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Woo Insights: Q&A with Educators 4 Excellence

We love to hear about the amazing things our customers are able to achieve with the help of WooBoard. This week, we sat down with Jim Larson, the National Director of Special Projects, and Liz Tripp, Program Coordinator to discuss their recognition program and organization culture at Educators 4 Excellence (E4E).

About Educators 4 Excellence

E4E is a teacher-led organization that works to ensure that the voices of classroom teachers are included in the creation of policies that shape classrooms and careers in the United States.

Why did you take the step of implementing a recognition program?

Liz: At E4E, we have offices that are spread out all across the country. We have offices in New York, Los Angeles, Minnesota and Connecticut. So when we were implementing our recognition program, we needed a tool that would make it possible to easily recognise each other both within our own teams, as well as cross-nationally.

Much of the work we do has a lot of urgency and speed behind it. This means that we often don’t have time to push the big red button and think about all the good work we’re doing. We’re always rushing from one project to the next. We realized that it was really important to make sure that we had a platform that would make all the great work we were doing apparent and visible – our people are doing amazing things every day.

WooBoard is that place where we can all go to celebrate these successes. It’s a positive feedback loop – you see all the wonderful things people are doing and it inspires more of the same. WooBoard was just a very natural solution for what we wanted to do with our recognition program.

What would you say are the key objectives of your recognition program?

Liz: We wanted to facilitate recognition between our staff on a daily basis, in an internally public way. We also wanted to ensure that our various chapters felt connected and part of a national organization in order to reinforce the national scope of our work. It’s inspiring to log on and see the work that’s being done on the other side of the country, and seeing that sparks us into thinking how we could work those ideas into our own projects. So it’s those dual objectives, of celebrating the good work within our teams as well as celebrating and learning from other teams across the country.

Jim: One more thing I might add is that because of WooBoard’s functionality, we’re also able to reinforce our organization’s core values when celebrating each other’s work by tagging our Woos with one or more of our custom values. I find that this plays a really significant role in ensuring that values are kept front-of-mind and encourages the internal culture that we aspire to achieve.

How do you implement WooBoard in your organization?

Liz: We have all-team calls once a month where every member of our chapters is online at the same time. That’s when we have a chance as an entire team to talk about WooBoard for a couple of minutes and which core value we want to focus on for the month. Jim also sends a personal email to users who are topping the Leaderboard – and that’s a great incentive because any direct email from Jim is a huge motivator for anyone in our organization.

Jim: My weekly goal is to email the Top Receiver, the Top Sender and also to identify a few people who have done a great job of embodying a chosen value which we call the “Woo Direction of the Month” (inspired by the boy band, One Direction). I just drop a quick note in to the best Wooers to reinforce the great work that’s happening.

WooBoard: That’s really great to hear – that a simple personal email can be such a huge motivator.

What’s your favourite thing about WooBoard?

Jim: The social capabilities – the like and comment features. They keep the content on WooBoard fresh and drive folks back to WooBoard on a daily basis. Often there’s 6 or 7 comments beneath a Woo. Sometimes it’s just in jest, but sometimes it’s a question – and that’s where we get to start opening new dialogues, sparking ideas, and sharing best practices through WooBoard.

What impact has WooBoard had on your organization and employees?

Liz: Instead of being caught in the tendency to be tunnel visioned in whatever projects we’re working on, we have a way (even if it’s just a couple of minutes a day) to stop and reflect on the excellent work our colleagues are doing and the things we’re achieving as an organization. The overall impact has been one of really increasing the positivity of our culture.

Jim: It’s a question I’ve been thinking about a lot. We’re all former teachers and we’re accustomed to feeling isolated in our classrooms. Much of the work we do is to make sure that teachers have a community of forward-thinking, solutions oriented colleagues to work with. Perhaps it’s a bit grandiose but I think that WooBoard, in some ways, helps us to build a similar or analogous culture within our organization.

If you had to boil it down, what do you think it is that really defines your culture?

Liz: There are two core values that I think really define our culture: Respect & Community, and Solutions-Oriented Collective Action. We’re all teachers, we come from diverse backgrounds and experiences, and we can be in positions where we’re having difficult conversations with educators. Education can often be a pretty controversial subject. I think as a whole, our team do an excellent job of respecting where we all came from, differences in perspectives and what each of us add to the team. And through it all, staying solutions focussed and united. It’s a great place to work because of those two things.

Finally – would you recommend WooBoard to other companies?

Liz: Yes, 100%

Jim: Absolutely!


Align values, engage and motivate with WooBoard; an employee recognition platform that encourages happier, more productive workplaces.
Go to WooBoard.com

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