Texting in SuccessFactors with Chobani

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Ty Abernethy:

I’m very excited to introduce you all to Colleen. Colleen was kind enough to join us today, she’s at Chobani.

I’ll briefly introduce myself, I’m the Co-Founder and CEO here at Grayscale. Grayscale is a texting platform designed for high volume hiring. We integrate into SuccessFactors to help drive a lot of efficiency in the process for enterprise organizations.

Colleen, I would love to give you the mic. Introduce everyone to you and what you do there at Chobani.


Colleen Campbell:

Sure, hi everyone! Ty says I was nice to do this, he earned the ability for me to have this conversation. We have high expectations here.

My role at Chobani is really our People Systems. So, we are an SAP shop. We have all modules of SuccessFactors.

We did not have the capabilities to text with our candidates, and really found that as a need. We talked with SAP in order to find a partner that was SAP SuccessFactors integration compatible, and we talked to three other organizations that didn’t even come close to meeting the requirements, including being able to have a conversation.

Then we were introduced to Grayscale. We’ve been on Grayscale for six weeks, and can’t say enough great things. So we’ll talk about why we think that, and we’ve got some numbers and some things like that.


Ty Abernethy:

I have to give a quick fun fact about Colleen. The first time I jumped on a call with Colleen, she casually mentioned her dairy farm that she was working from.

Colleen actually lives on a dairy farm and happens to work at Chobani. You can’t have a much of a better fit than that.


Colleen Campbell:

Third generation, we’re very lucky.


Ty Abernethy:

That’s awesome. With that in mind, we’ll dive in here and get started. Colleen, I know it’s early days for you implementing SMS, but I’d love to get your perspective here.

We see across our customer base, early on in adopting SMS, a huge uptick in open rate.

You see a huge lift in the number of messages that are being opened. Reply rates a nice jump as well, over 50% across our customer base. And then our average response time is about six minutes.

Colleen, I know you’re early on in the journey. What have you been feeling on your end, starting to adopt SMS in the process?


Colleen Campbell:

So ours are higher than this, we’re about 62% to the first reply, and they’re within 10 minutes. Our numbers, they’ve been completely consistent across the board.

And we’re a competitive group, so now they’re starting to compete to see whose numbers can be better than the next ones. So that’s been fun to watch too.


Ty Abernethy:

Colleen, I’d love to start getting in to the workflow there at Chobani, and some ways you’re leveraging SMS.

How are you starting to weave in SMS, what are you using SMS for, versus email, versus phone?


Colleen Campbell:

As an organization that’s focused on innovation, many of you are familiar with our food innovation, we were way behind on our talent acquisition innovation. We did a bunch of things internally to attract and retain, but we still weren’t seeing the metrics to support that application to hire timeline.

Had some conversations, realized that being able to text with candidates would be the next phase, started talking. Our implementation from start to finish technically was just three days.

We have a very robust Chobani quality IT compliance, so we had to go through a whole lot of testing, et cetera, which it sailed through of course.

We were really able to start texting candidates within four weeks, which compared to any other implementation seems way, way too easy, but we’ve had zero snags.

We were able to quickly upload our templates. When you apply, you get an automatic template of, ‘Thanks for applying, Therese is gonna be in touch soon.’

All of our recruiters can do this, so it doesn’t take an admin to do that work. Once they got those going, it was truly incredible how quickly people were responding, and we were able to get them in the door.

We went from hiring 4-5 people, to 30 in two weeks.

Now we’re thinking through next steps on increasing even more of the employee experience. What’s a better experience for us? We’re a very brand-driven company, and just to be able to send a video from your hiring manager that says, ‘Can’t wait to see you in person!’ Those kinds of things.

So the team is very energized, is probably the way I would put it. I don’t know what recruiters are like in your other companies, but man, they have pretty hard jobs right now. And for them to be smiling, and high fiving, and sending snippets of stories, and giving feedback is just incredible.

This new energy around what else can we do to represent the company, and keep the candidate engaged through the whole process is pretty incredible to watch.


Ty Abernethy:

Yeah it’s definitely worth calling out that anyone dealing with volume hiring or hourly hiring is definitely doing the hard work.

Colleen, if I recall correctly, you had told your IT contact that you were just waiting for something to go catastrophically wrong, which I thought was funny and very honest.


Colleen Campbell:

Our CIO had a very strong stance that this needed to be a standard SAP integration, because SuccessFactors can be a little finicky. He was pretty clear, and Grayscale knocked it outta the park, and it continues to work.


Ty Abernethy:

Thank goodness for both of us, it’d be an awkward call if that wasn’t the case.

I wanna get into what the day-to-day is looking like on the ground for your team right now.

Talk to me about how you’re thinking about SMS as a channel, and some examples of how it’s being used on the ground there.


Colleen Campbell:

It’s still early, a lot of it is still the one-on-one. There’s some templates going out as soon as you apply, then the recruiters are individually getting to the candidates, et cetera.

The nudge seems to be a bit of a magic sauce. If a candidate is coming in for an interview, you can set up a nudge to just send ’em a quick text to say ‘Looking forward to seeing you at the interview tomorrow!’

The other thing that was an unintended positive, we do a lot of internal movement, and I would say 80% of them, we had to torture to get them to sign their internal offer letter.

Now we can nudge them to say, ‘Please go to your Chobani email, cause that’s where your offer letter is at this time.’

It’s changed the game, that nudge internally was an unexpected big plus.

We’re actually just starting next week to have our onboarding team use the text capabilities for the onboarding piece.

So we’re really excited about the ability to work with people via text on the onboarding part of the process as well.


Ty Abernethy:

Awesome. You touched on a few different things what are the most common use cases for nudges you’re using today? And how are you thinking about using this moving forward?


Colleen Campbell:

Here in the us there’s some competition, and we knew we were losing people in between applying and us getting in contact.

So we have it set up that there’s an immediate first contact, and then there’s a personal piece in there. If they don’t hear from them within 24 hours, then you know, ‘Hey, did just making sure you got my text. I’m ready to chat whenever you are.’ So it’s a conversation, and feels very personal.


Ty Abernethy:

That makes total sense. Yeah, sounds like a good bit of one-to-one communication is happening.

You also have bulk messaging capabilities as well, which will allow you to come in and message groups of candidates at a time, either from pools or lists of candidates. I can come in and message everyone that’s assigned to my underwater basket weaver position here.

I want to better understand how you’re thinking about using campaign functionality, and your team’s day-to-day.


Colleen Campbell:

A certain population is going to react better to getting a text than seeing an email. We think this is gonna be a bit of a deal changer.

We have a couple strategic college intern roles that we are going to be targeting in particular areas. We’re actually working with the colleges to upload some phone numbers, with all the right associations of approvals, and be able to text out ‘Come see Danielle, she’s gonna be in the student union at one o’clock. We know you’re in engineering and we can’t wait to hear what your thoughts might be about coming to work for Chobani.’

So things of that nature. So again, nothing we could have ever done before and we’re happy to have the partnership with the colleges, but trying to really think innovative about getting to people we wouldn’t normally be able to get.


Ty Abernethy:

That makes total sense. I wanna spend a few moments on some automated touch points. I’m curious what you’ve implemented as it pertains to automated touch points.


Colleen Campbell:

Again, we’re early days. Your team’s been great about making sure we’re thinking about using all the functionality. One of the automations that we have in place is post-interview. At that point, we are able to send them a ‘Thanks for coming in!’

They’re working on a video, we like videos here of the leadership of our organization appreciating you coming in, whether you get the job or not.

Because we do not hire everyone, and so making sure that as they go out the door, they’re open to coming back in for something else.

So that’s one automation. Going back to contact our previous applicants. And encourage them via Grayscale to apply for newly open positions.


Ty Abernethy:

Interesting, do you have emails going out to candidates at any stage in the process?


Colleen Campbell:

Currently, through SAP, we still have to use email. Offer letters and drug screenings and things of that nature, background screenings. But we’re using the opportunity to nudge, to say, ‘Please look at your email.’


Ty Abernethy:

I get this feedback from certain individuals thinking about communication strategy, and what’s the right way to level-up as far as engaging with candidates.

Obviously SMS comes up in the discussion, but there’s oftentimes some challenges as far as reconciling ‘Well, we have an email that goes out for these things. We don’t wanna bug the candidate too much with sending a text as well.’

I think the best approach to recruiting is an omnichannel approach, and yeah, get those emails going out through SAP, but also get a text going out. Get a conversation going, because you wanna surface things like ‘Oh, I didn’t get the offer letter’, or questions that come up. Even just a reminder can work magic even if they did see the email.

It sounds like you’re of a similar persuasion that hitting them on multiple channels is a good thing. How do we reconcile these different channels? Any thoughts you’d add there?


Colleen Campbell:

We haven’t had any complaints. Hundreds and hundreds of messages have gone out. If we can move away from the bulk of email, especially for hourly, it does feel like we’re hitting people in a different manner than we were able to before.

And it’s giving us these positive results. So we’ll continue to monitor that. The world is moving, and so we’re gonna try to keep moving along with it.


Ty Abernethy:

You look at the world of marketing technology today, and it’s all about leveraging different channels to engage. That is the direction the world’s moving.

It’s taking an omni-channel approach, you’re not doing away with email, you’re not doing away with phone, you’re using them all appropriately.

In many cases, if you’re dealing with an hourly population, you’re using SMS to drive the process forward, and then supplementing with these other things. It’s interesting hearing how you’ve navigated that.

But what Colleen was referring to is just the ability to come in and and set up automated messages that go out based on certain events that happen inside of SuccessFactors.

Things like that also help build rapport. It turns out building a relationship with candidates actually pays off. It improves the candidate experience, and people wanna work for brands that they have a good experience with during the hiring process.

Colleen, what interesting insights have jumped out to you early on, and how have you been thinking about leveraging reporting?


Colleen Campbell:

If you use SuccessFactors, reporting is not easy in that system. So we’ve actually been able to use some of this in conjunction with the recruiting reporting to understand where the engagement of the particular user is not where it needs to be.

Then we can start asking questions, is there something different we need to do? Is it training? Is there actually not a use case for the particular group that they’re working with?

We’ve only been on it for a short time, but the people that are using it have hundreds of texts going out every day, and we can see the results.

We think that there’s also some interesting data in that we will be doing in two weeks. We’re actually gonna do a survey to our candidates.

We’re gonna ask their impression of getting a text, versus not, and did that influence them in any way to engage quicker, faster, or at all with Chobani, versus another organization?

I just appreciate simple data that’s important for decision making.


Ty Abernethy:

I imagine coming in and saying, all right, let’s look over the last month of data and drill down by team performance. Let’s look at response rates. Who’s having trouble from a response rate standpoint?

What are response times looking like? And filtering that to see who’s doing the best, and who’s trailing. Who’s been sending messages, who hasn’t?

What are the insights? What can we be gleaning from the best recruiters? We always see this, you’re gonna have some that just stand out.

What can we learn to apply to our broader team to start see these metrics, especially from the bottom, start to uptick over time?


Colleen Campbell:

I think it’s important, we have a best practice call every couple weeks. Compliments and concerns, things that are working great, things that aren’t working the way we hoped. And usually it’s just that we didn’t know how to use it. That’s what it’s turned out to be, I think, in all the cases.


Ty Abernethy:

That’s great. While we’re talking data, I’m curious, are you seeing early signs as far as how time to fill is being impacted by leveraging SMS as a channel?


Colleen Campbell:

It’s creating a problem because now we need to shorten up our first day orientation, timing, our training assignments. We have people ready, and so how do we do that every week?

So a great problem, we’ll take it all day long, but one that frankly hit us in the face.


Ty Abernethy:

You’ve gotta have those classes ready to go a week early, which creates a new problem. That two week cadence that we had is no longer tight enough to be able to accommodate.


Colleen Campbell:

It’s a little embarrassing, but we are lucky that we can really attribute them to Grayscale. We had an archaic 17 page application up until last week. So there’s five weeks where we were still using this long application that had a 40% dropout rate.

We changed it to 12 questions now. We’re already seeing a better pipeline, and a quicker timeline as people apply.

So it’s an interesting combination. It’s a multi-prong approach, as many companies are doing to get people in the door, and then to get them hired faster.


Ty Abernethy:

Alright, we’ve got a question from from Justin here. How have you tackled avoiding duplicate communication when using Grayscale?


Colleen Campbell:

Justin, I saw a really interesting car late at night and clicked ‘I’m interested’ The next day I had four emails from four different people from the dealership, and one text.

It was interesting cause it was similar to what you’re talking about here. Don’t ever do that is my advice. Knowing that the hourly population are not looking at their emails as often, we have turned off some of our regular interactions and are doing that via text.

There are certain things that are crucial, and we would do both. Your offer letter goes out via email. You’re gonna get a notification that you’ve got the email, and you’re gonna get a text that says your offer letter is waiting in your email.

Then there’ll be a nudge set up. If you haven’t signed your offer letter in 24 hours, you’re gonna get the nudge via text. So there’s a bit of a combination and that’s working for us, but we’ll have to continually keep looking at it.

There’s a lot of flexibility within Grayscale things that we struggle with from an email perspective. We wanna show videos, we wanna give an update on some of our community events.

There’s some really cool things that we can do very easily via Grayscale that is not quite as easy on the recruiting side in SuccessFactors.


Ty Abernethy:

We’ve got a couple of questions rolling in. One was from Julie, the question was about pros and cons of using Grayscale for texting inside of SuccessFactors, versus other platforms.


Colleen Campbell:

We wanted everything to be inside of SuccessFactors. Other pieces that we looked at, you would be coming back and forth. We were looking at that standard integration from employee and candidate data, which is critical in our IT architecture.

And then the everything being in one place. How simple can we make this? Cause we make everything else complicated, so let’s at least try to do this. And that’s where we landed.


Ty Abernethy:

Every solution you mentioned have their place. One of the problems of using a platform like Sinch was just around the one-way nature.

Versus Grayscale, everything we’re talking about is through the lens of a conversational approach to recruiting.

Yes, you can use grayscale for notifications, but it’s that conversation that you want to facilitate throughout the process, even when in some cases it’s automated.

You still wanna have that conversational approach. That’s just kinda how we see the world, it’s more about creating a human experience for your candidates.

Colleen, thank you so much for spending some time with us today. It’s been great learning from you.

If you have any more questions, please feel free to reach out to us either in the marketplace in SAP or via our website, grayscaleapp.com.