Spotify

Tuning out the noise and turning up the internal communications during IPO

Spotify is a global streaming media company that brings music to more than 180 million people throughout the world. Their mission is to enable more than a million artists on the platform to live off of their art, disrupting the record label industry at the same time.

95%

The average percentage of monthly active users on Workplace by Facebook since launching the platform in 2017

4x

More posts in the IPO-focused Workplace group, compared to any other default group — with 3x the number of comments

52

Employees we met with over 18 discovery sessions to identify and document business cases to help them optimize their use of Workplace

To take the company to the next level and work toward its goal of achieving a 30% gross margin, Spotify’s leadership took the company public on the New York Stock Exchange through a unique direct listing model in April of 2018. This exercise required significant coordination and communication with the company’s 3,000+ employees for whom the intense, confidential, and rules-laden IPO process was a new experience.

Already using Workplace by Facebook for global communication efforts, Spotify’s Leadership, Legal, Finance, and Internal Communications teams harnessed the platform to educate and communicate with employees during this time, while also providing a place to ask questions and learn new norms as members of a future public company.

Challenges

  • During the IPO process, leadership needed to educate the entire company on what to expect during the months-long IPO process, including what not to say or share publicly that could put the company at risk with the SEC.
  • As a high-profile global brand, Spotify needed a single source of truth to help employees navigate the barrage of external media speculation about the company, its people, and its future.
  • With extremely sophisticated employees, many with technical backgrounds, Spotify needed strategies to optimize the growing number of Workplace groups and segmented audiences who developed their own ways of working.

What We Did

Prior to the IPO, Talk Social to Me conducted more than 18 discovery interviews with 52 employees across various lines of business to understand the company’s communication tools ecosystem and the key use cases Spotifiers were experiencing. The result was a blueprint for how the organization was most actively and effectively using Workplace. We also built a collection of more than 30 self-help tutorials, as well as an active Help Center where asked and answered Workplace questions became a high-value and growing knowledge base for existing and new employees.

Spotify’s Internal Communications team and Talk Social to Me coached senior leaders to proactively communicate using Workplace during the IPO process and their regular all-hands meetings. This helped employees feel more unified from within, and they were also armed with immediately-referenceable behavioral guidelines during the company’s months-long ‘quiet period.’

With Talk Social to Me guidance, Spotify instituted architectural recommendations to help group leaders proactively implement the appropriate settings to support the goals of their Workplace groups.

Due to the limited bandwidth of the Internal Communications team, Talk Social to Me acted as their critical go-to partner to work directly with Facebook on support issues, new features, integrations, and future product requests. The team at Spotify had peace of mind knowing that their needs and concerns were being managed and addressed in a timely manner.

Results

Throughout the IPO process, Talk Social to Me took on a lion’s share of the day-to-day community management and user support work so the Spotify Internal Communications leaders could focus on the impending IPO. This freed up hours each week of important time for a small Communications team to make the biggest impact on crucial business needs at hand, from crafting employee communications to supporting senior leaders with their IPO-related communications.

During this period, monthly activity rates remained incredibly high, averaging 95% of all Spotify employees on Workplace.

Additionally, after a collaborative coaching session about working socially during an IPO, the company’s CFO began to use Workplace to share process updates and, most importantly, be proactive and transparent in advising employees how to stay focused at a time when rumors in the media were running rampant. For the majority of Spotifiers who had never experienced an IPO before, Workplace became an indispensable source of information through a major company change.