AUSTIN, Texas — October 11, 2019 Emmaus Homes, a Missouri-based nonprofit providing around-the-clock services to adults with developmental disabilities, today announced the organization has increased employee engagement through its partnership with Kazoo, the all-in-one Employee Experience Platform that enables companies to build purpose-driven cultures of high engagement and high performance. 

In 2016, Emmaus came to Kazoo looking for help with their employee engagement strategy. At the time, the nonprofit had more than 700 geographically dispersed employees and was struggling with high turnover, a cumbersome manual employee recognition program, being able to connect with remote employees, and their overall recruitment efforts. In an industry with a turnover rate of more than 35%, Emmaus leadership wanted a better way to show their commitment to their culture and how the work employees do each day is both meaningful and important.

In the three years since implementing Kazoo, 88% of Emmaus employees, including the organization’s CEO, have actively engaged with the platform, sending more than 40,000 pieces of employee recognition. The organization was also able to streamline their manual employee rewards program by using the Kazoo platform, which saved its rewards budget more than $25,000 in year one alone. Emmaus has used the savings to be put back into increasing the wages for Direct Support Professionals.

“Most of our staff is geographically dispersed between our 80 community homes, which can make it challenging to ensure we’re providing the highest quality supportive care for our clients,” said Cindy Clark, President & CEO at Emmaus. “By partnering with Kazoo, we can now see in real-time the great work our team is doing on a day-to-day basis and the positive impact their work is having on our clients to help them live as independently as possible.”

Today at Emmaus, employee recognition and rewards are no longer an afterthought. To ensure employees know that they are joining a culture of appreciation, new hires are introduced to Kazoo from day one as part of the onboarding process. In addition, the organization restructured its talent management strategy to provide a formal career path program. As part of applying for this process, employees are encouraged to download their recognition reports and bring those to the internal interview process.

The nonprofit also uses Kazoo to focus on their communication efforts by reminding and incentivizing employees to check weekly communications from the CEO. The subtle nudge to reinforce their communication efforts have kept the CEO’s approval rating above 90% on Glassdoor. In addition, Emmaus is very focused on employee safety, compliance, and communication and used Kazoo’s Behavior Bonus feature to give more than 1,800 bonuses to employees as incentives for living out organizational values.

“Kazoo has helped us streamline our engagement programs by putting all our efforts on one platform,” said Steven Amrhein, Brand Manager at Emmaus.“Instead of a ton of emails related to every need from employees, we set up alerts and reminders in Kazoo. At the end of the day, these changes don’t just make my job easier — they make us look like a cutting-edge organization in the nonprofit sector. It’s something fun that sets us apart.”

Kazoo’s integrated employee experience platform increases productivity, retention, and revenue while enabling companies to build purpose-driven cultures of high engagement and high performance. To learn more about Kazoo, visit

About Emmaus: At Emmaus Homes, we know that people with developmental disabilities want to be independent. In order to do that, they need a home and a community that embraces their unique abilities. The problem is: it’s hard to live without support, which makes them feel frustrated, excluded, and powerless. We believe our clients deserve the resources they need to live independently. We understand it’s tough to manage life alone, which is why for 125 years, as a faith-based organization, we have provided high-quality services, caring for the whole person for their whole life. With Emmaus standing behind them, and the support of the community, the people we support can stop worrying about losing control of their life and instead create their own story.

Another HR Tech conference has come and gone  — and like previous years, the week-long event had an abundance of insight to offer about the HR universe.

Didn’t get a chance to attend this year’s conference? We’ve got you covered!

Our Kazoo team attended various sessions covering a range of HR topics — from culture trends to talent acquisition — and we’re here to share our learnings with you. Here are the trends we saw at HR Tech this year:

1.  Employees want to be a part of the HR process

Over the past decade, HR has completely transformed from a department that manages paperwork and work disputes to one that puts its people front and center. The shift in dynamics from prioritizing the business to putting employees first has made company culture a must-have, not a nice-to-have anymore.

But the most significant change in the HR game is now employees want to be a part of the company culture they so strongly desire. That poses the question, how do you involve employees in the process without hiring them under a formal HR title?

The solution is simpler than you’d think! To build a truly great people-first culture, you have to give your employees a safe space to provide feedback, recognize and reward their efforts, and pass out the occasional survey to document how things are going. By putting the company culture in the hands of your employees, you are empowering them to make the changes they deem necessary for a healthy and productive workspace.

2. The war for talent starts with experience

Like HR departments, the talent acquisition game has also changed dramatically over the years. To win the war on talent, you have to focus on the employee experience in every stage of the employee lifecycle, specifically the hiring and onboarding process. Why’s that?

At HR Tech, we learned that 30 percent of employees said their job was way different than what was told to them during the interview process. That disparity in expectations can negatively impact an employee’s experience, which means they might have one foot out the door as soon as they arrive.

The best way to avoid miscommunication of this nature is to streamline your hiring and onboarding process with technology. The Kazoo platform, for example, offers Performance Management and Recognition & Rewards software to help onboard new employees and get them engaged at the beginning of the employee lifecycle. Our performance management software keeps new hires on track with our 30-,60-, and 90-day check-ins. Kazoo also documents the new hire experience to help you measure the success of your onboarding programs. 

Leveraging a Recognition & Rewards software, like Kazoo, can help new hires feel welcomed immediately in a fun and engaging way. For instance, our Behavior Bonus feature allows companies to incentivize actions, such as taking a new hire to lunch or mentoring them, which encourages coworkers to help their new teammates learn the ropes.

(Interested in learning more? Sign up for a demo today!)

3. Generalists are on the rise

Josh Bersin, everyone’s favorite HR technology analyst and president of Bersin & Associates, stated that “the old career model is over. Generalists are going to rule the world — not specialists.” 

Our take on this topic is that more and more employees are focused on learning the skills at work that will both develop their careers and keep them interested and motivated in their work. Which means more people will gain skills in more areas, rather than specializing in narrow topics. 

What’s the pro in being a jack-of-all-trades, but a master of none? Generalists are able to find and add value to more projects than specialists — just think about it. Companies are growing and hiring at a rapid pace, but it’s hard to hire a specialist for every need. A generalist can do the job of more than one person, and that can be a game-changer for start-ups or smaller companies who have large challenges to tackle but only a few head counts.

This idea also creates an interesting challenge for businesses. Traditional career growth and promotion models may need to be adjusted. In his session, Josh suggested that as employees become more focused on getting more out of their career, employee growth plans become less linear and more of a Z shape.

Take a look at this slide, snapped by one of our teammates during the live session. The orange triangle in the background is what you could consider more of a traditional growth plan. The gray boxes that overlay the orange are Josh’s example of what we’re seeing in today’s workforce — it’s not a clear upward progression. Employees’ desire to tackle stretch goals and focus on what motivates them creates an experience that sometimes includes lateral moves. Employees are gaining more skills in areas that are not directly related to their primary role and becoming more generalized as they progress in their careers. 

4. Companies need to foster growth from within

Another eye-opening remark from Josh Bersin was that in a recent survey “employees said it was easier finding a job outside of the company than it was inside.”

Let’s face it. Today’s job market is hot. It seems that everyone is hiring (and everyone is looking). How can companies strike a balance between finding external candidates and fostering growth opportunities for the workforce they already have?

At Kazoo, we believe that a lot of this can be solved by focusing on the employee experience throughout the employee lifecycle. Create a culture and environment where employees are engaged and bought into the company itself. Promote growth opportunities within the business by leveraging managers as coaches, learning and development programs, and communicating hiring opportunities to expose the talent that could be hiding in plain sight.

Want to learn more about HR Tech 2019, or stay up-to-date on the latest HR trends? Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to receive extra coverage of the event and more!

Company updates analytics capabilities and adds Sync-Up and Calendar Invitations to align organizations and streamline performance 

AUSTIN, TX October 1, 2019 — Kazoo, the all-in-one Employee Experience Platform, today announced the expansion of its Continuous Performance Management Insights & Reporting capabilities, allowing businesses to increase engagement and alignment to goals through actionable data.

The company also added two new features — Sync-Up and Calendar Invitations — to connect people and strengthen collaboration in companies of all sizes. Kazoo will debut these new features this week at the 2019 HR Technology Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas, NV to more than 10,000 senior HR and IT decision makers. 

Kazoo rebuilt Insights & Reporting from the ground as part of the company’s commitment to empower HR leaders with what they need to be strategic business partners. The overhauled Insights & Reporting feature gives businesses better visibility into their Continuous Performance Management process, enabling them to manage review cycles, identify areas for improvement, and drive greater efficiencies throughout their organization.

In addition to actionable data, the updated feature includes interactive dashboards, presentation-ready reports, alerts, and report scheduling to enable smart decision-making while giving administrators the ability to show the impact of their performance management program.  

“For businesses to succeed in their employee experience strategy, they need a Continuous Performance Management platform that provides them with actionable data ,” said Sapna Gulati, EVP of Product at Kazoo.

“By adding features like Sync-Up and Calendar Invitations, we’re helping increase collaboration and better track off-cycle coaching and performance conversations. Our aim with these updates is to equip HR leaders with the data needed to drive alignment throughout their company while engaging employees in the tools and technologies they’re using everyday.”

As organizations continue to evolve, the need to improve alignment between employees, managers, and cross-functional teams is more important than ever. Kazoo developed Sync-Up — an ad-hoc conversation tool — to enable off-cycle discussions between two or more people, including employees and managers, employees and dotted line managers, peers, cross-functional teams, and project groups.

With more companies moving to continuous performance management, the need to streamline the Check-In and Sync-Up process is vital for organizations as they grow. To manage this need, Kazoo’s Calendar Invitation feature makes development-focused conversations more accessible by letting users create a calendar invite for popular calendar platforms like Outlook, Google Calendar, or iCal directly from the Kazoo platform.

Kazoo’s integrated Employee Experience Platform increases productivity, retention, and revenue while enabling companies to build purpose-driven cultures of high engagement and high performance. To learn more about Kazoo, visit