• HR & Talent Management


Summer 2019

Solve the right problems by asking the right questions

When we partner with company leaders, the first thing we do together is take a hard look at the problem we’re really trying to solve. As outsiders, we’re able to see the situation with fresh eyes and change perceptions about how our strategic partnership can deliver the most value. More often than not it’s never just a logo redesign or new website.

Our partnership with Zenefits started as an inquiry about a potential name and identity change, driven by an internal belief that negative perceptions from a rocky past were the cause of stagnant growth. Undergoing a complete name change felt drastic and risky, so we needed to validate the concerns before making a recommendation.

A rigorous discovery process allows you to move forward grounded in data rather than assumptions alone. We led a deep discovery phase to diagnose the health of the brand and inform the fate of the Zenefits brand, gathering perspectives from as many voices as possible. We conducted in-depth interviews with almost two dozen internal leaders and board members, and sent a company-wide survey to get a pulse check from all employees.

The real problem Zenefits was facing was that the brand was virtually unknown with only 1% unaided awareness.

It was also necessary to break out of the Silicon Valley bubble and understand how the wider audience of current and prospective customers felt about the brand. We attended customer roadshows in two cities to host roundtable discussion groups, moderated focus groups with HR professionals in three cities, surveyed over 600 HR tech decision makers, and analyzed themes and sentiments from over 5,000 customer service comments. Despite the intimidating amount of data and spreadsheets, our research showed that the brand health among current customers was still positive. The real problem Zenefits was facing was that the brand was virtually unknown with only 1% unaided awareness, and needed a strong POV to scale to their full potential.

Ultimately, we recognized the insight that HR professionals today have evolved from administrative paper pushers to cultivators of company culture, which formed the strategic foundation for the brand’s future.

By asking the right questions we helped prove to Zenefits that their baggage about the past should be left there, and saved invaluable time and money that could have been spent on a completely unnecessary name change.