms and employee engagement, what, is the pitch difficult? Like, what’s it like trying to get a, a company if they’re reaching out obviously they have some interest, but even just in talking to someone that might not currently employ a platform, like Cooleaf, what is that conversation like? And, um, do you see a lot of similarities between those that are hesitant to it and, and maybe the thing that kind of gets them over the edge to, you know, commit to really being intentional about this?

John Duisberg: So, so, so, yeah, so this is a great question. Over these last one, two years, um, with the, with the pandemic and, you know, obviously now awesome we’re coming out of that. Um, you know, I would say that more and more companies are realizing they’ve got to be doing more for their employees, okay. Um, and, uh, you know, this is especially true when you got a lot of people spread out or remote. Um, it, you know, how do you, how do you share these stories? How do you, how do you, you know, make people, making sure people are engaged and tied to your, you know, what does your culture mean to these people who, who are all, who are all spread out?

And so we’re seeing more and more that, um, you know, this is a priority. We believe this is the future, Rob. So, so if you are gonna be a forward thinking leader, you will have this, an employee experience strategy period, right. Now, if you’re not there yet, you know, one way to like more tangibly even start is, hey, this is a more modern way to spot bonus your people for hitting goals for your organization, okay.

And so what we tell people is like, “Look, you know, if you already have a budget to, to bon- for bonuses, take a fraction of that budget, let’s, let’s run it through this program in terms of how, how now you can do this in a, more of a social, you know, kind of experience with the reward points and the catalog. And let’s, let’s, let’s look at the, the data. Let’s look at the difference, right?” So, you know, typically most companies are already budgeting some form of a bonus. Well, let’s take some of that and let’s run it through this new modern way to kind of manage it, right. And let’s look at the data and let’s look at the results. And once that happens, the, you know, they’re, they’re believers (laughs).

Rob Stott: [inaudible 00:21:41].

John Duisberg: Yeah. So, so that’s, you know, that’s kind of what we’re seeing right now.

Rob Stott: Well, and, and you kind of, you mentioned it, um, obviously the last two years have, have put an emphasis on this, um, as employees started and, you know, companies as a whole have gone remote, um, and had to be forced to work separately from one another and, uh, at a distance. But I, you know, has, has that sort of eased the burden, I guess, on you guys and explaining sort of the benefits of these are, are more companies getting it now, is it [inaudible 00:22:10].

John Duisberg: I, I would say, I would say so the short answer is yes. Um, I would say, you know, especially, you know, so, so when companies, a lot, when company, a lot of companies went remote, right, um, those things that you used to do kind of in person in your office, well, what, now you’re not doing that. What are you, what are you gonna do now, right? And so how do you kind of create that sense of culture, that sense of engagement when you don’t see people, right. Now, I know in retail, obviously, you know, you’re gonna be, you know, with each other more.

Um, but, but the bottom line is, you know, we’re now seeing much more people, you know, coming to us saying, “Hey, you know, we’re looking for a strategy, right. He- he- help us understand, you know, what are the top workplaces doing?” Right. And so when we work with an organization, it’s not just about again, you know, hey, here’s this new fancy technology, you know. I’m a big believer, if you don’t have a strategy behind your technology, you’re not gonna get the value, right. And so, so we’re helping these organizations to create that strategy but also to learn from, there’s no reason to recreate the wheel. Right.

There’s so… We, we share all these best practices, all these learnings from what other companies are doing. And we say, “Hey, here’s, here’s, here’s a roadmap, here’s a template, here’s examples, here’s the best practices.” And then we’ll customize it for their specific goals, right. Um, and, and, you know, again, you know, we see this as the future, Rob. And, you know, people are gonna get there.

Rob Stott: Yep.

John Duisberg: Some will get there sooner than others, but we’re seeing it in a big way across industries right now.

Rob Stott: And, and again, to your point, you know, you mentioned that it’s, there’s the being intentional about it, and then having it, it’s not just investing in a platform. Yes, you’re investing in the platform, but it’s understanding, and that kind of half answers what was gonna be my last question for you and just ensuring that there’s ongoing, you know, use of a platform, obviously it, you know, has to do with having that sort of full company strategy behind it and, and, you know, doing more than just trying to engage people in a platform because that, that obviously isn’t gonna do it.

John Duisberg: Yeah.

Rob Stott: There needs to be sort of buy in and, and a roadmap to your, you know, as, as you describe it. I’m curious, you know, obviously they’re gonna be, you know, no two companies are gonna have the same strategy or the same strategy isn’t gonna work, you know, it’s this isn’t cookie cutter,for sure.

John Duisberg: Yeah.

Rob Stott: Um, but what I, what are some of the things, you know, that a, that you see that kind of align across different companies, maybe specifically for retail.

John Duisberg: Yeah.

Rob Stott: Um, as far as that, that overarching strategy of employee engagement is concerned.

John Duisberg: So first and foremost, tie it into your business. So, Hey, like when we’re hitting this goal as, as a team, this is how you’re gonna be bonused, okay. So you don’t have to beg people to go use some technology pla- no, this is how you’re being bonused, okay. This is your job, do it well, and here’s how you’re gonna be bonus, right. Boom. I just now got 500 points, I’m on my app, I’m seeing what I can redeem. Oh, wow. I can, I can give a shout out and recognize someone else. Oh, wow. We got a challenge going on. I, then the snowball starts to generate, right.

So number one, tie it into your business. Okay. Number two, um, if you, as an organization have core value, if you don’t have core values, I absolutely believe that that this is something that you want to invest the time on. Like, and, and, and really think about, you know, why do, why, why do we exist? What is our mission? Why do other people want to come be part of this mission? Right. And, you know, and then have a way to, you know, to basically tell the stories about what these values mean in the day to day, right.

And we do that through employee recognition. Okay. And so, so tie it into your business. This is how you, you bonus people for your business, right. I mean, I may be whatever, I’m a great employee, I’m busy doing this thing, but hey, now I just got, I got awarded. I want, and so you’re bringing me back in, right. And then enable the core value based recognition, right. And then those stories will start to get shared about how these folks are going above and beyond, right. Those two things.

And then, you know, there’s simple things like, hey, you know, um, someone had a work anniversary, well, we’re automatically gonna celebrate them, recognize them, right. Someone had a birthday. Okay, great. You know, so these there, hey, we, a new hire just got added, right. Well, let’s welcome. You know, and so there’s lots of ways that we make it easy to, or, you know, to get strong adoption, but to answer your question, you know, tie it into your business and then let’s, let’s really celebrate people for living out those core values. Those would be two fundamental things to get adoption.

Rob Stott: No, that, that’s awesome. And I, it’s cool to hear because we’re obviously having a lot of those conversations and, and they’re ongoing. The, the important thing is there are conversations that are ongoing.

John Duisberg: Right.

Rob Stott: It’s not like a, Hey, let’s figure out what our core values are and then set it and forget it. That just doesn’t happen. Um, or it might, but that’s not gonna result in success or, or, you know, real-

John Duisberg: Sure.

Rob Stott: …True buy in, um, for sure. But, you know, thinking of it from the retail aspect, you know, a retailer might think, well, core values, I sell product like that’s, but, but there are ways to, you know, think about that. Like every company has core values, whether they think it’s, you know, too simplified or not, but, you know, I, I know a retailer and I’m sure you’ve seen examples of, you know, really what it takes to look at your business and figure out what those are, because whether you’re a retailer or, you know, in some other industry, you, you’re gonna have core values. And, um, to, to your point in the kind of wrapping this whole conversation, is it it having those and being able to work towards those is what, you know, builds that culture and gets people to buy in.

John Duisberg: Absolutely. And I, I think just innately as, as a human or an employee, I wanna know that what I’m doing is meaningful. Right.

Rob Stott: Yep.

John Duisberg: And I wanna feel like I’m having an impact, right, in something positive, right. And so, and, and, and so if you know that and that, and that’s part of engagement, that’s part of retention-

Rob Stott: Yeah.

John Duisberg: …Is feeling and, and, and, but, but you have to, you know, you got new hires coming, you got people coming and going, you have to constantly tell that story. Hey, you know why we exist? Here’s, here’s what we do. You know, here’s why we serve our customers this way, you know, here’s the impact we’re looking to make. And you, you know, reminding people, right.

Rob Stott: Mm-hmm.

John Duisberg: Um, and, you know, that’s, I believe what employees expect now, right. And at least good employees (laughs).

Rob Stott: Yeah. No (laughs).

John Duisberg: And so, so, you know, so, so that’s, that’s kind of how we see the future. That’s what, that’s, what we see is what, what leaders are doing to, to really attract and, and keep the best people. And I believe that, you know, all organizations should get there, will get there at some point, but, um, but yeah, you know, that, that’s kind of what we’re seeing overall right now.

Rob Stott: No, that, that’s awesome. It’s cool. ‘Cause, you know, we have the experience of engaging with Cooleaf and, and the platform and seeing how it’s been customized for nationwide and uh, you know, excited to, to kind of get a little bit underneath the cover here.

John Duisberg: Yeah.

Rob Stott: Uh, and see how you guys are thinking about it. And it makes a lot of sense. I mean, it’s been fun chatting with you about it and uh, we’re excited to see how, you know, some independent retailers implemented as well in their own businesses. So, um, it’s fun. I, I reminds me, I need to go check my point total, see where I’m at.

John Duisberg: Yeah (laughs).

Rob Stott: And, uh, go see what I-

John Duisberg: Right.

Rob Stott: …What I can cash in on. But now John, this was, uh, a lot of fun talking with you and, and get into, you know, dive in a little deeper into Cooleaf and just the whole concept of employee engagement. ‘Cause it’s one that, as you mentioned, is very important and uh, certainly seems like the, the way things are going. So we appreciate you taking the time and, and chatting with us.

John Duisberg: Well, thank you for hosting me today. It was, it was a lot of fun. Um, and I really appreciate, uh, being able to share, you know, share this story with you.

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